Cub fans have no need to panic
In fact, you’d best keep October open
By Steve Metsch
This is a message for all the folks out there who cheer the Chicago Cubs. The folks who are worried that their beloved team, the defending World Series champion, now finds itself heading into Monday night’s games one game out of first place and, frankly, not tearing it up like last year.
Perhaps Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it best when he told the worried Packer backers to “R-E-L-A-X.” The same holds true Cub fans.
I was at Wrigley Field Sunday night for the game against the rival St. Louis Cardinals. The mood was festive, as it always is when these two get together. There was plenty of good-natured ribbing and joking between fans before the game at local watering holes and in the stands.
The Cubs grabbed a 1-0 lead. All was well in the world. Then the Cards rallied to take a 4-1 lead. You could have heard a pin drop in the old ballpark.
Folks, this happens. It’s baseball. Every team is going to win 60 games. Every team – unless you are the red-hot Houston Astros this season – will lose 60 games. It’s what you do with the other 42 games that matters.
The Cubs staged their own rally, saw the Cards tie the game, and then the Cubs pulled out a 7-6 victory.
Are things going as easy as they did last summer? Of course not. Things seldom go as planned in Major League Baseball. But remind yourself that the Cubs have two of the best young sluggers in the game – Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo – batting second and third in the lineup. Why they don’t hit 3-4 is beyond me. But I digress.
The team is loaded with talent. They have a great pitching staff.Sure, players go through a slump now and then. Heck, entire teams do. Back in 2005, the White Sox saw a huge lead nearly vanish, then they rallied and held on for the division. We know the rest of the story. They went a tidy 11-1 en route to winning the World Series.
I’ll do that one better.
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a book signing in La Grange by former Cubs skipper Lou Piniella. Of course, a fan asked if the Cubs are in trouble. Lou, a former World Series winning manager with the Reds, paused, smiled and said “no.”
The Cubs, he said, will be just fine.
And then he told one of my favorite baseball stories. He told of how the New York Yankees he played for in 1977 won the World Series. That’s the team with Piniella, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, and Ron Guidry, to name a few. One great team.
“The next year,” Piniella told us, “we were 14 and one-half games out in July. We tied for the division that year, won the playoff game and went back to the World Series. And we won the World Series.”
See where I’m going here?
Repeating as World Series champ is tough. No doubt about it. But the Cubs, now one game over .500, have way too much talent for any fans to worry about this season. Sit back. Enjoy the ride. Head out to Wrigley. Sadly I could not find a Frosty Malt Sunday, but there’s plenty of food and beverages to enjoy at a game.
Oh, and do keep your October open. And you may want to invest in a champagne bottle or two, just in case.