Saturday, September 17, 2016

Will this become year “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” loses relevance

I’m not a Chicago Cubs fan. In fact, I have to admit the only thing about the city’s National League franchise I find appealing is that Steve Goodman song.

And no, I don’t mean “Go Cubs, Go.” Which is about as insipid a lyric as ever crafted.

I’M ACTUALLY REFERRING to the early 1980s tune “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request,” which purports to tell the tale of the final moments of life of an aging man who spent his life in fruitless rooting for a Cubs team that didn’t embarrass itself, and actually brought a championship to Chicago.

Of course, it didn’t happen. The fan in the song wound up being cremated with his ashes spread at Wrigley Field – with the “prevailing 30 mile an hour southwest wind” blowing them over the left field wall and bleachers so he can, “come to my final resting place, out on Waveland Avenue.”

Which is kind of a touchingly truthful sentiment, if you think about it. But would that be a loss if this truly is the year that the Chicago Cubs wind up doing anything of significance – rather than finding yet another way to blow it come playoff time.

Because that’s the mode we’re in now, what with the Cubs managing to win a division title with Thursday night’s St. Louis Cardinals loss. Although the Cubs tried rewriting history Friday by doing the cliche'd champagne splash following a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers that came a day after the clinching actually occurred.
Cubs fans consider fantasy pennants ...

IT ACTUALLY REMINDS me of the 2000 season when the New York Yankees actually lost 15 of their 18 final ballgames. Yet because the Boston Red Sox managed to pick the identical time of the season to stink, the Yankees clinched a division title with a loss.

I suspect many Cubs fans are now fantasizing about a Yankees-like scenario – the Yankees went on to win in the playoffs and wound up winning the World Series that year. Which was an even bigger deal than usual because they got to whomp the New York Mets for the World Series championship title.
... of 1969, 1984 and 2003 ...

But then again, the Cubs don’t have Yankee aura or winning ways. Every time the Cubs try to feed off Yankee aura (Bobby Murcer as a ballplayer, Gene Michael and Lou Piniella as managers), Chicago Cubbie-ness manages to overcome success!
... to be more real than the one ...

Which makes me wonder if the smart-aleck I read on the Internet on Friday has it more correct. That person pointed out that the St. Louis Cardinals managed to win World Series titles in 2006 and 2011, even though in both years they failed to win a division title.

COULD IT HAPPEN again come 2016? Could this be the year the Cubs manage to blow it when it matters the most and the Cardinals manage to prevail yet again?

Because that would truly be in Cubbie-character. This is the team that, as Goodman put it, hasn’t won since, “the year we dropped the bomb on Japan.”

It is why I just can’t get all excited the way I’m seeing some Cubs fans already wetting their pants with glee, as though they think this year will go into the record books as some sort of championship season.
... that has flown over 35th/Shields for 11 years now

This may well be the big difference between the perception of baseball fans who root for Chicago’s two ball clubs. Cubs fans in their minds see those league pennants for 1969, 1984 and 2003 flying above the center field scoreboard.

WHITE SOX FANS still have the nightmare that they’re going to wake up someday and find that the 2005 World Series championship was somehow just a dream.

There are still several rounds of playoffs that need to be completed before we have a National League champion, which then will face off against the (likely superior) American League champs!

In fact, the way baseball is now set up with all these extra teams thrown into the playoff mix, it seems that the powers-that-be would just as soon see a lesser team actually win the whole thing.
71 years, and counting, since "the year we dropped the bomb on Japan."
Will the Chicago Cubs manage to use the remainder of the month to relax, try to prepare themselves for the pressure of post-season play? Or will they be one of these ball clubs who somehow let the lack of serious game activity throw them off-track, resulting in a first-round departure from the playoffs and continued choruses of the Goodman song?


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