Sunday, June 13, 2010

Maybe We're the Problem

Hey, don't blame me. That's Pogo talkin'.
I haven't performed a psychiatric evaluation on baseball fans across the country, but if I did I'd expect the results to show that Washington Nationals fans are among the happiest in all the land. Yes, the Nationals are in last place (despite being 2.5 games ahead of the 3rd place Cubs . . . divisions are stupid). But fans of the Nats are excited to have the most electric pitching prospect to reach the majors since . . . well, you know.

Cubs fans know what it's like to be excited about a rookie pitcher (or two) with all-ever stuff and intergalactic potential and to be buoyed by the hope their rocket arms bring. We're also looking at those hopes in the rear-view mirror. The team we're looking at now inspires all the hope of a neoplastic skin lesion.

Looking back to the era of Prior and Wood leaves us with nothing but what if's and if only's, which aren't in the least bit comforting, and the mourner's favorite question: Why? We look for people to blame. Dusty Baker. Lou Piniella. Jim Hendry. Wood and Prior themselves. Steve Stone. Bartman, the goat, God, or anyone who believes in any of that. But what if we're to blame?

Maybe fan expectations caused Wood to falter and Prior to deteriorate. Maybe large attendance turns good teams into bad ones. Maybe it's bad luck to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," when Jim Belushi tells you to. It's quite possible that latent racism lowers outfielder slugging percentage. Reading anything Pepin le Bref writes in the Chicago Tribune may induce fail-wreaking karma upon your favorite baseball team. Buying that Cubs' jersey has been known to cause groin injuries . . . or it could be.

I don't know. All I know is, the Cubs seemed doomed to fail no matter who trots out onto the field. The only constant I can see across the years is . . . us. So over the course of this week, I'll be exploring all the different ways that being a Cubs fan hurts the team's chances. Should be fun.
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