The Inner Torment of a Cubs Fan Watching the Playoffs

While I sometimes like to pretend I watch every moment of Cubs baseball, along with all the other important games throughout the week and every pitch of every playoff game, it’s simply not true. Sometimes I’ll go weeks at a time between watching full baseball games. I still watch highlights and catch clusters of innings, but being a 28-year-old father cuts down on free time. The dirty secret of a baseball blogger, I suppose.

I think this can sometimes manifest itself in odd ways when it comes to my feelings on the game; I love baseball, and we all know it can cause a serious emotional reaction. When I’m watching a Cubs game and they’re up 6-1, I often will turn the game off to make my daughter dinner, put her to bed, or whatever. Usually, I’ll carry this positive vibe with me because of the assumption that they’re going to get a win.

When I turn on the TV later to check the final score and see the game is still going and the Cubs are down 10-6, it cuts me deeply. Much more than had I watched it all unfold. It would likely appear as if a small volcano had erupted inside of me, spewing loud curse words out of my mouth in place of hot magma.

Flash forward to last night, when I’m in the car with my wife and child. We had just left Walgreens with childrens cough medicine and a Redbox DVD of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I’ve got the Cardinals/Dodgers game on in the car, desperately trying to hear them announce the score. By the inflection in Al Hrabosky’s voice, I can tell the Cards are losing. Eventually, the truth comes out: 6-2, Dodgers lead.

Based on my pick of the Dodgers to win the series, this pleases me. For reasons other than making correct picks, this pleases me further. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Cardinals organization, but I have plenty of motivation to root against them. I probably let out a little fist pump and a “yessss!” as we drove home.

After some play time and an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the 1989 cartoon, not that crap on Nickelodeon), I got my daughter tucked into bed, cough medicine in her body and stuffed animals all around. I turn on the game to see the score…7-6 Cardinals. Volcanic eruption. My wife comes out to see if I’ve been seriously injured. At this point, I’m muttering to myself and going to get a snack to try to calm down. Then I hear her from the living room, “Seriously? Come on!” 10-6 Cardinals.

With my skin turning red and claims of black magic, voodoo, selling of souls to Satan, and other ridiculous thoughts (but seriously, can you explain it without some kind of mystical intervention?), I make the executive decision that it’s time for the Winter Soldier. I later learn that the Dodgers mounted a comeback, only to strand the tying run on 3rd base.

So Wainwright gets pounded in LA with Kershaw opposing him, and the Cards win. Of course they did; that’s the way baseball works. Such is the life of a Cubs fan, right? Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It’s a five-game series, so it’s still very wide open. But if the Cardinals win tonight, I don’t see any reason to believe they aren’t going to the NLCS. And at that point, why should we believe they aren’t just winning the World Series again?

Because of course they will.

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