When I woke up yesterday morning, something much worse than the impending doom of Monday instantly threw me in a shitty mood.
After doing my routine of checking game times for the MLB slate (an acquired DFS habit), I was harshly reminded that the Cubs weren’t playing.
Talk about a day ruiner.
It got me thinking: When’s the last time you woke up each morning and the only thing you could think about, the only thing you could look forward to, was the Chicago Cubs game that night?
I’m assuming most of you will say 2008. And rightfully so, because that Cubs team (the last to make the postseason) won an NL-best 97 games. As a fan, it felt like they were going to win every single night.
Seven long years later, that feeling is finally back.
And it’s just really, really nice to say again.
As a whole, Chicago sports certainly don’t lack that feeling of anticipation every morning. Despite how batshit frustrating the Bears have been, I still wake up giddy every Sunday morning. In the spring, puck drop and tip off are two nightly events that Blackhawks and Bulls fans count down like happy hours on a Friday. Especially when they play on Friday night.
But tell me the last time, truthfully, you as a Cubs fan woke up and started counting down the hours until first pitch?
Can you recall? I sure as hell can’t.
I mean sure, there have been blockbuster moments. Sammy Sosa was must-see TV in 1998. The 2003 Cubs were must-see TV down the stretch. And then there was the summer of 2008.
But that’s about it.
Everything in between – so basically most of my life – was a whole lot of “who gives a shit.”
Despite the fact that both of my dads are die-hard White Sox fans, I was still able to come out on the right side of things. I forged the path as a Cubs fan on my own.
Unfortunately, the majority of my live baseball intake growing up was spent at US Cellular Field. And I never woke up in the morning counting the hours until I would be at ‘The Cell.’ Though I still enjoyed myself, I was there cheering on the wrong team.
My young, unadulterated heart was always at Wrigley Field.
That was a soliloquy prefacing the larger point. An overarching scent of mediocrity on behalf of the Cubs in my 24 years of existence relegated me to more trips to the South Side.
It’s just how Chicago baseball has gone.
Now, myself and a very large portion of Chicago wake up on a daily basis counting down the hours until Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell take the field.
It’s been incredible to watch what this team of young, talented kids have accomplished thus far, and how they’ve made true believers out of everyone that this may not just be a flash in the pan.
Primarily built from within, the 2015 Cubs – unconventional by franchise standards but at the forefront of modern-day baseball – are a fresh contrast from that 2008 squad. Having the ability to watch these young Cubs grow up is gravitating for the fan needing a reason to get back into baseball.
Even when they lose (not very often lately), there are almost always positives. As a fan, it’s legitimately gratifying to see a team centered around homegrown talent make progress – because the growing pains make the success that much better.
Playoffs, World Series, or neither; the Chicago Cubs have become must-see TV here in 2015.
They’ll be on for years to come.