Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cubbie power elicits little more than a yawn from some of us these days

I might be a Chicago partisan, but I have to confess to caring less as to whether the Chicago Cubs are able to achieve anything in the National League baseball playoffs beginning Wednesday.

A hero, or a goat, by day's end!
It’s possible that by day’s end, they could be defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates and the whole thing will be over and done with. Or maybe they’ll last to some point later in October. Who knows?

AND AS FAR as I’m concerned, who cares?

Now I must confess to being an American League partisan when it comes to professional baseball. What attention I do pay to professional baseball this October is going to be to that segment of the playoffs. I found last night's New York Yankees 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros much more intriguing.

It’s conceivable that the World Series could come with the Cubs in it, and I’d be rooting against the ball club that represents the North Side of the city.

I’m sure some people are going to try to argue the city ought to unite. I’m also intelligent enough to know that’s not going to happen!

NO MORE SO than back in 2005 when parts of Chicago were all caught up in White Sox fandom as they won two rounds of playoffs, then took four straight games in the World Series.

While other parts could have cared less. I don’t hold it against those people. I would have considered it phony if they had suddenly “converted” to Soxdom and the city’s American League team.

It reminds me of the television crews a decade ago that made the mistake of heading for the bar scene near Wrigley Field to find baseball fans going berserk – only to find a whole lot of apathy.
Some will be focused on United Center
They should have headed south to about 103rd and Western or maybe around 63rd and Kedzie – if not Halsted Street just west of U.S. Cellular Field.

I EXPECT TO find a whole lot of apathy in those places this week, and in coming weeks. Halsted, up around Addison Street, will be the place to hang out for scenes of baby blue-clad people who feel the need to engage in drunken stupidity to support the ball club.

The fact is that this two-team town IS the character of the Chicago baseball scene, and in fact the character of Chicago as the whole South Side/North Side dichotomy does dictate a lot of the way things are done in the Second City.

It may well be that the crowd of fanatics who decide to spend their Wednesday night following the Chicago Blackhawks’ home opener (it’s being played simultaneous to the Cubs’ playoff game against Pittsburgh) will be the hard-core of Soxdom who can’t bear to pay attention to the Cubs.
It's legitimate, even if you don't remember
Personally, I find it amusing in that it’s not the first time that Cubs playoff baseball upstaged another sports team. Remember 1984 when the Cubs’ final playoff game came the same time that the Chicago Sting won an actual championship for the city? Of course you don’t!

NO ONE DOES. Any ceremonies the Blackhawks had planned to celebrate their three-times-in-six-seasons Stanley Cup championship team will go by the wayside just like the Sting’s North American Soccer League title.

There will be those of us who will see the situation logically enough and will go about our lives Wednesday night – seeing the Cubs as something just a little too pointless to pay attention to on a regular basis. Perhaps it ought to be thought of as a virus that we somehow got inoculated against by our Sout’ Side existence.

Now none of this ought to be interpreted as making excuses for the level of mediocrity that came from the White Sox in 2015. It was a disappointing season, perhaps balanced out by the fact that the Cubs performed far better than anyone had a right to expect.

Besides, regardless of what happens Wednesday, we all know that the hard-core of Cubdom are going to forevermore talk of this year as a success – no matter what happens. How many people think of 1969 as some major moment; instead of just being the year they lost a division title to a team that had never finished higher than next-to-last place.
Will he garner a companion on goat list?
OR ANY OF those Cubs division title years of the past when the Cubs managed to fall short – just as in 1984 when Leon Durham put his name in the baseball history books and reinforced the idea that Bill Buckner’s ball-between-the-legs gaffe of two seasons later for the Boston Red Sox had little to do with the “Curse of the Bambino.”

It was about the fact that Buckner was an “ex-Cub” and Wednesday could wind up being yet another example of how Cubbiness overcomes common sense in determining who wins and who loses on the playing field.


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