Eamus Catuli AC0069106

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

– A. Bartlett Giamatti, The Green Fields of the Mind

Another Cubs’ season has lurched to a close. The Cubs managed to be considerably better this year, making the playoffs for the first itme since 2008. While they finished third in the Central Division of the National League, the Division was so tough that they also finished third in Major League Baseball. They built our hopes by beating their league rivals, first the Pittsburgh Pirates in a sudden-death playoff, and then the Cardinals in the Division Series, best-of-five. In a sense – a sense that doesn’t really matter – they beat the two best teams in baseball.

And then collapsed in the National League Championship Series, swept by the team they had beaten seven times in the regular season. They reverted to being the Cubs.

Some long-term Cubs fans are calling it a magical season. If so, it ended in a nightmare. The Mets series and the Cubs’ collapse demonstrated that the Cubs are still short a couple of decent starting pitchers, and they need to avoid burning out their ace, Jake Arrieta, before the playoffs. And all those kids need more experience.

In one sense, it is progress. In another, it’s a reversion to being the Loveable Losers.

Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.

– A. Bartlett Giamatti, The Green Fields of the Mind

There are treatises on the psychology of Cubs fans. For example, there’s Your Brain on Cubs. But the cycle of hope and despair that is the essence of being a Cubs fan may be beyond the understanding of science. Eventually, perhaps we will rate our own diagnostic code in the DSM-IV. Our very own mental illness. But until then, we’ll be waiting for next year. Clinging to the illusion of hope.

So. Maybe next year.

Postscript: For those who need an explanation of this blog post’s title.


2 thoughts on “Eamus Catuli AC0069106

  1. I repeat a previous comment – Congratulations on getting as far as they did. They beat my Pirates decidedly. I now have to put up with insufferable Mets fans in my vanpool.

  2. So, we won’t retire the lists just yet, but the Cubs were far more than Loveable Losers this year. Plus, they eliminated the Cards, so how can the season be considered a total loss? Ultimately futile, but losers? Hardly.

Comments are closed.