ESPN —“The last time the Cubs won a World Series, Theodore Roosevelt was president, and the last time they played in a World Series was the year (1945) in which Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office. Cubs fans can only hope they return before having to wait for another Roosevelt in the White House.”
So ESPN put out a list ranking the fan bases for each playoff team in terms of misery and suffering, and…drumroll…the Cubbies came in at #1. If you’re reading this, you damn sure understand why. The droughts have been insufferably long, with peaks that have only led to agonizing disappointment. Still, from a personal standpoint the number 108 doesn’t really hurt, just like the 1984 NLCS collapse doesn’t keep me up at night. Those things happened (and didn’t happen) before my time. In my lifetime there’s been a lot of losing, but what strikes me as the most heartbreaking moment is undoubtedly this:
What sucked so much about this one in particular was that I thought (as I imagine everyone else watching did) it was a textbook inning ender. It felt like the break we’ve never been able to get. It was the baseball gods throwing us a bone, and poor Alex Gonzalez was the man who squandered it. Obviously, the true significance of this play is that it occurred after this:
But to me — and this may be an unpopular opinion — Bartman is a scapegoat. Sure, it was infuriating in the moment, and after the way things would ultimately transpire it’s haunting. But the fact remains, Gonzalez’s error happened inside the lines, with not one excuse in sight. I’m not giving Bartman a pass by any means, but I also think it’s important to recognize how much of a blunder that error by Gonzalez was.
Now, with all that being said, this season has helped heal lots of the scars we all carry. And it goes without saying that breaking the 108 year drought would damn near cure us all. But let’s make damn sure not to take a single moment for granted. If you think it was tough before, you don’t want to know the world of pain that will set in if this campaign falls short.