Can We Talk About Baseball, Yet?

No. Definitely not. I am too superstitious. I know that simply by writing this now and intending to make this public, I will jinx the Cubs. Because I am responsible for whether or not the Cubs win or lose. Me. Not Lou Piniella or Derek Lee or Jim Hendry or any of the people who actually went to a game this year. Me.

Can you believe that there was a time when I didn't care for baseball? I mean, I always cared about the Cubs, in theory, but there was a time when I compared watching baseball on television to watching paint dry.

As a teenager, I hated most sports on principle (because, you know, us punk rockers were above all that. Only jocks and boring people actually liked sports.) Sure, I would watch the Olympics, but hey, they only came around twice every four years, that hardly made me a sports fan.

Then, in college, I developed an interest in basketball (not coincidentally, this was the early '90s, when Michael Jordan first began acquiring all those championship rings). Watching a game was a tense affair for me. If the game was close, I would hide in a closet during free throws because I just couldn't bear to watch. But then Michael Jordan retired, twice, and watching basketball lost its appeal.

Then Fred started watching Cubs games. Far from being boring, I learned that watching a baseball game was like watching a high wire acrobat working without a net. I came to understand that baseball afforded me more opportunities for unbearable tension, joy, and outright agony. And, if one is a masochist, one really can't go wrong by choosing the Cubs as their home team. I am lucky my parents ended up on the North Side of Chicago (although, up until 2005, Southsiders were no strangers to heartbreak either). I probably wouldn't be having this conversation with all of you if they had stayed in New York.

So here we are and the Cubs are tied for first place in the Central Division.

I tell myself that it won't matter if the Cubs don't win the division. I tell myself that it will really be better if the Cubs don't go to the post season because, really, I don't need another month of this, do I? I tell myself it is better if the Cubs don't go to the World Series because, well, isn't there something epic about being a Cubs fan? (Just ask all those Red Sox fans and White Sox fans how long their joy lasted. Winning only lasts until the following season.) I tell myself that it is only a game. Then I run out of the room because no amount of telling myself anything can make it any easier to watch the next pitch.

You can imagine how stressful the next couple of weeks will be.

Two reasons the Cubs deserve to win the division and the World Series this year

1) It has been 99 years. Do you really want to hear all the variations on One Hundred Years of Solitude that will be trotted out next year if they don't win this year?

2) Must another generation of Cubs fans suffer?


Judy said…
Well, as a fan of Kansas City teams, I can almost feel your pain. Almost. The Royals did win the pennant in 85, and the Chiefs did, well, a long time ago.

I actually used to be a huge baseball fan. I still love the sport, but the, what, industry of baseball bothers me. We have a minor league team who I keep meaning to go watch.

My husband is NOT a sports fan, at all. He'll humor me, and watch or listen with me, but it's just not nearly as much fun when there's no one to root on the teams with you. So I've basically quit bothering.

But, uh, Go Cubs! I'll be rooting for them this year!

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