Wow. It’s Christmas Eve. Jeez, next weeks column falls on New Year’s Eve. How lucky am I? It seems like months ago we were all commenting back and forth about the Cub’s run to the playoffs. Perhaps the sight of the ivy turning red. Now I’m looking out my back window at twelve inches of snow. Again, the Cubs fell short in their annual quest to reach the World Series. 32 years for me, and 99 for them. Good grief.
About this time last year, I was a relative lurker here at View From The Bleachers. I posted a comment here and there, and typically only when something really got me fired up. It wasn’t long before the mention of an essay contest for a writing position at this establishment popped up, that I decided that more people needed to hear my voice on all things, but mostly the Cubs. I know of you might actually enjoy this column, and some of you are positive it’s a waste of cyberspace. I thank the first half of you, the second half of you just have to learn to love me, and my round about way of expressing my heartbreak of being a Cubs fan all these many years.
Oddly, the essay that scored me this lucrative position (we’re paid in Disney Dollars, and sometimes love), was about our favorite whipping boy, Carlos Zambrano. Carlos pretty much epitomized the Cubs season into one large ball of energy, or some of you might call fat. He started slow, got aggravated, popped a dude in the mouth, declared his season was “restarting,” got on a roll, almost faltered in the stretch run, and fizzled when he was needed most (Joe doesn’t agree with the fizzle part). We had great expectations that were met with mediocrity, saw the fire we were waiting for, the team that on paper finally showed up in June, almost ran out of gas during the stretch run, and with high hopes, disappeared faster than a storm in the Arizona desert.
Throughout the year, I kept thinking back to the pre-season picks Joe had the writers of VFTB do (Joe apologizes for misplacing them). Would they make me look like a baseball genius, or a laughing stock? I think I had the Cards winning the NL Central, and the Cubs winning the Wildcard, with the Phillies and Padres filling out the bracket. Not too shabby. For awhile, I thought the Cards were going to catch the Brewers and the Cubs. Oh to be a genius just once. I didn’t have the highest hopes for the Cubs, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the last time a new manager came to town, they exceeded my expectations. I never quite got too excited, and always had the sinking feeling that this was not the year, no matter how things were going. There just wasn’t the magic….something just didn’t fit.
As I look at this year’s team, I’m not sure I feel that much different. Granted the addition of Fukudome is probably better than anything we had in Rightfield last year, and yes, I know Mr. Hendry probably has one more move up his sleeve, I’m fully seeing a team that wins the Central, and probably gets left off the dance floor one more time. It’s too fitting for them to win it on the 100th anniversary. I for one would find it a bit too convenient. I know, it’s my cynical mind at work again, but mass marketing would benefit so hugely from such a amazing set of circumstances, the conspiracy theories would be flying for years to come.
So, then again, maybe this is the year. It’s all falling into place, and I for one, would love to be proven wrong. Not like that’s a marginally tough thing to do. Hopefully, I’ll be sitting here the same time next year, wearing a nice Chicago Cubs “2008 World Champions” sweatshirt.
Happy Holidays, everyone.