It sounds strange, I didn't even really think about it until last night, but we are closer to spring training now than we are from our championship night. That was over two months ago, and we're only six weeks from pitchers and catchers (can you believe it?) I suppose that's another surprise of having our first World Series winner on this side of town in a century-plus, just how short the offseason is. You'll blink, and your "Champions" gear will still have that "new" smell, and suddenly we'll be getting updates from Mesa and John will be setting up a tent and cot along the back field of Sloan Park (yes I know that John lives in Mesa but I figure he's still setting up shop because that's funny to me).
It makes it funny that they'll jam the convention in next weekend, because it's like, "Guys, we just saw you, and we're going to see you soon anyway." Not that it won't be a total mess, as the convention tends to be.
You get reminders all the time, like last night thanks to the continued incompetence of the Detroit Lions, where NBC felt the need to remind us who had the longest championship droughts in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. For all our lives the Cubs were on the graphic, top of the list, and usually drawing a chuckle from the announcers. Now they're not. They're not even mentioned. All yours, Cleveland.
It's that silence I've looked forward to for so long. No random mentions of "THE DROUGHT" on whatever I'm watching. No seeing the numbers 1,9,0,8 in some combination anywhere and being reminded. Washed away. Don't have to see it again. It's someone else's problem now.
I was in LA for Christmas, as some of you saw. I hadn't seen my friends out there, for the most part, since November 2nd. It was the first thing they all asked me about. You've probably gone through this yourself with relatives or friends out of town. It's like we've come from some mythical place. Two friends I have there who have to come here in February for a wedding were talking about how they'll head to Wrigley straight from the airport just to see the marquee.
It's stuff like that that makes it even better than we thought it would be. The things we didn't think about before. Just seeing a hat or shirt on a stranger on the street. "Hey, that's us!" They're everywhere, of course. I don't even want to think about how much money MLB and the Cubs made off swag. Not that it isn't earned.
And soon it'll be The Defense. Mere days after the Super Bowl, we'll see videos of gloves popping and pitchers stretching and Jason Heyward's swing for that week. Maybe there'll be another February Surprise, though I don't see what it would be. Trade, signing, we'll see I guess.
Almost feels like it's going by too fast, doesn't it? There hasn't been enough soaking in it time. I still see Bryant's smile so clearly. And pretty soon he'll be taking batting practice again. Everyone else is going to be so sick of us before the season even starts. That might be the best part.
I guess the fear I've seen from others is that when the 2017 season feels in full swing, whether that's spring training for you or Opening Day, that it will be over. The best moment of our lives, and now what? But it doesn't work like that. Whatever happens over the next few years, you'll look back on as one block of time. Whether that's one or two or more championships. Or none. It's going to be a whole era. I doubt they'll be the '85 Bears.
But it is time to look forward, just a bit. We just carry what's behind us with us for eternity.