I've gotten quite a few touching e-mails since the season ended. Here are three of my favorites...
This one is from Reed...
There have long been T-shirts reading, "Baseball is life. The rest is just details." I think baseball was first with this often-copied refrain, and there is reason for it. Other sports are posers. Baseball is a metaphor for life, and it's why the game has such a strong hold on so many of us. You are teaching your kids well by helping them to love the game. (Rick's note: Reed is referring to my piece about raising my boys to be Cubs fans.)
Baseball starts in the spring, our world's time of new growth, hope, and a full future. It is a grind, played day after day, like life itself. There are good days and bad. For six months every year, it is always there, a friend ready to engage us. It teaches loyalty. It rewards perseverence. It is unchanging, a link to our past, which has been lost in so many other ways.
Then, like life, it ends. For most of us, it ends in resignation that those dreams were never close to coming true. For some, it ends in heartbreak. Only a few reach the mountaintop, but even for them, it ends. The flowers fade. The leaves fall. Your friend, so omipresent for so long, has gone. The winter is cold, dark, and empty.
That's when only our belief that spring will come again carries us forward. That the world will bloom again, that the days will be warm, that there is promise in next season.
I believe that it's not whether you win or lose. It's that you played.
This one is from Andy...
I surrender. I give up. My white flag is flying. I now concede that the Cubs will never win a championship in my lifetime. Game 2's second inning summed it all up for me, and made it clear. No matter how good a team they are, they will never be able to put it all together. My beloved Cubbies will never "drink from the chalice of champions."
And there's no Bartman to blame this year. No black cat. No Leon Durham or Steve Garvey. And really, no billy goat. They just stare in the face of 100 years of futility and play not to lose, rather than to win, and that is a recipe for disaster.
Don't get me wrong, I still love them. And I won't be getting rid of my Cubs gear, taking down the pictures of Wrigley in my office, renaming my dog or taking a piece of sandpaper to my shoulder. I'll still root for them. And next March I'll think, somewhere in my head, "maybe THIS is the year." But deep down I'll know.
This is from Gary...
So, here we go again:
It's deathly quiet in Cubbyville, USA. The air is thick with gloom and doom. Brush in hand, the Joker with his satanic Jack Nicholson smile is painting the town --- Black. And Batman, like Cubs hitters, is nowhere in sight.
True Cubs fans know about "The Curse." But during the regular season they were prone not to mention it for fear of it continuing. But just before the NLCS Cubs management made a bold move to address the issue without using the word "Curse". A Priest was brought to Wrigley. He blessed the stadium and sprinkled holy water throughout the Cubs dugout.
But, to no avail. "The Curse" continues.
But by next April this will have dimmed and the die-hards will be telling anyone who will listen: "Hey, any team can have a bad millennium."