Hey, I'm as panicked as anyone else. I had to get counseling via gchat last night from a Red Sox fan, our MLB editor Andrew Johnson. We did discuss, at length, one simple reality ... for a die-hard fan, losing in baseball sucks far more than in other sports.
For six months of your year, you live and breathe baseball. The games aren't just once a week like in football, or even three to four times a week as in basketball. Nope, baseball is almost every single day throughout half of every year. Andrew made an apt comparison ... the difference between your favorite baseball team and your favorite football team is like the difference between immediate family and your weekend friends. He's right. I live with the Cubs every day, and I have for nearly half of my life. I see the Bears once a week for each season. The Cubs are my family, while the Bears are my friend.
With this in mind, fellow Cubs die-hards, let's not give up on our family just yet. I'm here to breathe some optimism back into Cubs nation.
I'm not saying I necessarily believe it's going to happen this way, and I'm certainly not predicting it ... I'm just saying these are some reasons why we shouldn't quit on the team just yet.
- The offense finally began to look alive and strung some hits together last night late. The game was already over and the pressure was off, sure, but this had to give some of the hitters some much lacking confidence. A few guys individually left with a positive outcome.
- The Dodgers think it's over. While I doubt Joe Torre allows them to believe this, they have a group full of kids who have never done (other than Manny Ramirez and Greg Maddux, of course) much in the postseason. They just took two in Wrigley and are surely enjoying their day off right now. Game 3 is the perfect time to sneak up on them.
And finally ...
There is no such thing as a curse. There is, however, significant baggage these players are carrying right now. It was evident in the panic play by Mark DeRosa in the 2nd inning last night. DeRosa's a guy that loves the fans and is equally loved by us in return. When he bobbled that ball, you could see the sheer panic as he desperately flipped the ball to second base, trying to still get the double play. He should have taken the out at first base, and he knows that. The issue, though, was that unless the Cubs turned a double play the Dodgers would take a 1-0 lead. His panic was a microcosm for the entire team and fan-base last night. We can't let a run score. We can't lose tonight.
It got much uglier, by both the players and the fans. Look, these guys are human beings, and they don't want to let down the loyal legions of real fans -- which does not include fair weather fans or people just going to the game to party.
With all this in mind, going on the road now is a good thing. The guys need to get away from the pressure. The home fans wouldn't help them right now, in fact, being at home hurt the team last night. From Ryan Theriot trying to bare hand a ball he should have gloved to Geovany Soto pulling a Rube Baker to Derrek Lee being terrified to do anything well ... they were suffocating under the pressure. It was really no different than Dempster walking seven freaking guys the previous night.
You get a couple road wins and that goes away before Game 5.
Keep the faith. There's no reason to give up until the season really is over.