It’s funny what a three game winning streak will do.
On August 2nd, the Cubs beat the Phillies 2-1 to improve to 54-52, where they sat only four games behind the Wild Card leading Houston Astros. Would this be the time when the Cubs surged ahead? Would they finally be able to make this team click, a team that, from the start, has seemed destined for mediocrity? Would they take advantage of the two remaining months of the season and soar into the Wild Card lead?
Of course not.
Instead, they plummeted, losing eight straight and ten of thirteen. We sat at 57-62, with Houston, Florida, Philly, and even Milwaukee moving up. Was there any reason to hope for a turn around? None at all. This team is playing terrible baseball, they still haven’t developed any kind of identity, and with the trade deadline long gone and the Cubs only move being the acquisition of journeyman outfielder Matt Lawton, Jim Hendry’s worst season as Cub GM continues. And yet we hope, and we pray, and we Look On the Bright Side, waiting for Pargo to hit another three or for Mike Brown to snatch another interception out of the air, and for our prayers, we are given a three game winning streak.
So now we’re flying high. Two games under .500, creeping back into the race…
Bah! Bah to them! I will not be fooled…Oh, I wish I could say that, and yet, I must admit, I am a sucker. I am a Cubs fan, and a three-game winning streak to a Cubs fan is a ten-game winning streak to anyone else. Only a Cubs fan could watch his team drop eight in a row and ten of thirteen, and then think that three straight victories somehow balances that out. It’s absurd. It’s foolish. Cub fans are fools. We are fools! We are jokers! We are the perpetually hopeful and the perpetually duped. We are the puppets, dancing on the strings. We are the pathetic Vegas regular, the guy who drops a grand at the craps table on Friday, another grand on Saturday, wins five hundred dollars on Sunday, and comes home talking about his big weekend.
So what happened today? What always happens? We lost. We lost 4-2 to the pitiful Colorado Rockies. And now we see. Now we see that the three-game winning streak was part of a string of eleven losses in seventeen games. Now we see that the losses were real, while the wins were the fantasy. It’s like ten minutes of television and twenty minutes of commercials. Is this what we deserve? Year after year, having our hopes renewed and then dashed? There is nothing about this team that suggests it will be able to turn it around. I know that I said I never give up, but there is a big difference between a playoff team in a playoff game falling behind, and a mediocre team in a terrible season falling well below .500. Is there time to turn it around? Sure. Will we? Not a chance. But most painful of all, hands down, is the knowledge that at the slightest sign of hope, at the briefest taste of success, I will be right back into it, cheering my heart out, Looking On the Bright Side and waiting for a championship.
After all, if the Red Sox can get one, anyone can.