The Cubs haven't won the World Series in 100 years. You may have heard this a few times already in 2008. And if you haven't yet, you will probably grow tired of hearing about it three innings into their first playoff game against the Dodgers.
The Cubs haven't even been to the Fall Classic since 1945, but there is a growing feeling on the North Side that at least one of those droughts will end this year.
Now we know who stands in their way. The aforementioned Dodgers, the Brewers and the Phillies represent major obstacles to Chicago. The funny thing about all three of those clubs is that, to varying degrees, they can all be characterized as losers too.
Oh, they aren't "lovable" like the ones in Wrigleyville. Now that the Red Sox and White Sox have won titles recently, the Cubs linger as the final franchise that's been seeking the promised land since before World War II. They'll most certainly be a sentimental favorite nationwide.
But don't let the Cubs' quest for baseball's Holy Grail blind you. They aren't the only team in the Senior Circuit with a chance to erase some frustrating history this October.
Consider the Dodgers, the team Chicago will tangle with in the NLDS. It's been 20 years since Kirk Gibson's home run off of Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series -- two decades and four presidents since Jack Buck couldn't believe what he just saw. Los Angeles has won exactly one playoff game since that Series -- a complete game shutout by Jose Lima of all people in Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS against the Cardinals.
They've been to the playoffs four times in the wild-card era and have yet to make it out of the first round. The Dodgers have a long history of success -- six championships and 21 pennants -- but they haven't had much lately.
Or how about the Brewers? Unlike the Cubs, Milwaukee has never won a World Series. The NL wild-card winner last appeared in the playoffs in 1982. They were in the American League back then and the No. 1 song in the country was 'Jack and Diane' by John Cougar (sans Mellencamp).
They've had just seven winning seasons in the 26 years since their last playoff appearance and 2008 was their first 90-win campaign since 1992.
Finally, there are the Phillies. The Fightin's were founded way back in 1883. It took them 97 years just to win their first World Series. They've won five pennants, but it's been 15 years since they last appeared in a Fall Classic. They lost there in heartbreaking fashion. Joe Carter. Mitch Williams. You know the story. It's beamed into your living room every October in commercials and highlight shows.
Just last year, the Phillies became the first team in professional sports history to lose 10,000 games. They also won the NL East, but were quickly swept out of October by the Rockies. Several Philadelphia players made a point of talking about unfinished business after clinching the division Saturday. Not a bad move, considering the town they call home.
The City of Brotherly Love is hardly that when it comes to their sports teams, and that's because of all of them -- not just the Phillies -- struggle to deliver championships.
Cubs fans have angst. Philly fans are just angry. Supporters of all four NL playoff teams are starved for success. Don't let anyone in Chicago tell you they've monopolized the market on baseball heartache.