It takes me a couple of days to come to terms with the end of a Cubs season. I sit through their last game knowing it’s their last game, getting a little bittersweet with every out. I watch them leave the field for the last time and it makes me pout. The season, no matter how craptacular, is over.
The next day, I go into denial. I think it has to do with baseball being such a part of my routine. So the first day of the Cubs offseason feels like just another off day.
It’s the day after, when the playoff games start and my boys aren’t in it, that it really sinks in that I won’t be seeing my boys until next season.
I realize that after the disappointing season the Cubs had this year, it could be considered ridiculous to be maudlin over the season being over. But like a heavily involved den mother, these are my boys and I love them so long as they wear Cubbie blue and I’m going to miss them, no matter how badly they’ve played. Bad Cubs baseball beats half the stuff on TV these days anyway.
According to the people who, in January, picked this team to end up 4th or 5th (Good job, guys! Why so bitter? You got it right!), I shouldn’t miss this team at all, but I will. I become very attached during a season and there are several guys lining up to make possible exits this year. Pena, Ramirez, Dempster, Grabow, Wood, Ortiz, Lopez, Johnson, DeWitt, Baker, Hill. All of them could be gone next year (not to mention the ones that have already left) and I’m sure many people would rejoice their absence. I’d miss them, though. Good and bad, they were part of the ride. It’s like a badge of honor. They earned it. The badge and the fifth place finish.
I’m not so soft that I can’t see they didn’t do well. Bad performances, slow starts, inconsistency, and injuried marred this team from opening week. Some might say this team didn’t have a chance from day one. Fine. It’s all true. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t and didn’t enjoy my team. And it doesn’t mean I won’t miss them (even if I don’t miss the way some of them played).
On a personal note, I saw more Cubs games this year than I have in my whole life. Leading up to this season, I’d only seen two (one in August of ’94 and one in September of ’11; I had tickets for one in May of either ’00 or ’01, but it was rained out). This year I made it to four, three in Wrigley and one in Kansas City. Of the four, I only witnessed one Cubs win (par for the course this season), but I cannot deny that even during the losses I had a great time. There’s no place like Wrigley.
It’s been a long, hard, rough season and on the one hand, I’m glad it’s over. On the other hand, I’m bummed that it’s done.
Waiting on 2012.