17 June 2004

Joan of Cub

It's been a while since I mentioned baseball.  Things are looking up.  Cubs won their fifth in a row tonight, all on the road, the last three in Houston, which has not been a kind city to them in the past.  As of tonight they are 36-29, 2 games behind St. Louis.  The upcoming schedule is brutal; Oakland at home, a trip to St. Louis, and then six with the White Sox with a home series with Houston sandwiched in between. 

I haven't seen much of the team in action lately because I seem to have discovered something-the Cubs play better when I don't watch.  In fact, it appears that when I watch, bad things happen.  This trend started last year, when I went to 15 games at Wrigley Field and the Cubs went 3-12 in those games, including playoffs.  I was at a game last year that found the Cubs winning 5-0 after six innings, and in the seventh Cincinnati scored 6 runs to take the lead.  It started to rain shortly after that, and after a delay of an hour my group decided to leave.  The game restarted before we got to our car.  When we turned the radio on, the Cubs were winning 7-6.  They won by the same score.

Normally I am not superstitious.  I don't believe in any of the so-called curses that the media tries to perpetuate to the masses when it comes to my baseball team of choice.  However, I have lost track of the number of times that I have turned on a game and watched something bad immediately happen, or I have turned off a game only to find out later that something good happened.

Case in point: on a Friday in April I turned on the Cubs-Reds to find that the Reds led 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth.  Sammy Sosa was the leadoff hitter for the Cubs, and I chose to turn the game off.  He tied the game with a home run, then Moises Alou won it with another home run on the next pitch.  And I saw none of it. 

This is how I have "affected" the Cubs during their five game win streak:

Saturday: 10-5 win at Anaheim.  I was visiting with my family and saw none of the game.

Sunday: 6-5 15 inning win at Anaheim.  This is the game that got me thinking.  I was busy with a household project for most of the day, so I had no time to watch.  When I checked in late in the afternoon, the Cubs had just rallied to take a 4-1 lead.  I chose to take a break and watch the rest of the game, which was in the bottom of the eighth inning.  I saw two Anaheim batters; the first singled to bring in a run and make it 4-2, the next hit a home run to tie the game at 4.  I turned the game off and went back to work.  45 minutes or so later I checked back in, and it was 5-4 Cubs in the bottom of the 11th.  Literally the moment I deciphered what the score was, an Angels' player singled in a run to tie the game.  I turned the game off, and vowed not to watch the rest of the day.  Later I saw the final, that the Cubs had won.

Monday: 7-2 win at Houston.  Prior vs. Clemens, a baseball lover's dream match up, and I ignored it.  And the Cubs won.

Tuesday: 4-2 win at Houston.  I tempt fate by watching the first few innings and actually see the Cubs take a 1-0 lead, then am called away for an hour or so.  When I return, it is 2-1 Houston.  Perhaps things are being reversed.  Ah, not so fast, the Cubs fail to score twice when they have a runner at third, and the lead-off hitter for Houston in the 8th triples.  It's going to be at least 3-1, so I turn the game off.  An hour later when I watch the news, I see that not only did Houston not score, but that the Cubs scored three runs in the ninth and won the game 4-2.  Again, I see none of the winning rally.

And tonight, the only time I check in, it is 1-0 Houston.  I turn the game off for the rest of the night, and the Cubs win 4-1.

There are 97 games left in the season.  If I have the electricity turned off for the next few months I think I can guarantee a 102 game winning streak and a record of 133-29, and a clean sweep of the playoffs.  Finally, after 96 years, the Cubs win the World Series.

And I see none of it.  Any bets on whether that is going to happen?  For the love of mankind, am I expected to ignore the rest of the baseball season just so everyone else who is waiting for the Cubs to win it all can reach nirvana?  Am I destined to martyr myself for all things Cub?   

I don't know.  Of course, it won't make a difference once I post this, because anyone who has the devotion to the Cubs that I do will forcefully sequester me until November once they read this.

Time to go away.  Save me a place at Thanksgiving dinner. 

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