The year was 1984. It was September. The Cubs had a 9 ½-games lead over the New York Mets; their magic number was down to five with a four-game homestead ahead. But on Sept. 16, the Mets beat the Cubs, who were then swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates (which made that wild card win last week that allowed the Cubs to advance all the more satisfying).
Next up: the Cardinals in St. Louis for a three-game weekend series. Conceivably, they could have clinched it on Saturday, and so, with friends, I made the drive down I-55 to St. Louis to be there for the celebration. We honked and waved at the caravan of fellow travelers making the pilgrimage. Alas, they lost Friday. And then came the rain, and the game was called. Throngs of Cubs fans gathered in a hotel lobby to vent. I was complaining that they could have gotten the game in and that it should not have been called.
An elderly man within earshot turned to me and said, “It’s obvious you haven’t been a Cubs fan very long.” “Why do you say that?” I asked. His reply: “Because you have no patience.”
I thought of this invaluable piece of advice last night when the Cubs clinched the NLCS
I predicted two years ago that the Cubs would be where they are this very day—in the postseason for the first time since 2008. I didn’t know if it would be last season or this season, but I knew for certain that the Cubs would be serious World Series contenders. That’s because two years ago, after some 25 years, my wife and I canceled our season tickets, thus guaranteeing it would be a short matter of time before the Cubs organization at last turned it around.
And now the Cubs have advanced to the NL championship to play either the Mets or the Los Angeles Dodgers, currently tied at two-games apiece. How sweet that they got to this point by defeating their most hated rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. And sweeter still that they beat the Cardinals at home, Wrigley Field; an unprecedented postseason feat for this hapless team who are more than a century without a World Series win
It’s far from over, but already fans and pundits are setting up a rematch against the almost equally hated New York Mets, who won the National League pennant in 1969, which was supposed to be the Cubs’ year before their epochal collapse. Or they are speculating whom they will play on the AL side.
When it comes to the Cubs, looking ahead is a rookie mistake. And so to fans carrying signs proclaiming “This is the year” or “No More Next Year, to out of town Facebook friends inquiring about World Series tickets, and to all those looking beyond the next best of seven series, I have just one word: