By George Ferguson
If you ask most people what the year 1908 means to them, they probably can't come up with much. Unless they were born in that era or they're a major history buff, 1908 probably doesn't hold a lot of significance.
However, if you're a diehard Chicago Cubs fan, 1908 would be painfully familiar to you because it was the last time that the Cubs won a world championship in baseball.
You don't have to be a math wizard to know that's a long time 94 years to be exact. Ninety-four years of agonizing pain and near playoff misses. Almost a full century of devoted fans who love the Chicago Cubs, but are rarely rewarded by seeing them do well.
I have been a Cubs fan for a very long time, and I would consider myself a diehard true-blue-fan. In my short lifetime, the Cubs have still managed to lose a plethora of baseball games and have made the playoffs only four times in my 27 years and have never reached the World Series. Four times! I certainly won't be accused of jumping on any bandwagons.
In 1984, the Cubs came very close, making it to the National League Championship Series, but they were eventually eliminated by the San Diego Padres. I was pretty young and didn't feel a lot of pain from that near miss. But I still remember the Padres in those nasty brown and mustard color uniforms celebrating in the middle of the field.
In 1989, a heavily favored and talented Cub team once again got to the NLCS. But as usual, the Cubs again came up short, this time to an upstart San Francisco Giants team. That one stung pretty bad. I still despise Will Clark and Jeffrey Leonard to this day for playing on that Giants team.
Most people would find a new team. But being a true Cub fan means that you love them no matter what. I have been to Wrigley Field and sat with the "Bleacher Bums." I have witnessed first hand the passion of Cub fans.
On the day I was at Wrigley, the New York Mets' Howard Johnson, who was a big star at the time, hit a three-run bomb right over my head in the left field bleachers.
As most people know, it is Chicago tradition to throw opposing teams home run balls back onto the field. However, the guy who caught the ball was a native New Yorker and had just moved to Chicago. The fans in the section were yelling "Throw it back, Throw it back." But this guy wasn't about to throw the ball back into the field, no matter how loud the fans were screaming.
The guy almost did not live to tell his tale. Several inebriated Cubbie fans almost killed this poor guy trying to take his ball. They might have succeeded, if it wasn't for two well built security guards, who cleaned the mess up. Now that is either devotion to a team, or a whole lot of booze.
In the 90's, the Cubs had some very good teams to go with some very bad teams. On paper they are very talented, but they don't transfer it to the field.
One of the biggest complaints from fans used to be that management wouldn't spend money to get top players. But the past few years, the Cubs have paid for free agents giving them a solid roster and a monster pitching staff. Yet they still finished over 30 games under .500 and never threatened the top of their division this season.
So when is it going to turn around? When are they going to start winning consistently? Cubs fans are some of the most devoted people in sports, but do they have a limit? How can countless generations of fans go through life without being able to feel the joy of saying their team won the World Series?
I really love baseball. But being a Cub fan is slowly killing that love. I can't watch them in person and watching their games on TV can be downright painful. I try and follow them all season, but when you're team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs by July, it gets frustrating.
And forget about the World Series. How can I really care about the Angels and Giants? The answer is I don't. I couldn't care less who wins or who loses. I know the Series is sacred and embraced by millions. But I'm selfish and if the Cubs aren't in it, I don't want anything to do with it.
I have watched about five innings total of the first three games of this year's series. I'm bitter and I admit it. I used to watch the post season just to cheer against the Yankees, but I can't do that anymore.
When is it going to the Cubs' turn in the series? When is it going to be my turn to cheer? It's been 94 years, it can't continue much longer, can it? All I ask is that Barry Bonds, Troy Glaus and the Rally Monkey just hurry up and get the Series over with.
I want next season to get started soon. Because as all Cub fans know next year is always the Cubs' year. Next year the Cubs will be in the World Series. Of course, I said that last year, and the year before that and the year before that...