"Do not go gentle into that good night," the poet Dylan Thomas wrote. "Old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light." And maybe that's good advice. But not for us Cubs fans. The light's died too regularly, too often every September--or occasionally, like this year, in October-- but it's died for ninety-nine straight years now. Too many for rage. A soft, resigned sigh maybe, but that's about it.
"99 Seasons and Counting," the New York Times correctly headlined, "Cubs Go Out With a Whimper." Well, they are the newspaper of record. Of course, they got it right. Ninety-nine years since they won the World Series. Is there a longer losing streak in any professional sport, anywhere? I doubt it. Next year they'll be going for a century. You'd be a fool to bet against them.
This year, the Arizona Diamondbacks beat them three straight. The suspense went out of the third and last game early when the Diamondbacks' leadoff man, Chris Young, hit Cub starter Rich Hill's first pitch for a home run. You can cite statistics: the Cubs scored only six runs in the three games; their cleanup hitter, Aramis Ramirez, went 0 for 12 in the series; and so on. But it isn't any of that, it's just Cubness.
They lift your heart occasionally, as in the 2003 playoffs, which they went on to lose when a fan caught a foul ball a Cub could have caught. In 1984 they took the first two games in Wrigley from the San Diego Padres. I saw the second of those. You could feel the crowd starting to believe. Foolish, of course. San Diego won the next three and that was that.
So here we are again. Lovely ballpark. Pretty good kielbasa. Losing club. I'd say, "Sic transit gloria Cubbies," but that's wrong too. The glory left long, long ago. Face it, Cubs fans...it's just not our century.
Wait 'til the next one?