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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cubs@100

Tinker to Evers to Chance. The Homer in the Gloamin'. Let's play two. Three Finger, Gabby, Swish, Leo the Lip, Slammin' Sammy.
The black cat.
Leon Durham.
Bartman.
At one time, the Chicago Cubs were baseball's preeminent franchise. Of course, that goes back just a few years. The 1906 club won a record 116 games. The Cubs won the World Series in 1907 and 1908. And then came 99 seasons of heartbreak and futility, misery and hope, bad players and bad luck. Somewhere in there, the Cubs became America's lovable losers. (Maybe more losers than lovable.) (ESPN: The Cubs: 99 years of misery.)

Year by year, decade by decade, ESPN takes a long, hard, and sometimes grueling, look at one of the worst (or best, depending who you root for) losing streaks in baseball. Checking in with 1983, the last year I went to a Cubs game:

On April 29, Lee Smith's wild pitch brings home Ken Landreaux with the go-ahead run for L.A., dropping the Cubs to 5-14 and sparking one of the great moments in baseball history: Lee Elia's 448-word, 39-profanity tirade, highlighted by "Eighty-five percent of the people in this country work and the other 15 percent come out here and boo my players." The Cubs lose 91 games; by August, Elia is one of those 15 percent who don't work.

Yeah, that was lovable. I don't think I was at that particular game, though.

Tomorrow is Cubs opening day . Will they continue their losing streak? Or, will 100 be their lucky number? The pressure is on. Don't be nervous. Stay focused. Watch the swagger. And, good luck.

Posted by Marie at March 30, 2008 12:40 PM

Comments

Good Luck to the Cubs this season ... cept when they play the Cards. :)

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at March 30, 2008 6:41 PM

I can't help but wish nothing but the worst for the Cubs.

I am a bad person. But I'm OK with it.

Posted by: Anonymous Communist at March 30, 2008 11:36 PM

You think you're a recovering Cubs fan but realize you aren't when somebody says, "Good luck, except when playing St. Louis," and you get your back up.

Every Cubs fan has their own private collections of joys and sorrows, and I'll bet for most of us there are as many of the former as the latter. Not that that makes you feel any better. I detest the media-led wallowing in the "lovable loser" tradition, though; almost as much as I detest a baseball culture that has turned Wrigley Field into a theme park and fills the place regardless of how ridiculously expensive the seats are and how ridiculously uninspired the play of the home side is. Go home, tourists. Go home, stupid "lovable losers" fans. Go home, out-of-town media. Let the Cubs play in front of a three-quarters empty park, the way lousy teams all used to.

Posted by: Dan at April 1, 2008 6:36 PM