Most times, I arrive here on Sunday morning and no matter how bleary eyed I am (usually quite) I have some idea of what I want to write here. Sometimes I don't, and I just start and see where it goes. This is one of those times. Because there really isn't anything I can add at this point. There is nothing I can say that I haven't thought before, such as it were.
There is some confusion on this last day of the season. Sure, the Cubs have something to play for, but I don't get the impression Cubs fans, at least those not guaranteed to attend Wednesday, really care where that game is played. We'll throw out Jake Arrieta anywhere and feel pretty confident. It's just the inherent looniness that 162 games is going to come down to just one more.
And I think that's where this unsettledness, if that's a word and it apparently is because it didn't get a red underline, stems from. I don't know what to feel today. It could be the launching point for a month-long run (it really could). It could be the second to last game we get to watch this season. We've waited for this week for months now, and it could be over before we blink. Or it would just be a small part of a much larger picture. We don't have any idea. By the time I come back here next week the season could have been over for days. Or we'll be anxiously awaiting Game 3.
Maybe it's a blessing. The last two Cubs' playoff appearances were over so quickly that perhaps it's best to cram all that angst into just one night. But if they survive that... well, the Cubs will actually win one game in the division series at least this time, right? Lester and/or Arrieta would have to assure that.
The wild card game has at least shielded us from thinking about what absolute torture a series against the Cardinals would be, and all the narratives that would come with it. Thankfully, even if the Cubs win on Wednesday we'll only get one day to work ourselves into proper terror sweat over what comes next. No matter how that goes it'll be the worst few days of our lives.
But mostly, I get the impression that most fans don't want to even think about Wednesday too much. And not because of the Pirates or Gerrit Cole or the amount of random things that could happen that could see the Cubs lose. From what I can tell, most everyone thinks this is the most fun Cubs team they've ever followed. I know it is for me. And as many others have said, it probably won't be like this again once the weight of expectations is added starting next season. This is strings-free fun, and we all just want to bask in it as long as we can. It seriously may never me like this in any of our lifetimes. For the next seven or eight or more seasons, every one will pretty much be title-or-bust. The head-rubbing, the pajama parties, the disco club, Starlin's walk-up music, the Bryant bombs, all of it... it won't seem so cute and funny after this season. It still will be entertaining, but it won't be quite the party.
Almost feels like that last, really good high school party before you all leave for college. All your friends are there, everyone's having a blast, maybe you even get to make out with that girl you've been chasing for years. It's 4am but you don't want to go anywhere until it's time to watch the sun rise. But in the back of your mind, you know that once this is over, pretty much everything changes. And though you'll remain friends and you'll remember all this forever, a lot more is going to come with it. Distance, money, new relationships, jobs, it's all going to alter the simple fun you're having right now.
Well, it's 3AM in this Cubs season. But I'm not ready to put the closing music on just yet. There has to be time for another drink or two, right? Maybe a dance? We can still make it to sunrise, can't we? If it's not going to be like this ever again, then let's have it go as long as we can. College, life, work... all that can wait. There's a Zeppelin song we really need to hear right now.
(Yes, Zeppelin was a key part of my high school partying experience. You don't like it, stuff it.)