To mark the momentous occasion that is the 2008 Playoffs we asked a couple of esteemed guest writers to talk about their favorite team's chances this postseason. We start it off with one of our closest baseball buddies, Kevin Kaduk of the juggernaut that is Big League Stew.
Ladies and gentlemen of Walkoff Walk, if I were to preview the Cubs' World Series chances here in a few words, it would be with the simple text I received from a Brewers fan after his trip to Wrigley earlier this season.
"You son of a bitch. Even your shitty players are good."
Very succinct, yes, considering it targets guys like Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot.
In fact, I'd challenge anyone to find 11 better words to describe the '08 Cubs.
But since I don't think that Rob and CTC want me to email this in like they do their day jobs -- hey, those guys post more on WoW than a Twittering twelve-year-old on Rockstar Energy drink -- allow me to expound on the first five things that come to mind regarding the glorious month that awaits Lou Piniella and His Merry Band of 100-Year Drought Breakers:
1)There is no such thing as The Billy Goat Curse: Oh, I'm sure Jeannie Z. and Joe B. will try to convince you otherwise on no less than 300 occasions during FOX's coverage, but the truth is that everyone with a brain here in Wrigleyville moved past that garbage once Lou came in and shot us a look that said, "Do I look like the type of guy who'd participate in such nonsense? You cut that crap right now or I'll give this job right back to Dusty Baker."
(Actually, I think the look said, "What did you just say? The Purse of the Moat? Ah, hell, what time is dinner?" but I don't think Lou would have approved even if he had heard correctly. Anyway, the Curse is gone. Please join me in plugging your ears and humming any time it is brought up.)
2) 3) 4) 5)
2)"It's Gonna Happen" is NOT the official team slogan: You've probably seen this infernal sign a few times through the year. Hell, Sports Illustrated keeps insisting on putting it in the pages of its magazine and even though I chastised one of their editors at the All-Star Game for doing so, it again turned up in the pages of that boring Gary Smith bleachers piece. But to set the record straight one more time: No self-respecting Cubs fan likes that slogan even a little bit. It was made up by that clown who charged Randy Myers back in '95. It failed in Boston and has now somehow survived almost two seasons at Wrigley Field, pissing me off any time I see it with its grammatical carelessness. If I ever meet that guy, I'm GONNA punch him.
3)The players are the main story, not the fans: I realize that sounds weird from someone who cashed a few checks from writing a book about being a Cubs fan, but as the postseason wears on, I'm hoping that the guys on the field get their fair share of credit for putting together one helluva season in the face of injuries to star players, a subpar season from Derrek Lee and the pressure of high expectations. Oh, we're sure to hear all about the 99-year-old women who were born the day of the last Cubs' title win and about the couple who traded two of their children for a pair to Game Three, but in the end it will be the players who achieve this feat, not the collective nobility and perseverance of our fan base.
4)A National League win in the All-Star Game would've been nice: I know that we're jumping to a lot of conclusions here in Chicago about the World Series, but the best record in the National League -- only the Phillies scare me more than a little bit -- should be enough for us to look a little ahead. That said, wouldn't it have been cool to see Wrigley Field glowing on the first pitch of a World Series? Instead, thanks to the AL win at Yankee Stadium, we're likely going to have to suffer through two games at the drab Trop before kicking off the party back here in the Chi. The only salvation? Opening up at Fenway.
5)In a way, it feels like the Cubs season starts on Wednesday. In my quarter-century or so of following the Cubs, I can safely say I've never been through an easier season this one. The Cubs have held a share of first place since May 11 and a postseason appearance always seemed inevitable. Even when they tanked a bit in September, I never got all that worried, because this season was always about what was going to happen in October. The Cubs now have the best team on the field in my lifetime and it's time for them to prove it. The biggest challenge of '08 is finally here.
Am I nervous? Oh, hell yes, it's the Cubs.
But they've got the guns to do it.
But they're not GONNA do it.
They WILL do it.