October 7, 2008

Cubbies’ heartbreak cuts party short

[img id="77068" align="alignleft"] The Cubs really know how to ruin a party.

I went into Saturday night optimistic for a couple of reasons. One, I was going to a party that, based on the looks of things, seemed like it could earn the prefix “killer.” Two, the Cubs had Rich Harden on the hill, a guy I had great confidence would shut down the Dodgers’ bats.

I should have known.

First off, those Verizon commercials are horribly misleading. It is never a good idea to have anything that resembles a Gamecast on while attempting to socialize at the same time. Of course, I’m not much of a socializer, so I thought it would be fine if I checked up on my Cubbies every now and then. Not a good idea.

Shortly after I arrived at the party, I checked the score and was disappointed but not unsurprised to find that the Cubs were already down 2–0. Wow.

Wow, the girl in green is pretty cute. Maybe I should go over and talk to her? Maybe I should stop acting like a nine-year-old, deathly afraid of coming within eight feet of a member of the opposite sex? Maybe not. I’ll probably shoot myself in the foot and earn a reputation as The “big goofy looking guy with the afro.” Wait, is that already my reputation? Darn it.

Is this really the reputation the Cubs want to earn for themselves? A team that plays exceptionally well in the regular season but exceptionally horribly in the postseason? Not even a shoot-themselves-in-the-foot reputation; this is a shoot-themselves-in-the-head reputation.

I mean, how does a team get any better than the Chicago Cubs? How does a team improve on a lineup that features Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano, along with NL Rookie of the Year candidate Geovanny Soto and 2008-wonder Mark DeRosa? How does a team build on Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, and Rich Harden?

I’d say this is about as good as a roster gets.

Free-flowing beverages, plenty of space, solid music, and fly shorties. This is about as good as a party gets.

There’s an attractive young lady in brown across from the bar; I might think about introducing myself if she wasn’t being courted by at least six or seven of my intoxicated compatriots. Real nice, fellas.

Real nice, fellas. Top of the seventh, Cubs down 3–0, and another squandered opportunity. Kosuke Fukudome just showed signs of life for the first time in weeks, getting on base behind Ryan Theriot and setting up Soriano for a starring role on Sports Center if he can knock this one out of the park. Of course not. With one out, Soriano flies out, and Mike Fontenot follows suit with a line-out. Way to go, Cubbos.

Way to go, Jake. That girl was just standing in the center of the room with that “Jesus, someone please talk to me” look for at least five minutes, and nothing. That had to be the biggest choke of the century, dumbhead.

This has to be the biggest choke of the century. This is a World Series–caliber club that ranked first in the National League in runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, and second in batting average. A team that ranked first in batting average allowed, second in OPS allowed, third in ERA and WHIP, and fourth in saves.

And look what they’re doing in the playoffs. They’ve given up 20 runs and scored six. That means that in the last two years, they’ve been outscored 36–12, and they’ve got a 0–6 record. The Cubs are about to become the first team in the wild-card era to be swept out of the first round in consecutive seasons.

So, here we are, top of the ninth. Theriot strikes out, Kosuke grounds out, and (how fitting) Soriano strikes out to end the game, the series, the season, the World Series talk, and probably the lives of thousands of Cubs fans who were clearly mistaken in their hope that maybe, just maybe, the Cubs could win it, just this once.

Just this once, Jake. Just walk up to her and say something. Anything. “Hey, I’m Jake.” No? How about, “Hey, I can’t find my puppy, can you help me find him? I think he just went into that cheap motel room.” All right, I’m done with you.

All right, I’m done with this. The Cubs have broken my heart more times than I can remember, and I’m only 19 years old. Just think: There have been entire generations of Cubs fans who have come and gone and have never, ever seen their team win. Never.

I think I need a different approach to this fandom. I know it’ll never happen, but Cubs fans have to try to relax. It’s hard, I know, and I’m probably the worst offender of screaming through the TV at the smallest mistakes. But a team like this can kill those who take every tough loss as a heartbreak.

So, I think next year I’m going to mirror my approach to the Cubs on how my neighbor approaches women at parties: get super drunk and just pray for a miracle.