Living in a Baseball Paradise


The Rizz

Anthony Rizzo, definitive NL MVP candidate.


I know how this story ends.

Me. An empty glass on the table. A giant foam finger wilting on the floor.

And another season referred to as ‘lost‘ by sports reporters worldwide.

In case you didn’t know, I’m the world’s biggest Chicago Cubs fan. I bleed Cubbie blue. I live and die with every pitch. I allow my hopes, however small, to flourish in April and rot off the vine always usually by mid-July.

And yet here we are. September. The Cubs are ahead of their rebuilding schedule, or so say most of the pundits. A few weeks ago, they crushed the hometown (I live in Atlanta) Braves in a four-game sweep, outscoring the hapless Bravos 30-14 over the series. They swept the New York Mets 7-0 this year. They’ve improved from mediocre in April/May/June to downright threatening in the NL Central. They have two legitimate NL Rookie of the year candidates (Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber) a serious CY Young threat (Jake Arrieta) and a potential NL MVP winner (Anthony Rizzo.)

It’s been fun.


Jake Arrieta, first to 15 Wins in the NL this year.


Kris Bryant, a bigger success than the Cubs even hoped for.

With the Cubs’ young hitters raking, the starters dealing (mostly) and the bullpen steady-ish, the team feels like an honest challenger to the St. Louis Cardinals…aka: Satan’s Lackeys.

But I’m not gonna hold ’em to it.

Because, like I said, I know how this story ends.

Look. Let’s be honest. Football season is here. Yeah…ok…the Bears suck. And yeah…ok…I should still be riding high after the Chicago Blackhawks 3rd Stanley Cup win in the last decade. Plus I live in the south, where every bar streams football at every hour. So if I wanted to, I could close my eyes to the Cubs and direct my attention to thousands of other sports-related distractions. It’d be easy. I could just tell myself, ‘They’ve got no real shot,’ or ‘They’re gonna get stuck in a one-game Wild-Card playoff and lose 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.’

I could do those things. Nobody could blame me. The guys at ESPN will tally another season of broken dreams (never mind the other 28 teams that’ll fail this year.) Fans will get over it by muttering, ‘Next year they’ll be even better.’ Because that’s the mantra Cubs’ fans use. ‘Next year. Next year. Next year,’ even though no such thing is promised. I mean, just look at the Nationals. Everyone thought this would be the year. Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and crew were supposed to blow everyone away.  And let’s not even talk about the Dodgers, armed with $400-billion dollars and multiple superstars, still losing out to the humble SF Giants, who’ve won 3 of the last 5 World Series’, by the way.

But you know what? I’m not gonna bail. F it. I’m all in.

If the Cubs fall short this year, and they probably will, I’m not gonna worry about next year. I’m gonna trumpet how fun this year has been. I’m gonna fly a Cubs’ banner from my front porch through Thanksgiving. I’m gonna drink my Friday-night bourbon from a crystalline Cubs’ glass. Because let’s face it, every year in every sport, most fans die hard. And by die hard, I’m emphasizing the die. Only 1 of 30 baseball teams tastes glory. Only 1 of 32 in football. And let’s not even talk about basketball, whose champion is decided about 17 years after the playoffs begin, meaning if your team sucks, you get to watch everyone else play forever before the next season begins.

 It’s been a tough year to be a Cubs’ devotee. And for a change it’s not because of their record. No, the hard part is that I have no television on which to watch them. No cable, no satellite, no my-kid-accidentally-ordered-the-MLB-package-so-now-I’m-paying-$250-to-watch-every-fucking-game-on-my-iPad. Last year and every year before it, I consumed every game possible.  I used to race home to catch the 9th inning or stay in on weekends to watch my team lose (again.) But this year, with the Cubs smashing, I’ve watched maybe a dozen games. And naturally, the one game I saw live (Cubs at Braves) turned out to be the only game Chicago lost against Atlanta this year. (They went 6-1 vs the Braves in 2015.)

So it’s true. I haven’t even caught most of the season. Thank gawd for the internet.

So. Yeah. I know how this story ends. I’m sure of it. I’m 100% positive. There’s no doubt. This isn’t the year.

We’ll lose the one-game playoff against Pittsburg.

Or crash and burn against hated St. Louis.

Or find a way to F up against teams we already smashed this year (New York, San Francisco, L.A.)

But it’s ok. At least for this Cubs’ fan. At least for this year. Because knowing the math and the odds are against my team, I’m going to measure success in a new way: If my hometown heroes win more than they lose, I’m gonna pretend this year was a total success. Why not? I mean…seriously. And you’d better believe, after all the years we spent as the Atlanta Braves’ little bitch, I’m gonna soak up beating the crap out of them in 2015. Until April 1st next year, there will be shit-talking. And lots of it.

Hey Chicago, whaddya say? The Cubs are gonna WIN today!

And as a side-note, I’m trying to get my kid into Little League this year. Apparently he wants to play for the Atlanta Batmen. Whatever. At least he’s got his daddy’s arm. And at least he finally declared, Daddy, the Cubs are the GOOD guys!


Sigh. If only he were a lefty.

Ok. I promise; no more sports articles this year.

Unless the Bears are good, which they won’t be.

See ya,

J Edward Neill

Coffee Table Philosopher