Archive: October, 2016
Cubs No More
With their victory in the National League Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs have died.
For more than half a century, the Chicago Cubs have been synonymous with futility. It's been a cultural touchstone. No matter how much they might tease with moderate success, ultimately, the Cubs will disappoint. Americans with no interest in baseball still have some sense that the Chicago Cubs equate with losing. Along with death and taxes, one thing you can rely on is that the Cubs always fail.
Not any more.
The Chicago Cubs have won the pennant and Americana has lost a quintessential element.
The Cubs are not like the Red Sox. When the Boston Red Sox finally won a World Series championship in 2004, 86 years after their last one, it was an event, sure. But the Sox didn't have Cub stink. Boston had won a number of American League pennants since 1918, had been contenders much of the time; sure, not having won the World Series in all those decades was a sore spot, but "Red Sox" never equated to "hopeless." The Cubs were special in that regard. It pervaded our culture.
Even last week's episode of "The Simpsons" contained the line "A drought of Chicago Cubs proportions." Those references now mean nothing.
I congratulate the long-suffering Cub fans. The introductory video before this evening's World Series Game One between the Cubs and the also-long-suffering Cleveland Indians (last World Series championship: 1948) was fun and gave a little warm fuzzy. I appreciate the feeling of "FINALLY" among loyalists who were devoted to the teams of Kerry Wood, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Rick Sutcliffe, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and the rest. But I also mourn our loss -- the obsolescence of the Cubs joke in "Back to the Future Part II," the erasure of the acronym CUBS (Completely Useless By September), the quaintness now associated with Steve Goodman's wonderful song.
Goodbye, Cub futility. You will be missed. The Chicago Cubs are dead. Long live the Chicago Cubs.
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At the risk of stating the obvious, I've not been good about maintaining this blog. Many topics have been worthy of jotting a few sentences about, and yet... Well, I'm here now. So, some flotsam and jetsam from my head as I wait for my car to be serviced in advance of my next rip to SoCal:
- My mood hasn't been great lately. No particular reason, at least none on top of the stresses and bummerific context of my being a Trustee of my mom's estate. Last month there was an incident that triggered an eruption of buried/suppressed rage that was surprisingly powerful and not especially useful. Even when it seems justified, anger of that degree gets in the way of, you know, addressing the problem. But that was then; more recently I've just been in a foggy sort of stasis, for lack of a better term. I'm no stranger to dour moods, and this isn't a severe example by a long shot, but in some ways this sort is more frustrating. I always want to make sense of things, and when staying focused on anything is an elusive task it's impossible to feel like things make any sense. If that makes sense. Which it probably doesn't. Because I'm all over the place in my head right now.
- So, let's talk about baseball, since that is something I can make sense of. Having the playoffs on during this time of foggy ennui is a good thing, it's helpful, but what isn't helpful is the Toronto Blue Jay offense. I really want to like the Jays. I have a great affinity for Canada, for one thing, and they're the only north-of-the-border team in the bigs; they also have a few individual players I like a lot, from ex-Mariner Michael Suanders to Troy Tulowitzki to J.A. Happ, and I have tended to enjoy the company of Blue Jay fans when they come to Seattle to see the Jays play the M's. Sadly, they are built around a one-dimensional offense dependent on the home run, which is so not my style. Also, not good enough to beat the Cleveland Native American Caricatures. Toronto's down 0-3 to the Clevelanders, and while there is Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor to appreciate I just can't find anything redeeming about Cleveland winning the American League championship. Bleh. Come on, Blue Jays, be the second team ever to rebound from 0-3! Meanwhile, the Cubs/Dodgers clash in the National League Championship Series has been outstanding -- Javier Baez even stole home! -- and I await the inevitable freak occurrence that prevents the Cubs from winning a pennant. They're clearly the better team, but if they are to maintain their essential Cubness, they must not win. With a pennant, they would cease to be the Cubs.
- John Oliver has been the saving grace of this year's presidential campaign, and this week he tackled the problem of otherwise thoughtful people choosing to vote for protest candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. I say problem because the people I've personally encountered that are supporting one of those two maintain that their choice is principled and Stein/Johnson is actually the best person running. I call bullshit on that, and so does John Oliver, who points out in glorious fashion that both Stein and Johnson are totally incompetent.