Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cubs lose. Too bad. But so what?


In 1984, when the Chicago Cubs blew a two-game lead in a best-of-five playoff series with the San Diego Padres, I allowed my disappointment to become a brief bout of depression.

I was young then -- well, all right, I was 41 -- but I suddenly grew older and wiser. The next day, I told myself that I would never again get so bummed out over a mere sporting event. If my team played an especially crucial game or vied for a championship or something, I would be greatly pleased with victory but not especially crushed by defeat.

After all, what difference does it make? The White Sox won the World Series in '05, and I was tinkled pink. But it didn't exactly affect my life much one way or the other. The great pleasure faded in a few days, and life went on.

This year, the Cubs started out poorly and then turned it around in June and finished their season with a division title. In the playoffs, they were bested by the Arizona Diamondbacks in three straight. End of story...until next year. It had nothing to do with a curse or with a 99-year history of not winning the big championship. It just happened. In baseball, any team can win three in a row from any other team. This time, the D-Backs did it.

But to hear some idiots, like Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti, tell it, the Cubs are guilty of some great moral failure. This is the same overwrought Mariotti who called for the resignation of the president of the University of Notre Dame when the school hired and then quickly fired a football coach who had fudged his resume.

To Mariotti and his ilk, everything in sports includes some dimension of abject disgrace. These people are eternal juveniles. The fools.

4 comments:

MR. BASEBALL said...

Rascal, we part company here. I do agree that Jay Mariotti is an idiot, but when your team wins a World Series after decades of disappointment, it is everlastingly sweet. I'm a diehard White Sox fan, as you know, and 2005 will live with me and my family forever. My connection to the Sox comes from my grandfather, so it's especially emotional for me. Being a diehard White Sox fan, I hate the Cubs and did take delight in their abysmal play against Arizona. And I do respect diehard Cub fans who hate the Sox. I realize there's no logic in this, but it also is emotional. But if the Cubs ever again in a World Seris, I will certainly understand and empathize with the Cub fans who find it as exhilarating as I found the Sox championship.

The Rascal said...

You're right. We part company here. I used to be very emotionally connected to my favorite athletic teams. No more. It's just not that important. One thing I've always wondered about is how a Sox fan, for instance, loves the team no matter who owns it, who plays for it, who manages it. The team doesn't represent Chicago any more than some black Baptist kid from Alabama represents Notre Dame. Remember Mike Ditka and the so-called working-class Grabowskis on his team? These imaginary characteristics attached to sports teams are a bunch of nonsense. Brett Favre doesn't bespeak the character of Green Bay. He might well be just as good if he played for Kansas City. Pride is a strange emotion.

MR. BASEBALL said...

As I said, it's emotional, not logical. On another subject, since you mention "Da Coach", I am one of the few of the opinion that Mike Ditka is the most overrated coach in NFL history. I'm also a diehard Bears fan, but Ditka took a team that should have won at least two superbowls and woefully underachieved.

The Rascal said...

Hey, even I could have coached that '85 team to a Super Bowl title. You're right. Ditka was vastly overrated. However, as I noted in a post here on Aug. 15, Ditka is one of the best in using the word "football" with every other breath when he's bloviating on TV.