Perhaps I'm just a glutton for punishment. Maybe I simply live in a dream world. I actually thought that yesterday's home opener on such a sunny yet windy day, would produce a win. Call me crazy.
It was my 25th wedding anniversary and I thought it would be a beautiful day for a ball game. Two of my most beloved things: my husband and my Cubbies. It was going to be a winning combination. Apparently the other 41,176 people that were there were also thinking the same thing - that we would all walk away happy, smiling and with hope in our hearts. Right.
As I approached Wrigley I got the usual feeling I always do: euphoria. There's just something about that place. However, therein lies one of the biggest problems. People will fill that park no matter how awful the team plays. I watched many elderly people fill the park. Oh how bad I felt for them. I have had enough of my own years of disappointment, imagine that of those in their 70's and beyond that wait year after year. Some come in in wheelchairs, some walk with canes. They are decked in Cubs gear. They hope.
I've been a fan since the memorable yet fateful team of 1969. That's a time when I could name every player, number, position, batting average, etc. I spent as much time at Wrigley as I now spend at a full time job. And of course every year results in that age old saying that "this is the year". And it never is. My father is 79, he was a kid when they won the pennant in 1945. He's been saying that since then.
So what will it take for the tide to change? Or will it ever??
Yesterday I overheard someone saying that the team doesn't even have a star. How sad that it's hard to name a player that is a true standout; one that is leading the team. How I miss the days of Santo and Banks, Sandberg, Dawson, Grace, Sosa. Even though they did not bring us to victory, they gave us hope. Now we have none.
A mediocre season is expected. Yet, the park will be filled. In a moment of idiocy I paid $170 for two tickets in the grandstands yesterday and froze my @#* off. We spent about $30 on food and beer. So why bother recruiting and grooming stars if we all spend the money and fill the park no matter what? I am guilty of doing what I complain about.
The exception is that I walked away yesterday disgusted at the team and myself. They put in Kerry Wood, once a star starter and now a has been reliever. Mistake. Or maybe the decision to pull Dempster at all was the big mistake. Even though he had a high pitch count, he was doing great. Whatever the case may be, mistakes are made over and over; disappointment reigns.
Yet as we exited the park (after asking if they give refunds for losses) hundreds of people crowded onto Sheffield looking very happy. I commented to my husband that I didn't get that, I was feeling very glum. He said that was the problem, no one really seems to care if they win or lose, it's just fun.
Well I don't think so. I don't look at the Cubs like that anymore. Yesterday reminded me of why my fan status has wained over the years. It reminded me of why people should just stop filling the park for a chronically losing team.
At the end of the game the announcer mentioned the attendance of 41,176. One woman in front of us said "yeah, 41,176 stupid people, including me".