Not even an upward surge in the stock market, the real estate market, or even a slashing of cook county sales tax could put a smile on Chicagoans faces right now.
When your favorite team put its best team in at least 60 years on the Wrigley Field grass in October, you don't expect to get embarrassed like the Cubs have been over the last two nights. That's what it is: embarrassing. They haven't been playing like themselves. No two games during the regular season did the Cubs' infielders all have an error, no game Dempster started did he walk 7 batters. Why does it all have to happen now?
The game was over last night in the top of the second inning. Say what you want about 8 more innings to go, but no team should expect to win even a spring training game making fielding errors like that and no team deserves it. After getting your spirits crushed on Wednesday, to come out on Thursday and make glaring mistakes like that is just a blow to your mental psyche and the Cubs just weren't going to come back from that. Last night was almost reminiscent of the 2003 NLCS Game 7, where once Game 7 went wrong, there was just no hope because Game 6 was such a crushing blow.
I'm not sure if I still believe in curses or not. Last night it almost seemed like the pressure was just getting to veteran players' heads. Is it how the media carries itself? Is it how the "curse" culture of the Cubs gets brought up so much that it can't escape the players in any way? The pressure to win here is so great, whereas the pressure to win a World Series in Kansas City or Tampa Bay, for example, is not.
I'm not ready to say the Cubs deserve to be swept. That I just can't tolerate. I'm also not comfortable saying they're going to come back and do what the Yankees did in 2001 or a few other teams have done in the past. At the same time, if there's a team in the National League that's capable, that's deep enough, to come back, it's the Chicago Cubs. On the other hand, no discredit to the Dodgers--they're playing great baseball and maybe it just won't be possible to take back the freebies we gave a team as good as they are.
I really hope that Rich Harden doesn't feel the pressure Saturday. I have this odd feeling he won't and I hope I'm not just being optimistic. He has to be lights out for this team to win. The mental anguish is to great to ask for the Cubs to come from behind. They need to play from ahead and Lou has to come up with ways to develop some confidence and momentum on the Cubs' side.
Lou's best decision last night was to pitch Marmol and Wood. If the Cubs need them in LA, they have to be ready to go and not be cold for that long. They had a chance to get used to pitching and making some mistakes, which they did, and hopefully it will mean they're ready to go if Harden is awesome Saturday.
I've been saying it all along...if the Boston Red Sox had to come back from being down 3-0 to win the AL Pennant and break their curse, perhaps it's the same with the Cubs. I truly believe that if the Cubs win Games 3 and 4, they will win Game 5. I would not want to be the Dodgers to go back to angry Chicago fans for a Game 5 and have to face a Dempster or Zambrano who will be licking his chops at the second chance to right the ship and tear the Dodgers apart.
I don't want to wait til next year. Go Cubs.