Oh those lovable Cubbies ...
Let’s fly the “W” one more time.
Truly, that’s all I need.
I want more, surely. But all I need is to see that white flag with the blue “W” emblazoned across it flying above Wrigley Field.
It was about 1980 when I fell in love with the Chicago Cubs.
WGN became a regular on cable TV lineups everywhere and the Cubs were fighting to become a real contender.
I died my first death in 1994. At the age of 37, I truly did not understand the Cubs crumbling — they led the stinkin’ San Diego Padres two games to none in the best-of-five National League Championship Series — was the way the world worked.
I did not understand much better in 1989, when the Cubs, in a series tied 1-1, lost three games in which they had leads while in San Francisco.
By 2003, at 46, I handled Steve Bartman better. I even sympathize for the lovable loser.
And I understood he did not, despite what many insist, cost the Cubs the NLCS, even though they were FIVE OUTS AWAY FROM WINNING IT!!
Last year was painful because a loss in the NLCS came at the hands of the hated New York Metropolitans and brought back memories of 1969.
You remember 1969, don’t you? Up 7.5 on the Cardinals and 8.5 on the Mets as late as Aug. 19?
Lost 17.5 games in the standings in last quarter of the season to the Amazin’ Mets, who went on to win the World Series.
The Cubs in my lifetime have never won a World Series. In fact, they’ve never played in one.
They’ve lost 100 games as I’ve sat and cheered them on.
They have bumbled and stumbled their way to defeat.
Heck, even the 1986 Boston Red Sox, my second-favorite team, lost because of a bonehead defensive lapse by a former Cub, Bill Buckner.
Such are the reasons I celebrate each and every time they fly the “W.”
All I ask now is a WS.
They team formerly know as the White Stockings once pretty much dominated the National League. They won back to back world titles in 1907 and 1908.
Since then? Yep.
The Cubs lost the series in 1932 when Babe Ruth may or may not have “called” his home run shot.
I ain’t afraid of no goats.
A bit of history helps.
In 1945, the last time the Cubs were in the World Series, they won two of the first three games in Detroit and went home for a possible four more.
In Game 4, the “Curse of the Billy Goat” came to pass when the Chicago owner ejected Billy Sianis, who had entered the gates with two box seats, one for himself, one for a goat.
Upon his ejection, Sianis uttered, “The Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”
The Cubs lost Game 4, lost the series, and have not been back since.
So now we are here again. On the threshold. Needing only one more victory to get to the World Series.
I’ve been here before. I know the feelings that often take control of my body.
I know we are not there yet. I know the Los Angeles Dodgers have that freaky good Kershaw guy and former Cub Hill on the bump.
I remember they threw back-to-back shutouts in Games 2 and 3.
I am not ready to celebrate yet.
All I need is one more “W.”
And an “S” to go right beside it.