Three Strikes and They're Out

Cubs swept by Los Angeles Dodgers

It wasn't supposed to be like this.  Things were just lined up too perfectly.  It was the 100 year anniversary of the last Cubs team to win a World Series title, they had the most potent offense in the National League, and one of the best starting rotations.  For some unknown reason -- a curse, pressure, or just a sick sense of humor -- the Cubs just fall apart come playoff time.

For the third straight game the Cubs looked lost and hopeless against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Time after time Cubs hitters stared at fastballs down the middle of the plate and swung at breaking balls they had no business going after, and time after time the Dodgers drove in run after run.   Now I'm a White Sox fan, so I don't truly understand the pain that Cubs fans all over the world are feeling right now, but at the same time, watching this team over their last three contests left me feeling a bit sick in the stomach.

You see, I actually bought into this team.   In previous years when the Cubs made the playoffs I would hear from friends and family that "this was the year."   I would respond to this by patting them on the head and saying "sure it is, buddy, sure it is."   This year, though, this year I believed them.   I may be a White Sox fan first, but more importantly, I'm a baseball fan.   I probably watch nearly 300 games a season, and I know what a championship caliber team looks like.

For six months I watched this Cubs team, and that's exactly what I saw.  Hell, I even went on record with it, and brought a rain of hellfire upon myself from fellow Sox fans for it.   Yet, as hard as it was for me to admit it, and in spite of the knot in my gut I felt actually letting others know, I still felt it to be true.

Now that knot in my stomach is being felt by Cubs fans throughout the city, and it's not exactly an unfamiliar feeling.  It was only a year ago they were going through the same stomach-churning spin cycle as the Cubbies were swept out of the Division Series by the Arizona Diamondbacks.   The Cubs have now lost nine straight postseason games, and you have to wonder if they'll ever win one again.  Still, you know that come next April the faithful will still fill the seats at Wrigley Field, and they'll be as optimistic as ever.  They'll say once more that "this is the year" but you have to wonder if they'll really believe it inside.

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time.  Well, if that's the case, Cubs fans are certifiably insane.  Just don't blame them, because this team drove them there.

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