A lot has changed since we met.
It was 1987. Wrigley Field didn't have lights. The only people who watched your games on the rooftop were construction workers making repairs to the aged buildings.
I was happy with you as a last place team. You were so cute and apologetic. Your grass was always cut so perfectly. You even kept ivy on the walls to invite me in every spring. I even remember you went through two managers that year before hiring a third in early 1988. But that didn't change anything. Your home was so comforting and your positive attitude in tough times made you endearing.
It's just...I don't feel the same way anymore...and as I look back, I think I can see what happened.
Remember when you finally decided to go out and get lights in 1988? I thought to myself, 'this guy is changing! He's going to make something of himself!' All of the new money we'd make as a couple...we could go out and make changes...maybe some new renovations to our home.
Then 1989 happened.
We hit the jackpot with a young group of guys. Suicide squeezes won games, relief pitchers were hitting game winning doubles, double steals caught pitchers off guard, comebacks were the norm...and we did it all with a roster of men almost completely under 25.
It may have been the worst thing to happen to you for the next 13 years.
You thought you could copy that: making money off the fans, pinning hopes on young talent, and shrugging your shoulders when the cards didn't turn up right.
I had almost called you off. I dealt with losing our first 12 games at home in 1994. I walked with you when you lost your first 14 in 1997. I knew that you had something...the breaks had to turn the other way.
That's when our home exploded. Our good friend Sammy was belting balls out of the park at a record pace, our team was winning games in the final at bat, and this new young phenom named Kerry was setting rookie pitching records.
We got back to the playoffs!
And we welcomed in all of the new yuppies. We thought it was good for business. Sure, we let them infiltrate starting back in the mid 80's, but this time we went out and actively pursued them.
You got so full of yourself then. You saw how our new fans would still show up when Sammy was belting balls out of the park...it didn't matter if we won 90 or lost 90.
I was about to leave...again.
I made an ultimatum: Either try to win now or I'm taking the kids!
All of a sudden, you got Ramirez and Lofton for nothing. Wood and Prior were healthy. Remember when you held me after Game 4 of the NLCS and told me that 'this is our destiny...we were meant for each other' and 'you will be rewarded for staying with me.'
I know you tried. I wasn't upset. I know that losing that series wasn't your fault. You didn't commit the errors. It wasn't you who didn't console Prior after the Bartman play.
To tell you the truth, I wasn' t upset...I felt sorry for you. I know how much it meant to you. I spent 45 minutes kicking around a cigarette box trying to collect my thoughts.
When you tried extra hard to win in 2004 by getting Maddux, Walker, Garciaparra, Lee, and Hawkins...I thought it was endearing.
But by that time I knew who you were; a loser. A loser who could never win.
You might wonder why I didn't leave after making that realization in 2004.
Well, the truth is, I had nowhere to go.
I wasn't going to leave you for your hated stepbrother; the White Sox.
I wasn't going to leave you for your despised mother-in-law (Cardinals), your drunk uncle (Brewers), or your cute cousin (Pirates).
I was just going to sit here and wait. No sense in changing.
That's when I started to not care.
I started writing more: plays, commercials, comedy sketches, blog-writing, etc. I even started spending more time with my wife.
And guess what? I didn't miss you.
I felt sorry for you when the White Sox and Cardinals won in back-to-back years, but I had come to expect it. I always expect the worst from you...that way I'm not let down.
My bottom was in 2008. You got all excited about your league best 97 wins. You kept asking me why I wasn't excited...and I didn't have the heart to tell you.
A born loser loses. And you, my friend, are a born loser.
So, when you got swept by LA I barely blinked.
Lately, I've been spending time with my son. He's beautiful. We go for long walks. Just Jack (that's his name), Mollie, and me. We talk about work, life, art. It's really fulfilling. I almost forgot about you one day...actually...I lied...I forgot about you for a couple weeks.
Then, last week, I turned you on to see how you were doing. Once again, you were losing. But not just losing. You were making errors all over the field, deciding to not start young superstars, and making asinine mid-inning batting substitutions. The whole thing made me depressed.
You wouldn't even believe what I've been watching lately...soccer. That's right. I'm choosing soccer over you on a daily basis.
Did you know how good soccer looks in HD? It's mesmerizing! I even have teams that I like and dislike. I'm really into this!
You're probably wondering how I could've left you for a game I despised just 10 years ago. The truth is, you aren't the cute loveable team I grew up with. Now, you're just pathetic.
You wear those pinstriped jerseys that just scream 'loser'! Your jerseys now have names on the back. When we were the closest in our relationship, you wouldn't dare do such a thing. But now, you have 35,000 casual fans that show up every day and none of them know who the players are.
Back then, we didn't need numbers. We knew who everybody was.
Now, we're just like Angels fans.
Showing up in the 3rd, leaving in the 8th. Drinking our beer and making lewd comments to any woman showing the slightest of skin.
You're just a frat party. Only now, you're just an old frat party with clueless fans and old degenerates.
That's why I have to leave you. We're not the same people.
This past month, I saw what a real champion looks like. They left their hearts out on the ice. They fought for every possession. They didn't make excuses.
So cohesive, so dedicated, so smart.
Everything that you're not.
You don't have to wonder why the empty seats are starting to emerge in the corners of the stadium...truth is...we forgot what a champion looks like.
And champs make you looks like chumps.
This might be hard for you...but it isn't for me.
In the words of Humphrey Bogart..."We'll always have Sandberg."
Now, pardon me, I have some soccer to watch.
p.s. For the kids, could you please start Colvin every day? You're killing every kid under 13 in the Chicagoland area. Please dress him...for the kids.