Thursday's loss to the Mets caused me to experience the deepest sense of baseball fan self-pity I've felt in a long time.
I suppose there's some way to tap the magnificent resources of baseball-reference.com or retrosheet.org and confirm that the Cubs have endured more of those kinds of defeats than any other team, but I'm not smart enough to define the parameters of Heartbreak and don't have time to do the spadework.
In the meantime, I feel secure in my belief that my favorite baseball team really has cornered the market on demoralizing, gut-wrenching ineptitude, a monopoly they have held for a very long time and will not surrender any time soon. Maybe not in my lifetime.
Though I wouldn't have guessed this could be so, I felt even lower and even more demoralized today than I did around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Six-and-a-half innings into Friday's game with the White Sox, I was resigned to the defeat and the blood-boiling frustration of seeing the Cubs lose to a team featuring Pablo Ozuna, Luis Terrero, Toby Hall, and Juan Uribe--all in its lineup on the same day!
Then the unthinkable--the Cub offense came back from a late-inning deficit--was followed by the unimaginable: all of the Cub relievers who stepped across the white line, the middle guys and the closer, were effective in the same game.
Victories have a very therapeutic effect on the self-pitying Cubs fan. A win like today's over the White Sox has a narcotic effect, at least on me. If we could somehow sweep the Sox who, excellent starting pitching or not, are just a mediocre team in a division that's going to eat them whole, the Cubs would stand at 21-21 and would have perhaps regained the momentum they lost on the East Coast.
It wouldn't be enough to convince me the Chicago Cubs aren't destined to be tragic losers for as long as I live, but it would certainly restore a little joy to the summer of 2007.