The Cubs are not going to the World Series. I read somewhere that acceptance is the first step to recovery… or dealing with grief, or something. Whatever it is, you need acceptance. So I accept the fact that the Cubs are not going to the World Series. I also accept the fact that they were 5 outs away. 5 outs. In a given season, you have to get about 4212 outs. (There are 162 games. Assume half of the games are away, and less than half of those games you are down in the 9th, and therefore don’t have to get the last 3 outs. Factor in also the number of outs you get that don’t count due to a past ball on a strikeout or something, and you end up with an average of 26 outs per game, I’ve decided. 162 x 26 = 4212.) Add to that the outs in the division series and the league championship series, and you’ve got (27 * 5) + (27 * 5) = 270. So we’re at 4482. Add to that the 22 outs we had on Tuesday night, and we’re at 4504. We got 4504 outs… and we were 5 outs away… and we didn’t get it done. We came very, very close.
Blaming that one fan is dumb. I blame giving up too many runs, and then not scoring nearly as many. That seem to hurt us more in the long run.
So there we have it. The Cubs are done for the year. And I am sad. I’m not mad, really… and my disappointment has to be understood in the context of being extremely pleased and thankful that the Cubs had such a great season. I’ve followed the Cubs a long time, and I haven’t been this excited about them since Will Clark decided to send them home back in 1989…. and I was young and naive then, thinking this kind of thing happened quite a bit. I was older, wiser, and far more cynical this time, and yet I was really into the Cubs all year. It was a hell of a season, and I guess I’d be mad at myself if I was too disappointed now that it’s done.
But I am sad my Cubs are done. I really wanted them to win, and I really believed that they would. I was excited… and I tend not to get too excited about things [anything] these days, cause … well… it just hasn’t panned out so many times now that it hurts to get excited about things. And then this week, a funny thing happened. Perspective set in. Assuming for a second that baseball teams are powered by a combination of skill, determination, and luck, and not purely by the amount of enthusiasm and allegiance that I, Ron Veenstra, show them a given game or season, I really had nothing to do with their season one way or another. Assuming also that I don’t have a horrible gambling problem, and did not bet a large portion of my savings on the Cubs going to the World Series, I lost very little by the Cubs not winning… save for some reasons to celebrate. I’ll add to that the fact that the Cubs ending their season this week wasn’t even in the top 3 of problems or situations that demand my attention or concern this week, and suddenly, life seems a bit less dreery… Cub-related life, anyway. So what does this nonsensical rambling have to do with anything? I don’t know. Part of me is embarrassed at just how sad I became Wednesday night… I’ll admit I drank quite a bit, and that may have helped amplify my feelings… But as Mark wisely explained Tuesday night at the Pick (in response to some concern over my relatively calm demeanor despite the complete collapse of a certain victory in game 6), “..the sun will continue to rise.. We’ll go in to work, and life will continue.” So I guess I just wanted to say this:
Dear Chicago Cubs,
Thank you for a terrific season. I really enjoyed watching you play. You have been, and shall forever be, my favorite team to cheer for. Good luck next year.
Oh yeah… and “Dear Florida Marlins. The next time I flick you off, it’ll be with both hands. One for ’97, and one for ’03. I hate you all.”
Dear Fox announcers: Nobody likes you. Please die.