For Cubs fan, baseball's most entertaining postseason in years must be like watching a sequel to their worst nightmare.
No, not the nightmare with black cats and Billy goats. Nor the one with the Bartman ball, Bull Durham's Gatorade glove and the Saminator's corked bat.
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This worst nightmare is worse than any of those and worse than your worst enemy running off with your spouse … again.
Look at the team smack dab in the middle of the baseball playoffs.
The Cardinals … again.
Look at the team that was smacked around to finish with the major league's second-worst record.
The Cubs … again.
The Cubs and Cardinals are rivals, you're told. What they don't tell you is this is a rivalry like Chicago and St. Louis are the Twin Cities.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein thinks he knows the pain his fans are feeling because he came over from the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry.
But Red Sox frustration evolved from being dominated for decades by the powerful, megamarket, cash-blessed Yankees.
The Cubs are dominated by a freaking team from St. Louis.
Just when Cubs fans think things can't get worse after losing 101 games this season, they find out that they always can and likely will.
The latest insult came when the Cardinals qualified for the National League championship series thanks to clutch hits by Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma.
My goodness, Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma?
Both were drafted in 2007 and matriculated through the St. Louis' minor-league system.
Meanwhile, Cubs prospects Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson were promoted through the minor leagues the past few years and made their major-league debuts this season.
Vitters, the third overall choice in the 2007 draft, batted .121 while striking out 33 times in 99 at-bats for the Cubs. Jackson, the 31st overall pick in 2009, batted .175 with 59 strikeouts in 120 at-bats.
No wonder the Cubs haven't made the playoffs the past four seasons while the Cardinals are defending World Series champions.
If the comparison of young players doesn't grab you, consider that when the Cubs needed a veteran run producer three years ago they acquired Milton "Whoa!" Bradley, and when the Cardinals needed one this year they acquired Carlos "Wow!" Beltran.
Gone from St. Louis' 2011 champions are Albert Pujols, baseball's best hitter of this century, and Tony La Russa, one of the best managers of any century.
So the Cardinals lose two historic figures and remain a contender for another World Series and the Cubs lose 101 games.
This has been the pattern forever: The Cardinals prevail through turnovers in ownership, management and uniformed personnel and the Cubs don't.
That should help Epstein understand why some around here are skeptical of any building blueprint. We have heard it all before and the Cubs still haven't overtaken the Cardinals.
Epstein isn't responsible for drafting Vitters and Jackson, for acquiring Bradley, for 67 years without a National League pennant and for 104 without a World Series championship.
He's responsible only for making the Cubs beat the Cardinals.
Good luck, Mr. President, as you try to catch the team employing the immortal Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma. While you're at it, try to prove that 2013 can't be worse than 2012 was.
At least San Francisco eliminated Cincinnati last week or the Cardinals would be playing Dusty Baker for a trip to the World Series.