NLCS Game Six

After the Cubs game six loss, I felt dread, and despair. Depression? I had to call people, just to talk, like people need to do after traumatic events. All the Cubs fans I spoke to were numb, like me. And then I realized I had to call my dad, who I never really call, because I was, once again, that ten year old in 1984 crying after the Cubs NLCS Game Five loss to the Padres, trying to make sense of it all. We spoke, and he calmed me down, told me to go watch a movie, take my mind off the whole thing. He still felt good about game seven, thought Wood would seize the opportunity to be the hero in his friendly competition with Prior. I felt better after talking to him.
Later, Rich called, and Sang came down after he got home. I think both were on suicide watch. I was too dazed still to talk, and my lingering grogginess from my pain medication and anesthetic conspired with the Cubs defeat and my hunger (soups and clear juices do not satisfy; I've been constantly hungry since my surgery ended) to render me suddenly weak. Despite doctor's orders not to drive, I had to run out to the grocery store to get myself something calming. Tea, perhaps.
I ended up driving around for a while and not going to the grocery store at all, visions of grounders through Durham's legs, Gwynn's line drive taking a bad hop past Sandberg, Garvey's homer off of Lee Smith, Alan Wiggins' check-swing excuse-me hit, Will Clark reading Maddux's lips and hitting a grand slam onto Sheffield Ave., Javy Lopez's 9th inning home run off of Kevin Tapani.
Back at home, I finally had a clear head again. It wasn't that fan's fault for reaching out and deflecting the ball from Alou. Unlike game two when the fan interfered with Bako on IRod's pop-up, the fan in game six was up above Alou, a wall separating them, and Alou had to leap up and stick his glove into the stands. Any fan would have gone after the ball there and during the regular season no one would have given it a second thought (though I think Cubs fans have now been chastened for life and will never reach for a foul pop-up by an opposing player near the field of play ever again, for fear of death). Gonzalez booted the grounder. Baker left Prior in a few batters too many, and Prior threw a hanging curve that didn't snap to IRod. Lee and Mordecai murdered two hard but hittable fastballs. To blame this all on that one fan is wrong and typical of long-suffering Cubs fans' desire for a scapegoat.
Cubs fans even have a literal scapegoat in the form of a billy goat to assuage their 95 years of sorrow. But a true accounting of our past requires an honest confrontation with the truth. The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 because they've just been flat out beaten by other teams. We got beat in 1945, and in 1984. And 1989, and 1998. It will take a Cubs team whose mind is free of history and its 95 years of doom and gloom to exorcise our collective demons, and even then, anything can happen in a short series.
All I can think of is that Wood will be too pumped up with adrenaline to find the strike zone, of Cabrera and Pudge catching up to Wood fastballs, of Redman taking advantage of impatient Cubs hitters with his changeup. I try to shake my negativity but my mind won't cooperate, won't stop fast-forwarding to a negative outcome to prepare itself. I hope the Cubs are stronger than I am and willing to confront all their doubts and surpass them. Part of me thinks that Kerry Wood will appreciate an opportunity to outdo Prior in their friendly competition to be the Cubs savior. I'll cling to that.
An entire nation (well, nearly an entire nation) roots for the Cubs and Red Sox today, including me (and Fox is certainly rooting for the Cubbies; having the Marlins instead of the Cubs in the World Series will cost Fox millions of viewers and lots of advertising revenue). I cut my hair, and I'm wearing the same outfit I wore when the Cubs won game five against the Braves. My body is tense and my brain is addled, perhaps from my pain medication. Last night I did laundry but forgot to put in detergent, and today I kept misplacing my cellphone.
Alan called earlier. He was worried, advised me not to be by myself tonight with all my Percocet. If the Cubbies win tonight, I won't need any of it.