Saturday, September 29, 2007

C-ompletely U-nbeatable B-y S-eptember

A cold front blew through hell tonight. Donkey's were reported to be donning wings in barnyards around the globe. The Chicago Cubs ... my beloved Chicago Cubs ... won the National League Central Division title.

Haven't you heard? Good things come in three's. And this year there might even be a special bonus.

Flashback 1969. On the first of September in that fateful fall the Cubs were roughly 10 games up. The laughable Mets were in 2nd place. It had only been 51 years since the Cubs last won the World Series. A minor slump compared to today's 99 year drought. That is when strange things began to happen. Balls rolling through the legs of All-Star infielders. An honest-to-gosh black cat crossing in front of the Cubs dugout at Shea Stadium as their infamous collapse began. You know how the story ends. The Cubs self destruct. The Mets go on to win the World Series. I have lived on Tums ever since. I start popping them on opening day and don't stop until my boys are safely on the golf course and off of the ball diamond where they could get hurt.

1969 almost killed me. How connected am I to that memory? To that team? Catcher: Randy Hundley #9. 1st base: Ernie Banks #14. 2nd base: Glen Beckert #18. Short Stop: Don Kessinger #11. 3rd base: Ron Santo #10. Right field: Billy Williams #26. And then center field and right field saw a multiplicity of players like my favorite Adolpho Phillips. I have an autographed Ferguson Jenkins Jersey, #31, in my office right now. The Andy Frain Ushers controlled the crowd. Jack Brickhouse and Lloyd Pettit called the game on WGN. Don't mess with me when it comes the the Cubs of '69. I'm still looking for a team to heal the hurt.

And now lookie, lookie. Guess what's happening. The Mets have been in first place since May. Until tonight. The night the Cubs won their division the Mets lost their 5th straight and slid straight into 2nd place. And they did it by allowing the bases to get all loaded up against them and then hitting the next two batters. Way to go, New York. Not too long ago they were 13 games up. Can you say "choke?" Only one word comes to mind when I think about this. No, make that two. "Sweet revenge." It has taken 38 years ... and all it will take is another Mets loss to heal a very deep wound. Sweet. Revenge. Ahhhhh.

So. Will the Cubs win their first play-off series? I honestly do not know. Might they go on and win the National League pennant? The odds are against them. Could they pull off a miracle and win the World Series? Nah. Doubtful. But ... oddly possible.

And let me finish with this little thought. I have a friend who mentioned in an email this week that they were sweating out the final numbers on their 3rd quarter profits in his huge conglomerate of a company. Do you figure that my friend, a godly man if ever there was one, prayed about those numbers? I think yes. I KNOW yes. I have another friend who is working his fingers to the bone as the C.O.O of a medium sized hospital. Do you suppose he prays about the status and success of his hospital, both in patient care and financial earnings? Of course he does. Anybody got a problem with that? I think not. So why is it so wrong to think that maybe ... just maybe ... it's alright to pray for ones favorite baseball team? They are a "for profit" organization. Right? God is soveriegn and He cares about every molecule in His creation. Right? So why do we always say when discussing sports and athletic endeavor's, "Oh, God does not get involved in that. Pray that they do their best and things will turn out the way they turn out." You can believe that if you want to. As for me?

I'm PRAYING for the CUBS.