Cubs Fans, Take a Deep Breath

by Jeff Siegel

Chicago Cubs fans are in full panic mode. On Bleed Cubbie Blue, you'll see them huddled in a corner, hands over their head, terrified of what the last month of the baseball season holds. “While this team (knocking on wood) has not had a bad week, we are a bad week away from second,” wrote one.

What is this, you ask? Aren't the Cubs comfortably in first place in the National League Central, seven games in front? Haven't they had the best record in baseball several times this season? Don't they lead the league in a variety of key statistical categories? Isn't this their best team in at least a generation? Of course.

But these are the Cubs, and none of that matters.

The Cubs do not win. You can attribute this to curses or bad luck or rotten teams, but the results speak for themselves — no World Series championship in 100 years, no National League pennant in 63 years, and only five playoff teams since then. By comparison, the New York Yankees have won 16 World Series since the last time the Cubs played in one.

Hence Cubs fans' paranoia. Or, as the team's late, great poet laureate, Steve Goodman, put it in a song called “A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request:" “But what do you expect /
When you raise up a young boys hopes / And then just crush 'em like so many paper beer cups?”

Here's how terrified most Cubs fans are: The Cubs have 27 games left. If they go 13-14, which is quite ordinary and much worse than they have played this season, the only way second-place Milwaukee can beat them is by winning 22 of its final 29 games.* That's certainly possible, but not likely. The Cubs are about as close to a lock as humanly possible — 99.6 percent to make the playoffs, according to people who measure these things.

So here's some advice for Cubs fan from a Cubs fan old enough to remember the Lou Brock-Ernie Broglio trade. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Enjoy this. Who knows? It may be 100 years before it happens again.

*This piece was posted before the end of the contest between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates, so those numbers may need some adjustment depending upon the outcome of that game.

For other pieces on the Chicago Cubs, please see:

(The photo of outfielder Kosuke Fukudome of the Chicago Cubs is by terren_of_Virginia of Richmond, VA via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license. The Cubs resume their series against the Philadelphia Phillies tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 30.)

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