Long time readers of the CCO have become accustomed to my style of writing, good or bad, I always tend to ‘report‘ just the facts and keep my personal opinion out of my articles. The main reason is because I feel there is a ton of opinionated bloggers out there, why add to it. But today is going to be different….
By nature I am not a patient person. As I was approaching my twenties and working toward, what I thought at the time, was a major goal, I was told by a person I admired and respected to slow down and to stop planning for tomorrow. He told me to enjoy the journey because whether it all works out the way you want it to or not, you do not want to miss out on experiencing all that goes along with reaching the goal and turning your dream into a reality.
When I woke up this morning, with the metaphorical hangover from game three, the conversation I had nearly twenty years ago rang just as true today as it did then. But this time it had little to do with me, but with the thousands upon thousands of Cubs fans that had the same feeling of disappointment at the end of another ‘failed‘ season. But was this season truly a failure? I know for a fact that this was the best summer of baseball on the North Side of Chicago in my lifetime and generations before me. They won game after game with one exciting comeback after another. No one thought this version of the Cubs would win 97 games, no one. And if they had not clinched the division so early, possibly could have posted a 100-win season. It was truly a remarkable summer.
This year there were not any dramas, or fights within the clubhouse or with other teams, just good baseball. Beside all of the comebacks, there was Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter, the return of Kerry Wood, one heck of a rookie catcher in Geovany Soto and a one-time hated rival turned into a favorite of the Faithful seemingly overnight.
Toward the end of the regular season, I heard a caller on a radio show say if the Cubs celebrate winning the division they should be embarrassed. What?! Why should a team be embarrassed for celebrating what they worked so hard to accomplish? Yes there were expectations, but talk to the Detroit Tigers about expectations.
Expectations and pressure is a big part of baseball, and all sports in general. Here are two examples:
- The Red Sox are the defending World Series Champions, yet they celebrated being the AL Wild Card winner this year just like they did winning the world championship. Why? Because they realize how hard it is to make it to the post-season and that every year is a different year, a different team and they are not responsible for the teams and players that came before them.
- The Atlanta Braves won 14 consecutive division championships, but ‘only‘ one World Series and many call that a failure. What?! 14 straight trips to the post-season is a failure? But the fans in Atlanta did not show up and sell out the first round of the playoffs because they began expecting that year after year….then the fans wonder why the Braves won ‘only‘ once, because they had no pressure (and a great organization) to win the division. All of the pressure became getting to the World Series and winning another ring.
The Cubs deal with a much bigger form of the same pressure. And while the Faithful called it the ‘100 Year Wait‘, it should have been called the ‘100 Year Weight‘. I mean, how would you like to go to your job on a daily basis just to hear your company has not reached their goal in a century, you have only been there a couple of years, but you must turn it around because millions of people you have never met are depending on you to end years upon years of disappointment because of bad decisions by the management.
I think it is a shame that many were not able to enjoy this past season because of looking too far ahead and dreaming of reaching the ultimate goal of all teams, to win the World Series.
Hopefully the incredibily poor play in the NLDS will not erase those memories and moments from this past summer for all of you, I know it will not for me. Believe me, I am just as disappointed and shocked as all of you are, not as much that they lost, but with the way they played. The team, as I mentioned last night, that took the field against the Dodgers was not the one that played 161 games during the regular season.
I would like to see all of the fans and the mainstream media to stop bringing up the drought and the ‘one bad century‘. There are no such things as ‘curses‘, but there were, for more years that we all care to remember, bad player personal and management decisions. And lastly, the phrase ‘It’s Gonna Happen‘ is not a positive statement and puts additional pressure on the players when they see a couple of thousand of them at every game at Wrigley.
This one is going to take a while to get over for most, and maybe Marty Brennaman was right, in the end they are the Chicago Cubs. But I truly believe that one day the Cubs will be the last team jumping up and down on the field in late October….but I will make sure to enjoy every pitch and every hit of each game all season (every year) and not just look ahead to a game in October.
While the season has been very enjoyable, it was a very long one and the CCO is going to take some time off over the next few weeks. The site will be updated with news or moves, if there are any to talk about, but the daily articles will not return until the Hot Stove season kicks into gear. Jim Hendry and company has a lot of work to do….then there is the whole ownership thing that must be completed soon.
I have enjoyed this season and sharing it with all of you. A big ‘Thank You‘ goes out to all of the posters and readers, you guys make it easy for me to keep up with the site. And to Brian, Shaun, Tom, Jim and Jim, thank you for the contributions during the year, you guys gave me a break when I needed one. Once we get back to business as usual, I will post the winners of the preseason predictions contests. The CCO will be at the Cubs Convention and Spring Training, and both of those are closer than anyone may realize.
So until then, to borrow from Brian, Stay Classy Cubs Fans and I truly believe the organization is headed in the right direction.