I was 1–1 in the wild card round.
I was 2–2 in the division round.
I was 1–1 in the league championship round.
Do you all know that I once played in a band called Break Even? Fitting, huh?
Whether or not I finish the post season with a winning prediction record all came down to the World Series. I really wanted Cleveland to win, but I didn’t really think they would. So I picked Chicago to win, using my head instead of my heart. I was right. I’m happy that I picked the winner, but I’m sad that I picked the winner.
I think there might be a screw loose in this brain of mine.
So I finish with a win-loss record of 5–4, for a 55.6 percentage. I usually do much better than that with my post season predictions, but the Red Sox got swept in the division round, so who really gives a rats ass?
Now we’re all in wait-till-next year mode while the damn Cubs drink themselves into a months long stupor to celebrate their ending of their futility streak.
I have some bad news for Cubs fans, from the perspective of a Red Sox fan.
The Red Sox won the World Series in 1918, beating the Cubs in fact. They went down the tubes in the years that followed before getting back in 1946. They lost in seven games. Again, they went down the tubes for a while before returning in 1967 where they lost in seven games again. They were competitive more often than not after that, but they lost in seven games again in 1975 and 1986. There were also crushing non-World Series defeats in 1978 and 2003, as well as a bunch of post season appearances where they were good but not really good enough.
So many times they were so close. We called ourselves the Fellowship of the Miserable. Some frizzy haired sports columnist said we were cursed and the whole rest of the country jumped on that stupid wagon. We were always good but never good enough. It defined us. Pain and suffering bonded us together as a community of loser fans. It was awful, but it was our thing.
Then in 2004 the Red Sox finally broke through and won the World Series. It was magical. It was so exciting. I had about 300 heart attacks that October but it was worth every second. Our team won it all, after 86 years they had finally won it all. It was the greatest feeling ever. And then…
We all went to work the next day and it was business as usual. Wait a tick, that’s not how it was supposed to be. The world was supposed to change, wasn’t it? We were supposed to be able to bathe in the glory of victory. There was supposed to be a fundamental difference to who we were as a community.
But there wasn’t. Until a few months later when there was.
The celebration carried through the Winter, all the way to the next Spring. At the home opener we raised the banner and got to feel all the feels again. It was wonderful and then it was over.
Our baseball team’s futility was what held us together as a people. It was the glue that bonded our little loser community together. Once they were no longer losers, then we no longer had a community. The bond went away and it has never come back. There are still people who live and die with the Red Sox like there were before, but the massively overwhelming number of die hard fans has morphed into a new community of casual fans who follow the team but really don’t care one way or the other. The Red Sox are no longer THE thing in Boston, they are just A thing. The Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics have all won championships recently too and similar, though smaller scale, changes have happened to their die hards too.
So what I want you to know, Cubs fans, is that this is going to happen to you too. It won’t be the same, but it will be similar. I don’t think the Cubs fanatics were ever as bad as Red Sox fanatics like me. The Cubs stretch of futility was longer than ours, but the sources of pain and suffering — the snatching defeat from the jaws of victory — weren’t really there the way they were for Boston fans so maybe there isn’t as strong a community to break up, but what you have is going to be marginalized.
Enjoy your parade, Cubs fans. You’re the champs and you deserve to celebrate. Go out there and party like it’s 1999. Next April, raise that banner and celebrate all over again. Then be ready. Losing made our teams special in a weird, ridiculous way. Now you, like us before you, are no longer special. It’s awesome… but it also kinda sucks.