Goatriders of the Apocalypse

I ain't happy, ain't been happy for awhile, and I ain't gonna be happy, I reckon

I haven't posted in awhile, maybe you've noticed. I figured, based on the state I have been in, what's the point?

My subject line refers primarily to the Cubs, but also to the whole internets at large.  I'll go off topic for a sec. 

Byron gets an e-mail from the Sun-Times wanting to know about Great Fan Rooms in people's houses.  He very thoughtfully forwards it to me.  I send my flickr album to the Bright One, I don't hear JACK back about it.  In the meantime, I keep seeing these other places which just PALE in comparison to the Mendotan Basement of Man Cub Love.  Then, Kurt gets an e-mail from a 'legit' sportswriter from a 'legit' sports.com, soliciting stories on how "average" Cubs fans got to be Cubs fans. (This portion has been edited to preserve a certain level of confidentiality that I promised I would keep).  Kurt thoughtfully forwards it to me.  I send the guy my story, and while the guy DID write back, he mentions that my story loses out to those written by Billy Corgan and Bonnie Hunt.  Average Cub fans, my ass.  I mean, what the HELL do I gotta do to get some love out thurr?

So anyway, back to the topic at hand, I'm pretty dim dam discouraged with the state of our ballclub, as well as the state of the Providers of Internet Content, whomever they may be, so me no writey.

I mean, if YOU want to be encourage about our two-game lead over the Brewers, go ahead.  Certainly Windsock Jay is.  If you want to feel good about where the Cubs are at, I guess I am not the guy to tell you otherwise.  If you can enjoy the journey, on the way to the destination, then God bless you, for you can practice what He preaches.

Not me, gatdammit.  This here deal, to me, sucks.

When the Cubs were coming back from 8 run deficits against Colorado, never losing at home, sweeping fools and playing the goofy-ass song every day, I felt better about things.  And YES, sure, most seasons aren't going to be like that from wall-to-wall.  And YES, sure, most teams, even the winning teams, don't dominate from day one to the end.  And YES, citing recent history, the 2004 Red Sox came back from a 3-0 ALCS deficit against the Yankees, down late in game 4, In The Apple, and ended up winning.  And the 2005 Sux looked like crap the last two weeks in September before going, what, 11-1 in the playoffs?  And the 2006 Deadbirds won like 83 regular season games before going on a tear at the end.

YES, other teams do these things.  YES, I suppose it is possible that the 2008 Chicago Cubs are going to grind out a World Championship, by doing little things like beating CC Sabbath on a Monday nite.  I suppose that I shouldn't be mad at Kerry Wood for missing a month over a gatdamn finger blister.  I shouldn't be mad at Kosuke Fukudome for looking like a gatdamn sillyass swan three times a game, swinging at pitches an inch about his shoelaces. I shouldn't be mad at Lee and Ramirez and Soriano for collectively making outs every single time they bat for an entire week.

Whatever deal Marmol had with the Devil has run its course.  Howry has forgotten how to pitch, it seems.  Anyone seen Scott Eyre, besides the side of a milk carton?  And Lou is spending all his man love on a former Golden Domer who has pitched, what, four major league innings?  He's the Savior?  Just because he's on a first name basis with Touchdown Jeezus doesn't mean he's the cure to our baseball team.

Other teams have overcome such obstacles.  Casual baseball fans think this.  Reasonable baseball fans think this.  Objective baseball fans think this.  Logical baseball fans think this.

I don't put stock in ANY of it.

If the Cubs were meant to gut one out, why the hell did they piss 1969 away?  When they came back even better in 1970, what happened then?  Why did they then piss away huge leads in 1971 and 1972?  When the Mets won only 82 friggin' games to win the East in 1973, where were the Cubs?  Why did they waste the entire careers of FOUR, yes, FOUR Hall-Of-Fame players on the SAME damn roster?  (Yes, I am counting Santo). 

When they went THIRTY freakin' games over 500 in 1977, how the HELL did they end up blowing that ENTIRE cushion?  When they simply annihiliated the Padres in the first two games of the NLCS in 1984, how could they possibly manage not to win a single one of the three remaining?  Why couldn't they "gut" anything out in 1989, 1998?  Why did we keep throwing ripe cheese to Garvey and Will Clark? We wasted the Hall-Of-Fame careers of Sandberg AND Maddux. 

When God gave us the Golden Geese, laid them in our laps, how did we screw up Wood AND Prior?  With the same task at hand in 2003, win one game out of three for the NLCS, AND Home Field Advantage, how the fee-yuck do they fritter that away?  With the most powerful team in Cubs History in 2004, AND the Five Aces, AND THIS MAY BE THE MOST DREADFUL FAILURE OF THEM ALL, how could they not even eek out a Wild Card?  Last year, with the Great Lou Pinella at the helm, with a Substantial Talent Advantage, we get swept by a bunch of no-names, and it wasn't even close.

You want to know why I am not happy?  Yes, casual, sensible, sane, knowledgeable, logical people can point to a whole armful of nice, wonderful things about our ballclub.  There are analyses of every type, everywhere, that paint rosy pictures about the Cubs' immediate future. 

It ain't enough.  Not for me.  Unless I know, for absolute certain, cross my heart and hope to die, bet the mortgage, swear on your mother's grave, cold stone-pipe-lock guarantee that the Cubs are going to win every single last game between TODAY and the END OF OCTOBER, I won't be happy.  And kids, I ain't feelin' it.

When it comes to the Cubs, life ain't a Journey...it's a Destination.  Is that backwards?  Is that the wrong way to be?  Is that insane?  Is that just infantile, moronic, juvenile, psychotic.....is that wack??  Does that make me a Bad Person?

Yeah, well, f you, then.  When this is all said and done, and we're sitting at home AGAIN this fall, watching some OTHER mopes jump up and down, don't look at ME.  Don't even EYEBALL me.  I ain't gonna be in the mood for you.  I'll swing for your face, and try to rip yer eyes out.

If the Cubs were to win

If the Cubs were to win every game from here on out, how exciting would that be? To ME, for awhile, yes it would be cool. But after awhile, even though fun to watch, it would be boring. There is not meant to be perfection in baseball. Thats what makes it such a great sport. Ups and downs of emotions, makes a true fan truely passionate. I love the division races, and last year was awesome. I look forward to another great one this year. The true great teams can look adversity in the face and overcome it. I dont want to see a team completely run over people en route to a championship. Its no fun. So we endure the rough stretches and when finally the Cubs DO come out on top, all the more sweeter it will be.

Thanks, Rob

You just harshed my buzz. I'm going to put on some NIN and slit my wrists now.

As I'm wearing my NIN shirt right now...

...I really don't know how to take this comment. I'm listening to Guster, though, if that makes a difference.

Just a thought for you, Rob

They certainly had the tools to do it, but they didn't always make it easy on their fans.

There was a period early in the season in which they went 1-6. They lost 2 of 3 to their most hated rivals, and there was a 4 game skid in which they lost by 2 runs or less ... all in a row.

Later, they experienced the same problem. A 2-6 record, a tendency to lose close games, I'm sure the frustration was building for their fans.

They finished the first half and then started off the second half of the season by going 3-8. I'm sure some of their fans were jumping off cliffs by then.

Toward the end of August, they lost 4 games in a row, including 3 more to their heated rivals, a team known to have the tendency to overtake them late in the season for the division. A lead that they had once built up in their division had collapsed.

In the middle of September, they lost 5 of 6, including 4 in a row, including 2 more to said Hated Rivals. I'm sure that if we were their fans, we would have waved the flag and stuck a fork in them.

Then. THEN! Then, the Red Sox made the playoffs and won the World Series against the Rockies.

They didn't do it through overpowering their rivals. They won a respectable-but-not-fantastic 96 games. From August onward, they went 1-5 against the Yankees. And yet, they had the tools and components necessary to win it all.

The Cubs, a team that has at times flat-out dominated, and even in the worst of times they lose by only 1 or 2 runs, are in first place and will likely be in first place for the vast majority of the rest of this season.

In this case, my friend and mentor, I will submit to you that you don't NEED to feel it. The Cubs are going to get there regardless, if not on the incredible strength of their roster, then on the fact that no other team in the central - dangerous Brewers included - have the horses to overtake them.

It's like I said a few posts ago... if the Cubs swept the Brewers, I get the feeling that the vast majority of Cub Fandom would breathe a sigh of relief over having dodged a bullet while waiting for the next hurdle to arise. If the Brewers swept the Cubs, the same Cub fans would be proclaiming it a lost season in July. Isn't that an unfair bias?


You nailed it baby ! I can't enjoy the ride OK? I've waited too long. I threw up as a nine year old in 1969 when the hated Miracle Mets sent Ron Santo a little surprise in the batter's box. I suffered in 77, 84, 89, 2003 etc...LIstened to my Grandpa say "I don't think I will ever see them in the world series" ditto for my Dad then heard myself say it with my daughters in my lap in 2003 as everybody screamed at Dusty to get Kerry Wood out of there with a two run lead. My friend in Boston used to say "We're cursed too". I would counter with "We wish we had your curse at least you get to the world series "!
My same friend said that after 2004 he could finally enjoy baseball and the "ride/journey" again. Anyone who feels optimistic now about the Cubs is probably not old enough to have accumulated the years of Cubbie baggage we have.
I recommend a Mike Imrem column from the Daily Herald last year titled " Why the Cubs will not win in my lifetime". Dear God if we ever saw them win the series we could finally enjoy the next season. Until then I await the next groin pull, hamstring tear, scrotal hematoma, splintered bat, chunk of concrete whatever that I KNOW IS COMING. DEFEATIST ? NO REALIST ? HOPE FOR THE BEST EXPECT THE WORSE. PLEASE GOD JUST WIN ONE FOR RONNIE !!!

I'm sorry you feel that way.

...But this is tripe.

Yeah, it wasn't meant to be analysis

and I am not an baseball analyst. This IS how I feel, I haven't been writing, and I thought I owed it to some people to explain why.

I'm a streetcleaner. I am good when it is clear that we need to back up the truck, ala 1999, 2000 and 2006. I am good when we are kicking people's asses, like in May. I'm not so good when we need an assessment of our ability to grind things out.

They haven't succeeded in 100 years, keep in mind.

Im glad I dont watch games

Im glad I dont watch games with you guys. I actually ENJOY baseball. I will till the day i leave this earth. And if the Cubs dont win by then. Well, my future children will be well trained to be there to see it for me.

I think we ALL enjoy

I think we ALL enjoy baseball, but some of us get frustrated and nervous.

I think there is a progression of phases in the lives of Cub fans, from the blind, cubbie-blue koolaid days of youth, the hardened, bitter, cynical days of middle age, to perhaps resigned frustration toward old age.

When you invest so much energy into following a team that doesn't deliver on their basic objective - to win a World Series - it's easy to get frustrated.

I'm not nervous, I'm not worried, and even if the Cubs lost the next 20 games and fell out of contention, while I'd be frustrated and pissed, that anger would level off. For that reason, I would submit to you that, while I am certainly a "good" Cubs fan, in that I follow the team and support them, I am nowhere near as big a fan as Rob. He's invested more, and for that reason he loses more when they lose.

Really, I can't blame him for that, even as I try to soothe and calm the guy a bit. The Cubs have put him in a hole right now. Nobody likes to hear the shouts of the guy stuck down in a hole.

Luckily, most of us aren't in there, and you aren't likely to see that much frustration, generally speaking. For that reason, I'd suggest two things - 1) I think you'd enjoy watching a Cubs game with me and the rest of us, and 2) It's just like listening to Ron Santo. It's heartbreaking when he laments, but you still have to love Ron and I bet you'd pay good money to watch a game with him. Am I wrong?

Been there...

I'm only a couple years younger than Rob. '77 & '84 scarred my baseball heart forever.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award