The Northside Lounge
A Chicago Cubs blog with an occasional tangent on pop culture
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

They died in the rain

Like an entry to the Bad Hemmingway Imitation contest, the Cubs finally, mercifully, gave up the ghost on a wet Saturday afternoon in Chicago. Better yet, they did it with a loss to a key rival, propelling them on toward the playoffs. We now officially have nothing to play for, unless you count our outside chance at reaching .500.

I'll have final results of the CBA Preditions Contest and an announcement both coming in the next week to ten days. There is an awful lot of work to be done to get this team back in contention, and although I am pessimistic that we have the people in charge to accomplish that task I am still going to cross my fingers and hope. Let's go Cubs.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

I sat in a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama, last night watching the Cubs make a last, last, last ditch effort to prevent the Cardinals from clinching the Central on our field. They succeded, sort of, in a comedy of errors set to a torrential downpour, but the game was eventually called and by the time I awoke the Cardinals were indeed, inevitable, division champs.

It occurred to me the other day that my analogy of US/Mexico to Cubs/Cardinals the other day was more accurate than I gave myself credit for, if only I had swapped the respective parties. Many Mexicans see the United States as a kind of an older sibling, always richer, stronger, more respected, and to be honest kind of a bully. Until the last few years, they at least always had soccer to fall back on, but recently that has taken a turn as well. Mexico hasn't beaten the US outside Mexico in six years, notably losing a quarterfinal elimination match in the World Cup two years ago. Two weeks ago (I faintly recall through a euphoric drunken haze) we beat them again, 2-1 to earn a trip to Germany for the next World Cup.

Simillarly, we tend to suffer at the hands of the Cardinals year-in and year-out. Once in a blue moon we manage to claw our way past them, metaphorically locking them in their room and celebrating our victory ('84, '03), but sooner rather than later they get out of their room, return promptly to thrashing us within an inch of our lives, and the natural order is restored.

And so it has gone again. Last night the Cardinals captured their second division title in a row, each by huge margins, after we managed to steal one by the skin of our teeth in 2003. Unlike with US/Mexico, there are no built-in structural reasons we shouldn't be able to overcome our tormentors, but as long as ownership continues to hire people who make bad baseball decisions, our results are unlikely to improve over what we have seen for the last 90+ years. Sigh.

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Monday, September 05, 2005


I wish I had the words to describe the euphoria of my weekend in Columbus, Ohio. I've tried to hash out some tortured analogy about the Cubs and Cardinals only playing each other twice every four years, but I just can't make it translate. Maybe the best I can do is share this clip from someone's camera in our section during the second US goal. I was in the front row of that section, being hugged/hugging the five or six strangers nearest me, clasping a hand over my head to keep from losing my cap onto the field like I had after the first goal. Immediately after the game, there was a full-scale fireworks display. I literally couldn't hear the fireworks exploding over the roar of the crowd.

If you want the long, occasionally tedious story of my trip you can read it here. Its been two years since the Cubs made me feel like that. May it happen again soon.

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