One Last Time
Usually I have a policy of never writing in the moment. That taking some time to gain some perspective is the proper course. But sometimes you need some catharsis.
Here’s the thing. Starting next year, every season until like, Anthony Rizzo retires is going to be title-or-bust. Every season is going to be defined by its end. Not that anything that happens in the regular season won’t matter, but it will be defined by how it ends. We’ve talked about this before. I went through it with the Hawks, and got lucky enough that they won in their first title-or-bust season in 2010.
That wasn’t this season. This season has basically been pure, unadulterated joy since what… Fowler’s homer in Colorado? There didn’t have to be context. We all got lost in the moment. It was pure adrenaline all year. Or pure ecstasy. Or both. Whatever it was, it was straight to the vein. I don’t even remember worrying about this team at all, even when they got swept by the Phillies. Or when they fell 2.5 games behind the Giants for the wild card. They corrected that so quickly I can barely remember how I felt. Every game was a party. And it almost certainly won’t be like that again.
Now it feels like this season could be defined by its ending. Maybe it should. I don’t want to delve into usual Cubs fan bullshit, like “a year ahead of schedule” when looking at the Mets. I don’t want to just say, “but this season was so much fun so it’s ok!” Right now, that doesn’t feel right. I don’t want to blame the umps or luck or whatever else. The Cubs haven’t hit, they’ve made some defensive errors. But it’s playoff baseball, it doesn’t have to make sense and rarely doesn’t. Were any of the three Giants teams to win a World Series the best team in the league that year? Almost decidedly not. Their roll came up sevens three times. The Cubs just haven’t played well for three games. And the Mets have. It seems pretty simple when you look at it.
But now… all I ask if for that fun just one more time. A representative performance. Just one game where I feel what I did April through the final out against St. Louis. One last pure enjoyment just for the sake of it. Hey, maybe they get that one. I have tickets to Game 5, and maybe I get to go to Wrigley one last time and enjoy it and not have to worry about the context, which I will assuredly do on every trip next season and the ones beyond. Maybe they’ll get that one too. Maybe Jake Arrieta can cough up one more dominating performance out of a tired arm to make it real interesting. Maybe none of it will happen.
Believe me when I tell you this isn’t some post to say, “It isn’t so bad and look at all they’ve done!” They got here, and these chances are never guaranteed and to toss this one away on a couple of stupid mistakes hurts. The Cubs don’t have to be here. But they are. And to do it against another flawed team makes it sucks more, especially when that one comes from New York. The winter will be colder if it ends like this. The anticipation for 2016 will be killer. It was before 2004. And that season sucked. Maybe next year will too. Maybe it will until the end.
Just one last time tomorrow night, I want to remember all that 2015 was. We shouldn’t lose that. It’ll pass in whatever the seasons to come bring. In four or five years you might not remember much from this one, however they go. Do Bulls fans remember anything from pre 1992? Or Bears fans 1984? Or Hawks fans about the ’08-’09 season? Maybe some things, but not all.
Just one last time, Cubs. Just one last reminder of what this season was before we move on to a new stage where it won’t be so fresh and surprising. We’re all ready for that, and we’ll take it when it gets here. But I’d like to stay here just a little longer, even if it’s for only one night. One more time rubbing our heads. One more time clapping along to Starlin’s walk-up music. One more time doing a Strop fist pump. Running around your apartment like Strop following Bryant to home plate. All the rest.
Just one more night.