Imrem: Did we miss Chicago Cubs parade last fall?
The optimism surrounding the Chicago Cubs is at once justifiable and inexplicable.
Has there ever been a team around here with such high expectations before ever winning anything?
The 1985 Bears, the 1990-91 Bulls, the 2005 White Sox and the 2009-10 Blackhawks all were expected to be contenders but had a team or teams to catch before going on to win a title that season.
Yet here the Cubs are with the regular season and playoffs essentially viewed as byes on the way to the World Series.
As national baseball writer Joel Sherman quoted "an executive from another NL team" in the New York Post over the weekend:
"I must have missed the parade."
The Cubs haven't had one yet, though it feels like they have. They had many champagne celebrations last season but no parade.
After the Cubs have gone 107 seasons without winning a World Series, it's difficult for me to believe in them until they prove that they aren't the Cubs anymore.
People can't understand why I'm skeptical about the Cubs being favored in 2016.
They wonder what could go wrong.
Well, how about killer bees?
Over the weekend in Arizona, a swarm attacked Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward.
My lifetime of watching the Cubs try to win a championship tells me those were not bees.
No, they were space aliens sent from a planet far, far away to remind fans that it has been 71 years since the Cubs even played in a World Series.
The only surprise was that the invaders didn't scoop up Heyward and that he isn't halfway toward Planet Never Mind.
Seriously, a force well beyond baseball has to be at work for a team to go 107 seasons without winning a World Series.
Call it a curse or hex or jinx, none of which I believe in except when mentioned in the context of the Cubs.
After awhile you come to believe that some things are hard to envision: winning Powerball, a supermodel proposing to you and the Cubs marching to a championship.
Something always is lurking around every Cubs corner.
As an old guy living in the past, I can't get past the Billy goat, the black cat and the Gatorade glove.
Nor can I forget the conversation with a Cubs executive in the spring of 2004, four months after his team was five outs from winning the National League pennant.
The question was what worried him about the Cubs at the time.
The answer, after much consideration, was the last pitcher in the bullpen.
That was it … the last pitcher in the bullpen … everything else was in place.
Naturally, the Cubs didn't win the pennant or World Series or anything else that year.
Nor can I forget my fondest memory of the Cubs and the World Series -- yes, I sort of have one -- being Game 6 against the Marlins in the 2003 NLCS.
I was in the press box on the phone with Marriott making reservations for the World Series between the Cubs and Yankees in New York.
Then the Bartman ball fell, the Cubs proceeded to fall with it, and I had to cancel the hotel plans.
So, what can go wrong for the Cubs this season?
You mean other than aliens hauling away a prize free agent and a number of his teammates?
Hold off on those parade plans until further notice.