The hopes of ending the 100-year drought

Contrary to what it may seem at this point, I’m not talking about my lack of reviewing or blogging when I refer to a drought of 100 years. To those who know what I’m talking about when I say “100-year drought” … well, you already know what I’m talking about. I don’t have to say anything more. “100-year drought” says it all, and you already know what the conversation is going to be.

To the rest of you not in the know — who do not follow such things even casually — I am referring of course to the Chicago Cubs, who last won a World Series in 1908. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of that unthinkably-long-ago milestone. It was so long ago that, as far as I’m concerned (and probably most currently alive), it might as well have been never. (Did they actually play baseball in 1908? Certainly it was such a different sport then that the connection to baseball as it is today seems tenuous at best.) The people in Chicago, the media, everyone who cares at all about baseball — all have been mentioning it for months, even before the season began. Could this be the year? Does a 100-year anniversary spell fate?

Now the season is in the home stretch, and as I write this, the Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball, with a team that is more promising than any team in recent memory. There’s a vibe in the air for Cub fans. There’s so much of a vibe that even I haven’t been able to deny it. Unlike last year, where the Cubs did in fact go to the playoffs (only to get swept out in the first series), this year feels like the real thing. This year I have intently watched a lot of regular-season baseball for the first time in years — probably since I was a kid.

Make no mistake. I am a Cub fan. Always have been. Always will be. I’ve discussed this before. I used to watch the Cubs when I was a kid on summer vacation and had no school and no work. I remember the 1984 season. But my dedication to watching the Cubs, and baseball in general, has always been greatly affected by one truth about baseball: The season is a marathon that goes on for far too long. You can’t watch most games. In many years, I wouldn’t watch any games unless it was late in the season or the Cubs were in the playoffs. Does that make me a fair-weather fan? I suppose. My time spent paying attention is directly proportional to the promise the team has of making the playoffs.

But come playoff time, I’m there. I watched every inning of the Cubs’ 2003 postseason. And the spectacular collapse of that postseason is still a sore spot for any Cub fan. It’s enough to make one go in with a jaundiced eye when the team shows its promise yet again. Will 2008 be another year of disappointment?

I’m hoping not. I’m fully invested this year. I’ve watched more Cubs baseball this year than in any year I can remember, and certainly any year as an adult. Which I’m sure is one reason you can blame me for being so behind on my always-promised always-tardily-delivered reviews.

The Cubs are hot. They have the stuff. They have the pitching. They have the hitting. They have the defense. They show the promise. This looks like THE year. There’s a vibe in the air. Enough of a vibe that I picked up on it way early for me — which (as a fan who simply cannot do the full-season marathon) is to say June.

If I’m watching baseball in June, that can only mean one thing for the Cubs: It’s the World Series or bust.

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11 comments on this post

Sean
Thursday, August 28, 2008, 12:58 pm (UTC -6)

Not much a baseball fan; we Canadians care about hockey.

The most prominent losing streak here is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years (they still have the second-highest number, but only because of the period when there were only six teams); no end in sight.

Actually, a Canadian team hasn’t won the Cup in over a decade at this point; the last time was Montreal (my team) in the early 90s.

Joe
Thursday, August 28, 2008, 3:19 pm (UTC -6)

I don’t usually root for the Cubs, but I would be really happy for the fans if they finally get to celebrate a championship. I’ve always seen Cubs fans as lovable losers, as oppossed to Red Sox fans who were insufferably bitter.

I just really hope that the postseason broadcasts don’t mention the billy goat curse every inning of every game (like Fox did with the Babe Ruth curse in 2004).

Chris Swanson
Friday, August 29, 2008, 1:28 pm (UTC -6)

Must be nice to have a team doing things right. I’m a Mariners fan. For a few years we had it good. But now? They’re playing as bad as they did in the 1970’s, and that’s saying something. 🙁

widgie
Saturday, August 30, 2008, 2:38 am (UTC -6)

I’ve bought a third-order curse from my local shaman ensuring that the cubs will not advance past the NLCS until you finish TNG reviews 😛

Brendan
Monday, September 1, 2008, 3:40 pm (UTC -6)

Yeah Sean but the longest drought in the NHL is actually another Chicago team, the Blackhawks who havn’t won in 48 years

Jammer
Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 9:43 pm (UTC -6)

I write this blog entry, and then the Cubs lose five straight at home. I should’ve kept my mouth shut.

Leon
Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 11:37 pm (UTC -6)

I have always enjoyed your reviews, and now I see you’re a Cubs fan, too! I didn’t think I’d see a better team than ’84, but this could be it. This losing streak and its timing is insufferable, but they will almost certainly make the playoffs and then the slate is wiped clean. I’m just hoping for an NL pennant. Btw, my solution to the 162-game marathon? I dvr the games and watch them on a faster speed – I can view a game in 40 minutes this way!

Jereny Short
Monday, September 8, 2008, 6:40 pm (UTC -6)

Well I’m a fan of the ever sorry Texas Rangers, who have the drought for the longest time without a World Series appearance, formed as the Washington Senators in 1961, moving to Texas in 1972 and have never made it past the ALDS.

IRH
Friday, October 3, 2008, 6:05 pm (UTC -6)

Not looking good…

Greg M
Sunday, October 5, 2008, 1:35 am (UTC -6)

Well, I think now this thread is officially out of date. I really do feel for you Jammer and all those cub fans, but this team forgot there were more games to be played or something. That was an awful showing.

Baseball Boy
Wednesday, December 31, 2008, 7:00 am (UTC -6)

I’m a big fan of the red socks 🙂

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