I was very happy to watch yesterday's Cubs-Reds opener, and not just because the Cubs won 7-4. Obviously I am going to be happier when the Cubs win (and let me just interject here that no serious, true Cubs fan ever, EVER, refers to them as the "Cubbies"-when I am Leader of the Free World I shall levy fines for people that do) but the mere fact that baseball is back reminds me that the weather will indeed be warm soon and that summer is coming.
There's been hype about the Cubs at some time in my life, but nothing quite like what is going on this year. This is the first time I can recall that everyone expects them to win. I am optimistic every year to a fault, but I also can recognize when a team has no chance in hell of contending. I expect them to win this year as well, but it's silly to predict a World Series title. Far too many things can go wrong in a short time to guarantee that, and I would have said that long before last year's playoffs anyway.
So the game ends yesterday in the middle of the afternoon, and I decide to go out and run some errands. There's a big mulberry tree that hangs over the driveway at the house and when it bears fruit in the middle of summer it's a real mess. Birds sit in the tree all day, eat the berries, and leave reminders of it all over the cars.
As I am walking to the car yesterday I hear the unmistakable song of a cardinal, and I can see him sitting in the mulberry tree, chirping away. Whenever I see a cardinal I think of St. Louis, the Cubs most heated rival. I can't help it. I like St. Louis, it's one of my favorite cities in America, and I can't say that I hate the Cardinals, but I want the Cubs to beat them every game, and beat them badly. The sight of this bird coupled with an opening day victory gets my adrenaline going, and I am stoked. Baseball is here, and it's going to be a great summer in Chicago.
Then the bird starts dropping bombs on my car, right in front of me, three large thuds of junk hitting metal, followed by what only can be described as echoing splats. There's no fruit in the tree yet, so this bird, this cardinal, saved his business for when he was perched above my car. And judging from his volume, he must have felt quite relieved.
A shot across my proverbial baseball bow, I dare say. To which I reply, bring it on. I picture a cub wandering into someone's backyard in suburban St. Louie as Joe Cardinal Fan goes out to his car yesterday, and I like my chances in which one of us walks away from these encounters with his skivvies still clean. And a messier car.