Editorial: Basking in the pure joy of watching the Cubs in October baseball
It is customary in October for Chicagoans to invoke images of black cats, demons, curses and horror stories.
Looks like we may have to start a new custom and leave the dark arts to Halloween.
Yes, the Chicago Cubs are in the World Series. To be sure, that alone is not enough to satisfy long-suffering fans hungry for an MLB championship, but it quite believably may be, as the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles reported Monday, just the start.
We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves in wondering about what could happen over the next week or week and a half, but there's no denying that the Cubs' success the past two seasons has added an autumn lift to the city's spirits that's not entirely familiar. Though perhaps it ought not be all that surprising. Yes, the Cubs finished at the bottom of their division for five straight seasons beginning in 2010.
But in the five other seasons of the last 10, they finished first three times and second once.
Their four playoff appearances in 10 years isn't exactly something to sneer at, either. In fact, it ranks with the best playoff-appearance rates for that period in the major leagues, trailing only the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, and, who else?, New York Yankees.
But, among those teams, take a look at the Red Sox -- the team Theo Epstein left to take the helm of the Cubs. Since winning the World Series in 2004 and shaking complaints of a curse of their own, the Red Sox have made the playoffs six more times and won it all twice.
"That's the goal," Miles quoted Epstein from 2012, "to get (to the World Series), but to get there in a way to get there year in and year out."
Few experts would deny that Epstein and his crew have built a team that may change the famous Cubs mantra from "Wait 'til next year!" to "What a great year!"
Just how great in 2016 remains to be seen, but the pure joy in Chicago already is palpable -- not that anyone is forgetting that the World Series trophy has spent some time in Chicago in the recent past, thanks to the White Sox in 2005. But the Cubs are reminding us that there is something uniquely special about a special season in baseball.
It has nothing to do with luck or curses, and everything to do with pitchers who throw strikes, fielders who make plays, hitters who hit and coaches who make good decisions. The Cubs have all that in 2016, with a teamful of classy players who seem rightful heirs to the "let's play two!" spirit of the beloved Ernie Banks.
As they prepare for tonight's first World Series appearance in 71 years, we have much already to thank them for -- and what a dream to ponder that there may yet be more glory days ahead.
Go, Cubs, go, indeed.