Tuesday, March 24, 2009

101 years and counting.

I am a Chicago Cubs fan. There I said it. I enjoyed the World Series run by the Chicago White Sox and as a native of Chicago, the Sox Championship of '05 is of great significance like the Michael Jordan era or the '85 Bears Super Bowl win. But I can tell you the greatest achievement in Chicago sports will be when the Cubs return the World Series and finally win it, something they have not done as a franchise since 1908.

1945 was the last time the Cubs even played in a World Series. Meanwhile, the Florida Marlins, a franchise that started after I graduated from college has won two World Series. As a matter of fact, the Marlins had to get past the Cubs in 2003 to get their chance to win a second championship. Who can forget the infamous Bartman play?

Being a Cubs fan is a lesson in endurance and hope being crushed to the ground. Can we say 1969, 1977 and 1984? The Cubs have been billed the lovable losers, a moniker that many major league players and managers have tried to shake off. They have over a dozen Hall of Famers that never played in a World Series in a Cub uniform, but ironically have World Series rings.

It is a tough burden, but it is one I gladly bear every time this time of year rolls around. The beauty of the game of baseball is something unto itself that makes springtime in America a great moment in the lives of many. But to see a competitive Cubs team take the field is a sight to behold. Every year 3 million fans show up at the second oldest professional baseball stadium to see if this team has the magic. I do my best to follow them online and on television when they are on WGN or ESPN.

It is something about those blue pinstripes and that big red "C" that gives me joy. When they take the field, I start my roller coaster ride of emotions. The high and the lows guide me through the spring, summer and fall with an incredible sense of purpose. It is tortuous pleasure.

Some people make fun of those of us who live or die with the fortunes of the "Cubbies". I don't care. I am honored to be a fan of one of the most storied franchises in history. There is no experience in sports greater than watching a day game at Wrigley Field. Instead of being ridiculed for supporting futility, I should be envied for being a member of the clan that bleeds "Cubbie blue." I mean who else can claim that their outfield walls come alive in the summer time?

Now , as we approach year 101 of the drought, I am more pumped than ever. The Cubs have made it to the post-season two years in a row. They have the most feared pitching rotation in Major League Baseball. They are one of the best offensive teams in the game. The potential is there, now certain things have to fall into place.

In 1984 and 2003, a wicked bounce ended the dream of achieving the ultimate sports moment. This year, I believe the ball will bounce in favor of the Cubs. But that is the belief I have every year and will continue to have until that fateful day when a player with a big red "C" on his blue baseball cap hoists that World Series trophy over his head.

Hope springs eternal. Let's play ball!