Sunday, October 5, 2008

The root of the Cubs' heartbreak?

People want to know why.

After winning 97 games this year and with 100 years of futility staring directly at them, how could the Cubs get swept by the Dodgers.

It's simple.

All you fans out there have nobody to blame but yourself.

I know, pretty strong words. And how can I mean that?

After all, it is the Cubs' 25-man playoff roster who "choked" right? These are the guys who didn't perform, stopped hitting, forgot how to field, couldn't find the strike zone with a GPS.

Well, yeah. But that's just the root of the cause.

Hear me out.

I've had a full 24 hours to digest this and I can only come to one logical explanation: There was too much pressure.

Expectations are a funny thing. Take a frozen pizza. How many times have you popped one in the oven, expecting something barely edible, but instead, after taking a couple bites tell yourself, "you know, this ain't half bad."

The 2003 Cubs were a frozen pizza.

Nobody expecting much of anything out of them and then behind Mark Prior and Kerry Wood they came five outs away from the World Series. The were nearly a Tombstone supreme.

This year, since the first optimistic day in Mesa, Ariz., so much was made of the 100-year drought and how THIS was the year. But then you would hear about the billy goat. The black cat. The ground ball to Leon Durham. Steve Bartman.

If you believe in all that stuff, more power to you, but I don't think any of that had a shred of influence on the Cubs' pathetic display this week.

They simply were trying too hard to live up to the grand expectations everyone – and not just the city of Chicago – but the entire sports media branded on them before the playoffs began.

They had the best starting pitching in baseball. One of the top bullpens. Steady lineup. No easy outs from top to bottom. Experienced manager.

All that was true.

But in the end, it may have been just the opposite of what has done in the Cubs countless other times this past century.

Instead of everyone thinking of them as lovable losers, they were unbeatable winners who would end decades of frustrations with a World Series Championship and a celebration like no one has seen since man first stepped on the moon.

One of these years the Cubs will take that one small step ... and one giant leap for Wrigley Kind.

But it'll be when you – and the Cub Nation – least expect it.

Let's hope it's soon.

"Nooooooooooooooooooo! ... I simply can't believe it!"

Ron Santo can only take so much.


Chris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.