What?! you say. This is just the end of the regular season. There's nearly a month of exciting playoff action yet. (Isn't there something sick and twisted about playing baseball practically until Hallowe'en?)
Well, I'm cursed with being a Cubs fan, so--yes--the season is over. I was ten years old when I first started following them in 1962. (I can still give you the starting lineup from that year, plus most of the pitching staff. Anybody interested?) When I left for college in California at the beginning of September 1969, the Cubs had an eight game lead in the N.L East. But I'm not ready to talk about that yet. The pain is still too fresh. I have not lived in the Chicago area since Richard Nixon lived in the White House. Yet, despite the advice of several friends-cum-therapists, the Cubs are still in my system. The year after next, after all, is the centennial of their last World Series title. Maybe there will be poetic justice.
Dusty Baker will get fired tomorrow. That will be sad for me. I have an autographed picture of him wearing a Cubs uniform, hanging on the wall of my study. (A parishioner of mine is an off-season fishing buddy of his.) It says, "To Father Dan Martins: Keep praying for us. We'll get there." I believe it, Dusty. Just not during your tenure and probably not in my lifetime!
Can anybody tell me why Greg Maddux was traded? Sure, it wasn't a Brock-for-Broglio boondoggle, but still. He was at least a person one could root for even if the team was tanking.
There is an arcane theological concept called Eschatological Dualism. It's an attempt to name the paradox that, while the Kingdom of God is upon us--the power of sin and death is defeated, and Jesus reigns--there is still considerable residue of the old order for us to still deal with. There is a tension between the "now" and the "not yet." Cubs fans intuitively understand Eschatological Dualism. We're well accustomed to the tension between "maybe this year" and "wait til next year." Cubs fans live in a never-ending sense of waiting, hope, and expection--always Advent and never Christmas. That Christ will come again I am well assured. Whether the Cubs will win a World Series before that happens I can't say. Maybe the latter will happen right before the former. How cool would that be?