Posted by: Mark Nielsen | October 5, 2007

Cubs Wander in the Desert, No Moses in Sight

11:30 Thursday night. Cubs just got slapped yet again by Arizona’s Augie Ojeda, a former Cub utility infielder and general four-foot-nine nuisance. See… I told you this postseason was all about who has the best midgets.

It’s only the 5th inning, but the Cubs are done. I’m packing it in. They’ll probably win one in Chicago, but then they’ll be done for good.

I feel like an honorary Jew. Forty years in the desert is nothing compared to 100+ years without winning a championship.

I have no idea how the Diamondbacks are winning with such a mediocre team. But it may have something to do with the Cubs playing bad defense, not hitting, and turning into the tightest bunch of stiffs I’ve seen in years. The announcer (Ron Darling) said starting pitcher Ted Lilly looked nervous earlier in the game, and I think he got it right. These Cubs are not looking like, nor are they playing like, they believe they’re the better team.

The big hitters –Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano– have barely shown up. Lilly, Marmol, Jones, DeRosa — all pleasant surprises (based on low to moderate expectations at the start of the year) — have now dropped back to being footnotes in the long, boring story of this team. Add to that the fact that the “breaks” are mostly not going their way either, and the momentum of a good September is going, going, gone.

No wonder I “converted” some time in my twenties (by attending to the Red Sox, White Sox, Dodgers and a few other interesting franchises). It was simply necessary — self-preservation if you will, so I wouldn’t have to live and die by the ups and downs of this puzzling, aggravating team. Not a cursed team. Not lovable losers. Not “destined” for anything, good or bad. Just bad baseball, especially when the pressure is on. Nothing but decade after decade of halfhearted business decisions and dashed hopes.

There is no honor in staying faithful to someone who just continues to abuse you and take you for granted.  That’s what this team has done to me. Unintentionally perhaps, but abuse is abuse.

Yes, I know they’ll win someday (unless the Apocalypse happens first). And yes, I’ll probably get suckered, sucked in again a few times before they finally do win it all. It’s like that great line from Pacino in Godfather III: “I thought I was out… but they pulled me back IN!” So yes, I’ll jump on the bandwagon when it comes by, because it’s better than standing still, than not caring at all.

But now more than ever, I’m forced to become just a casual Cub fan. (Yes, we exist, contrary to what the sappy, desperate “die-hards” would have you believe.) It’s a simple mental health decision. I’m a grownup now. I can’t keep chasing unicorns like this.

I’ll save my true love, and most of my money, for situations where I know my investment will pay off.

I don’t have to “wait till next year”, as Cub fans here in Second City are fond of saying. I can root for a winner this year. Life’s too short to accept punishment without protest.

So long, my beloved Cubbies.

Oh… and GO RED SOX!


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