I said in a previous post that a whole generation of Cubs fans are now growing up who know their team only as a frequent contender and a winner, one that is likely about to make the play-offs for the second year in a row, the third time in five years, the fourth time in 10 years. I envy them, because games like Thursday night's stunning 6-4 victory, for someone of my generation (I'm 40), are often simply too hard to believe. An hour after the game is over, you're struggling to sleep because your mind is spinning at what you just witnessed and what still may be to come in the near future. The reality of it is almost scary, in part because you feel you have been led down this road before, in part because you have never seen anything like it.
If the Cubs would have lost last night, no one would have been too concerned. They were going up against Cole Hamels, for cryin' out loud. If you see them winning a four-game series against the Phils, this is the one game they would probably lose. And Hamels was pretty fantastic, the Cubs only run against him in 7 IP coming on a two-strike triple by DeRosa after Fukie's infield hit. Dempster started for the Cubs, and was decent, but only barely staying ahead of the Phils until giving up 3 runs in the 6th to leave the Cubs behind 4-1.
But again, the Cubs pulled an 8th inning comeback out of their rally caps after Hamels exited. Mighty Mite hit a PH HR, and the Cubs loaded the bases for A-Ram who, before you even had a chance to consider the possibilities, clubbed a grand slam to left--positively disintegrating the ball and leaving no doubt from the moment of impact in anyone's mind, especially Phils CF Shane "The Flyin' Hawaiian" Victorino and A-Ram himself.
The thing that some of us might have thought impossible an inning before, so impossible that even when it happened, it still seemed impossible, actually happened. It happened to a team that through my years growing up and really through my whole life until now only seemed to have one misfortune heaped upon another, given a taste of dreamy victory one time after another only to have it snatched by fate. It was the kind of misfortune that eventually made me not want to be a Cubs fan anymore--I just couldn't handle the combination of disappointment and organizational ineptitude, a seeming aversion to even wanting to create a winning team at times. It was the kind of misfortune that makes one believe that some things just can't happen.
But it did happen last night, and more than anything I wanted to call my father and share the excitement with him, and talk to him--a true die-hard Cubs fan--about the possibilities of where this Cubs team will go. But, I couldn't. The 2007 season was his last. So, I was left myself to celebrate and ponder the possibilities, just as I was earlier this year when the Cubs mounted a 9-run comeback against the Rockies. That afternoon I was driving down Irving Park Road as the amazing comeback unfolded on the radio, wanting to call my dad and yell into the phone, but instead I just pounded the roof of my car with my fist, thinking, can he see this where he is? Can he enjoy it? Or was he a loyal Cubs fan through the years only to just barely miss the best part? I want to believe he was watching. I want to believe anyone who is no longer among the living and would have loved it is somehow enjoying it as much as we are now. I want to believe.