Three weeks later and I still wake up every morning like I got punched in the stomach. That is the physical pain that I feel since the Cubs were eliminated from the 2008 playoffs..This latest heartbreak ranks right up there with 1984 and 2003. Both of those years at least went down to the final game, the 2008 postseason ended after James Loney smoked a grand slam off of Ryan Demspter in the fifth inning of game one.
For the second consecutive year our addiction fell well short of the cure. I won't go off on a rant about the 2007 playoff failure because in my opinion, I thought that the Arizona Diamonbacks were the better team. They actually had the best record in the National League with a 90-72 record. I wasn't surprised one bit to see the Cubs go three and out, but the 2008 regular season juggernaut was a total shock.
What went wrong did go wrong. Ryan Dempster turned into the Ryan Dempster that we all feared would happen when he was anointed the number three man in the rotation during spring training. A bunch of pitches that were mostly balls and Dempster was gone into inning number five. The defense disappeared during game two and Soriano and Ramirez were playoff no shows redux.
I admit, I hate the first round's best of five game format even though the Cubs probably would have played poorly in a game four. At least we could have had Cub baseball for one more day. I'm not joking about how nervous I get when I watch the Cubs play. I was fully prepared for an October run. I got my anxiety meds from my doctor, I didn't have anything to eat past noon and I was glued to the television. I was repulsed to hear about the priest performing some kind of exorcism in the Cubs dugout before game one. What was Crane Kenny thinking? Was Bartman's head going to appear out of the smoke and morph into a goat head?
Even though the Cubs had a 97-win season I knew that it was going to be a tough test. This was a different L.A. team. Ramirez and Furcal are difference makers. Never the less I thought we had enough to take them in four or maybe five games.
I don't know how much more I can take of this? Oddly enough, this is the golden age of Cub baseball. Three playoff appearances in six years, only a 2004 final week meltdown prevented this from becoming a mini decade of dominance. The best part about being a Cub fan is our resilience, but I admit I am still shattered about what happened three weeks ago. Am I the only one who still aches?