This average baseball fan feels like a sap
The 2012 baseball season ended appropriately Wednesday with a dreary drizzle dampening the Chicago area.
If that doesn't sum up the Cubs and White Sox, what could?
Following these teams is hoping against hope. Seasons end in world championships around here about as often as summers end in snow. The playoffs are like stop signs and then only if the Cubs and Sox run through regular-season red lights to get there.
It's enough to make average fans, including me, feel like saps.
Exactly how frustrating Chicago baseball has been during most of my lifetime occasionally will slap me even harder than normal, like the stretch of a couple days last month.
First there was the look up while walking toward the media entrance at Comiskey Park. Next to a White Sox logo was etched, "World champions 1906, 1917, 2005."
Maybe because the Sox won a World Series a mere seven years ago, it was easy to forget that they have won only two others in more than a century.
That seemed awful until a couple days later when a package arrived with a DVD titled, "The Essential Games of the Chicago Cubs." None involved a World Series because the Cubs haven't been to one since 1945 or won one since 1908.
The four "essential" Cubs games are the Hall of Fame "showcase" in 1969, Ryne Sandberg's "comeback shocker" in 1984, the "wild card tiebreaker" in 1998 and the "NL Central Division clincher" in 2008.
Think about those four seasons: In '69 the Cubs monumentally collapsed; in '84 they choked 1 victory away from the World Series; in '98 they were swept out of the National League Division Series; in '08 they extended their playoff losing streak to nine games and counting.
The Cubs put out a DVD with a game from each of those seasons? The Sox etch in stone three world championships in franchise history?
My goodness, the Cardinals and Red Sox won two championships apiece during the past decade alone.
Yet around here instead of being outraged we sort of accept this nonsense of three World Series titles since forever on the South Side and none since 1908 on the North Side.
Within that context the Sox currently are in some vague transition period and the Cubs in another rebuilding phase.
Before the Cubs ended a 101-loss season by beating the 107-loss Astros, it seemed fitting Wednesday morning to wonder whether it's realistic to expect much more next year.
"I sure hope so," Cubs' manager Dale Sveum said.
There's the "H" word again that has been Cub fans' lifeline for their entire lifetime.
"Twenty more wins and it's a different season," Sveum said. "Look around all of sports. Teams have a poor season and the next year they're playing for a playoff spot."
Good luck with that.
Then there are the White Sox. So, Robin Ventura, are the Sox transitioning toward possibly winning something significant next season after squandering their chance this September?
The Sox' manager answered prior to his team's final home game by mentioning that some young pitchers who developed this year are a good sign for next year.
Good luck with that, too.
Personally, considering Chicago baseball's dubious history, I'm already anticipating doom for 2013 while still digesting the disappointments of 2012.
Optimism might return to me by the time spring training opens next year.
As this season ends, however, February seems a long way off.
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