By: Joe Botana
As the Cubs enter the playoffs, my somewhat perverse imagination drifts and leads me to wonder what conversations are taking place in the faraway halls where the sprites, evil fairies, and minor demons whose job it has been for well-nigh a century to keep the Cubs in a downtrodden state, and to break the hearts of Cubs fans far and near. Two possible scenarios come to mind.
As Screwtape, Wormwood, Billy the Goat, Mr. Applegate, the ghost of Kennesaw Mountain Landis, and their assorted minions lounge around the home dugout at the “Field of Nightmares” , the Head Tormenter (a creature resembling a gruesome morph between Joe West and the Ghost of Christmas Future) speaks,
“Boring. This is so soooo boring. We have been doing this for over a century. It’s drudgery. Just not very interesting anymore. Bleh! Why don’t we just end this infinite procession of extra innings? The collapse in 1969 was awful. Just awful. Heh heh heh! Not to mention the 1984 NL Championship Series, where we let them get ahead of the Padres 2 games to zero, and then… Positively eeeeeevil! And we won’t ever forget how we lured that poor Steve kid to Wrigley Field and then tempted him to catch that foul ball. He’s been tormented ever since and we haven’t had to lift a finger. That was horrible work. We can be proudly ashamed of the misery we’ve wrought within those Ivy Walls.”
He continues, “But I don’t think it even hurts them anymore. They are numb to the pain. Like that lush Evita sang, “Being used to trouble they anticipate it!” They expect it to happen, so it no longer surprises or hurts them much. So, let’s call it a wrap. Let them win it all this year! Who knows, we might finish with a flourish, as thousands of their shocked fans keel over from heart attacks, and as they overturn cars, loot, break windows, and generally wreak havoc during the victory celebration. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even set the city on fire again! Remember that – wasn’t it ghaaaastly!? And after all, we did let the Red Sox off from that silly Bambino curse a few years ago. Then we can go torment someone else. Maybe the Nationals! They are certainly ripe for the picking. You did that before, right Applegate?”
For the sake of long-suffering Cub fans, I hope that’s what’s going on. It couldn’t possibly be something more along these lines instead,
“Boring. Yes. But now it’s time for us to be like that dude Creasy in Man on Fire. It is time for us to be artists, and to paint our masterpiece! Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll let them beat the Pirates in the Wild Card game. Then we’ll give them total mastery of those silly bird Cardinals, and pluck their feathers in four games. Finally we’ll let them get payback on those Amazin’ Mets who broke their hearts in 1969. Then in the World Series, we’ll let them be up three games to none in the bottom of the ninth inning in game four, leading by 6-0, with two outs and an 0-2 count on the last batter. And THEN we’ll get to work!”
After a brief silence to contemplate the genius of the plan, the place erupts in ghastly shrieks of ghoulish delight, accompanied by flares of Sulphur fueled tracers.
I hope, for the sake of my north side of Chicago friends, that it is scenario one instead of scenario two. But given the history, I would be worried. Very very worried!