Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Just another manic Monday

If we looked closely, we might discover that Cub fans in particular - and probably sport fans in general - share many qualities with people who suffer from manic depression. The highs and lows that we've experienced, especially these last two weeks, are ridiculous.

A week ago, the Cubs were entering Monday after having lost 2 of 3 from the hapless Reds. Those who hadn't already jumped off the cliff were, at the very least, on the brink of climbing up there and having a good look around.

Two Mondays ago, the Cubs had ended a hot streak unlike anything we'd seen in a long while and had wound up splitting a 4-game set with the Phillies. Nobody was panicking yet; nobody knew that the worst period of the season was about to hit.

And three Mondays ago, the Cubs were in the middle of their best baseball this season.

For those of you who have been walking the Panic Trail, the Cubs went through their tailspin in a period where they did not have Rich Harden or Carlos Zambrano. Both players have since returned and pitched with authority.

With either 14 or 15 games remaining this year, the Cubs now have a 7.5 game lead on the Brewers, who they play 6 more times this year. They are 89-58; 11 games away from that statistic that threw us all in a tizzy just 3 weeks ago.

Is it possible for the Cubs to finish the year with 100 wins? Can they go 11-3 (or 11-4) the rest of the way against dangerous teams like Milwaukee, St. Louis, New York, and Houston?

I submit that it does not matter. It really doesn't. What matters is that the Cubs reach October with home-field advantage and some kind of momentum. The last couple of games have really turned them back in the right direction, and the first Cubs no-hitter of my lifetime cements in me the belief that giving up on this team is absolutely foolish, especially as long as they have the best rotation in baseball, the best lineup in baseball, the deepest bench in baseball, and outs remaining in a game.

There will be a lot of firsts for me this year. There already have been. The Cubs - for the first time in my life - will reach the playoffs in back-to-back years. They should have - for the first time in my life - the best record in the NL. They are doing so on the backs of big arms like Rich Harden and Carlos Zambrano, who - for the first time since I was born - threw a no-hitter yesterday.

I wonder what other firsts will happen this year?

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