Well bust my flange and call me Joe the Plumber. It's the end of just about a perfect weekend here-beautiful fall weather, some house hunting, and a curious almost-ten month old baby boy continuing to discover all the different things about life.
What could be better? Heck, even the Chicago Tribune endorsed Barack Obama today. The Trib never endorses Democratic presidential candidates. I was glancing over some news sites before this and saw the list of papers (which the minions in the McPalin camp will remind us tomorrow have become completely irrelevant) that have endorsed Obama. Houston? The LA Times? Idaho? I guess anything can happen these days.
What the...? It's almost 11 PM here, and the doorbell just rang. Back in a sec.
(Hey-Desmond here. This remote controlled doorbell I wired from my crib finally comes in handy. Look, I know everyone is tired of this, but I just wanted to warn that Dad is about to mention the Cubs again. Here he comes...I gotta scoot.)
No one there. We don't live in an area with a heck of a lot of kids, so I don't know what is going on. Anyway, it's been a good weekend. Kristen and Desmond are asleep, and I'm just goofing around before I call it a night. Maybe I'll see what's on TV here...
And the cabin explosively decompresses. The Tampa Bay Rays are going to the World Series! Wonderful! Thank God that the long nightmare for the folks of Tampa/ St. Pete is finally over.
Really, it's bad enough that I have to endure being a Cubs fan. It's excruciating. I was walking around a pumpkin farm with my family today and every time I saw a carved jack-o-lantern I knew exactly how it felt. Think about it: a pumpkin grows rich and plump through the summer, spending its day wondering what is to become of it, and then at the height of its excitement and anticipation, it gets cut open and completely gutted-like that it isn't enough-and then it gets carved into some bewildering characterization.
Watching the Cubs roll over and play dead to the Dodgers a few weeks ago was like having someone cut a circle off the top of my skull and then reach in, pulling everything out. Watching Tampa celebrate going to the World Series is the final straw, the slim serrated knife carving an image of Sarah Palin into my torso.
There's the damn door bell again. I'm going to squash whomever is out there...
(Hey, Desmond again. Look, I can hear him hyperventilating over this, and the best thing for him is to vent. He's gotta get it out. It's pathetic that I have more perspective on this then he does, but then he's been around a lot longer.)
No one there. Maybe I'm hearing things; on the way back up here I swore I could hear little feet running away. How much am I supposed to endure? Do you know how awful it has been being a Cubs fan since 2003? The implosion they pulled off that year was enough to kill most of my brain cells, but what has conspired since is ridiculous. And it's not just the team's performance (though that has been spectacular as well-a last-week collapse in 2004 to miss the playoffs, then two pathetic seasons back-to-back in '05 and '06, and the three-and-out playoff performances of '07 and '08); it's been just as hard watching who gets to end up celebrating at the end of those seasons.
Now the phone, the phone is ringing. There might be an animal in trouble. Be right back.
(Des, yet again. This is worse than I thought. I'm afraid he's about to break out into a list. I don't know what to do. Maybe I'll go make him a bottle. That always makes everything better for me.)
Where was I? Right, October suffering. Here's what I've had to deal with since the Cubs flame-out of 2003:
2003: The Florida Marlins (who were the beneficiaries of said flame-out) win the World Series over the Yankees. This is the second championship for the Marlins, who also won in 1997. They didn't join the league until 1993, or 85 freakin' years after the Cubs last championship. People in Miami love their baseball, as the Marlins average around 10,000 fans per game.
2004: Up until this point, most scholars of the game would suggest that fans of the Boston Red Sox have been subject to more cruelty than Cubs fans, and since the Sox have managed to lose a few playoff series in spectacular fashion (paging: 1986) there is some truth to this. This all changed in 2004. Boston became the first team ever to win a seven-game playoff series after falling behind three games to none. Undeserved extra oomph #1: they did it against the Yankees, their most hated rival. Undeserved extra oomph #2: they went on the win four straight in the WS, thereby eliminating any drama as to whether they would finally win. It was the first championship since 1918.
2005: If you think envy was a healthy presence in '04, '05 gave it a pandemic-force presence. The White Sox hadn't won a championship since 1917. They went 11-1 in the playoffs. It was never in doubt, my friends. I ripped my heart out of my chest and ate it so many times during the World Series that my ribs walked out on me. I must point though that despite popular theory, a Cubs fan does not consider the White Sox to be his team's greatest rival. Any true Cubs fan keeps all his vitriol for...
2006: ...the St. Louis Cardinals! The Cards barely made the playoffs (and in fact set a record for the fewest regular season wins by a World Series winning team-83) and then drove the stake further into my heart by winning it all. Seriously, who writes this stuff? Boston, Chicago and St. Louis back to back to back?
2007: So I figure this has to be the year that the Cubs are finally vanquished. I mean, what else is left? Everyone has won the World Series by now it seems...so let's let the long suffering fans of Boston win a second series in three years! And let's make it even better by letting the Colorado freakin' Rockies (established the same year as the traditional Florida Marlins-1993) get to the World Series too. Thank God those fans in Denver had this, because they have nothing else to celebrate out there *cough-John Elway-cough* And let's have this happen after the Cubs roll over and die to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who by the way won the World Series in 2001, thereby ending the prolonged suffering of their loyal fans who saw them enter the major leagues in 1998. When I think about all those Phoenix-area first graders who had yet to see the D'Backs win it all, I can barely stand it.
The phone is ringing again!
(Desmond again. OK, he's officially out of control, and I'm starting to get a little peeved. If I don't get fourteen hours of sleep per night I am a mess the entire next day. I am asking anyone who might have access to a tranquilizing gun to come over immediately. I can pay handsomely-apples, pears, sweet potatoes, etc.; all pureed, all chock full of YUMMY! Please help.)
2008: Two teams won 97 games this year: the Cubs and the Rays. One pulled the ultimate Mr. Bungles and was eliminated quicker than AIG spends bailout money on "massages" while the other beat two good teams and made it to the World Series. Their opponent? The Phillies, another team that has brought much woe to their loyal fans (and I'm actualy serious here-next to the Cubs, the worst team to be enslaved to has to be the Phillies, though they did win a World Series in 1980). So either Tampa or Philly wins it this year. I'm sure Tampa will win. It's about time that a team that has been in existence less than every sixth grader on the planet has been alive purges the demons of its past. Did I mention Tampa had never won more than 70 games in any of their nine prior seasons? Of course they did!
What's going to happen next year? Will the roster of the 1927 Yankees regenerate in late August and make a final addition to their legacy? Will Steve Garvey come out of retirement for the Washington Nationals post-season run? Will Will Clark hit a three-mile long grand slam?
Who just thinks I spontaneously combusted? Oh, and Desmond, you are so grounded when you turn twelve.
I promise here and now that these are my last words about the Cubs for at least the rest of 2008, and more than likely until the first pitch of 2008, of which by then I will have completely done my best Men In Black impersonation and forgot all about this.
When I sat down to write this, I grabbed my i-pod. The first song it played randomly?
Madonna's "Ray of Light."
Of course it did.