NLCS Game Three

All through the playoffs, I've been an ardent supporter of the Cubs. Nothing new there; it's a lifelong condition first diagnosed when I was about 7 years old and there's no real known cure. Some years are worse than others, but I take my cocktails of Bud Light and bratwursts and beef franks and over time I've become numb to the pain.
But I haven't truly believed this entire postseason. Even in the regular season, I didn't truly believe. I've been living and dying on hope, but somewhere in the back of my head I've been cataloguing all the reasons to not believe, anticipating the worse.
The Cubs offense is inept. The Cubs have no team speed. The Cubs don't have disciplined hitters. Kerry Wood is wild. Dusty Baker has ridden his pitchers so hard that Zambrano can't get over the top of his sinker anymore and Prior is two years from arm surgery. The Cubs defense is mediocre. The bullpen isn't deep enough. Our closer is Joe Borowski, a journeyman pitcher without a dominant out pitch. The Cubs bench is weak; why Goodwin over Hee Seop Choi? And Doug Glanville? Don't we have enough light-hitting outfielders on the roster? Aramis Ramirez is frighteningly bad with the glove. Dusty is a terrible tactician.
I think this pessimism is a symptom of Cubs fever, an inevitable defense mechanism my body has triggered to protect me from further heartbreak. Red Sox fans can probably empathize.
After tonight's game, though, I'm beginning to believe. When so many things go your way...

  • Light-hitting slap hitters Tom Goodwin and Doug Glanville each hit pinch-hit triples in crucial situations? What magic dust has Dusty sprinkled on them? Two pinch-hit triples in one game?

  • Randall swing-at-everything Simon with a pinch-hit two-run home run? Why does anyone throw him a pitch anywhere but right at his hands, or in the dirt?

  • Marlins load the bases in the bottom of the ninth. The Big Borowski is struggling, losing about one pound of body weight in sweat each minute. The waterbug Juan Pierre at third base, about 82 feet from home plate and the game winning run. And somehow we get out of it.

  • Lofton takes off on a steal attempt in the top of the eleventh, and who should go to cover second base but the shortstop, Alex Gonzalez, instead of Castillo. Glanville then somehow turns around a 95mph fastball from Braden Looper and pulls it through the hole vacated by Alex Gonzalez. For some reason, Conine is playing close to the left field line and lets the ball get by him to roll to the wall. And Lofton, fast becoming my pick for Cubs post-season MVP, trots home.

  • Aramis Ramirez boots Derek Lee's grounder but is given a gift by Luis Castillo's temporary meantal blackout.

  • Kerry Wood struggles all game with his control. The SI cover jinx is breathing down his neck. Somehow, he comes out intact.

I had a terrible sinking feeling the moment Pudge singled in the Marlins 3rd run, the go-ahead run. I've had that feeling so many times these playoffs, and more often than not, the Cubbies have come back and reversed things on me. I haven't experienced such sustained and agonizing suspense since...well, never.
So yes, I'm starting to believe. Perhaps there is such a thing as destiny, or fate. If so, I just hope I have some hair and fingernails left once it has run its course.