Is it time to panic yet?

I’m not going to lie to you. The past week has not been a fun one (let alone a Funyun) for Cubs fans. All season we have watched with amazed delight as the most championship-deprived team in professional sports pounded out runs, shut down opposing hitters, and racked up wins by the bucketload. Even as we reveled in our unfamiliar status as front-runners (seriously, best record in baseball? Madness, I say!) there was some part of us that felt like Charlie Brown whenever Lucy offered to hold the football. When would it all come crashing down? And, this being the Cubs, in what gruesome fashion would our hopes be crushed this time?

But it didn’t happen. Sure, there was a brief stretch right after the All-Star break when the team engine sputtered a bit, but Sweet Lou changed the plugs and tightened the timing belt and all was well once again in Wrigleyville. (Note to self: Try not to come up with clever metaphors using stuff like cars that you know nothing about.)

And then the Phillies came to town, and suddenly the magnificent Cubs were playing like the lovable losers of old. No offense, brain-dead defense. They lost Saturday. OK, you can’t win ’em all.

They lost Sunday. Man, where did the offense go?

The Phillies left town and the Astros came in. Didn’t help. The Cubs lost Monday. Oh, no.

Then they lost Tuesday in gut-wrenching, extra-innings, had-’em-then-lost-’em fashion. It was too much for Ron Santo, whose crackerjack analysis for WGN Radio was reduced to heavy sighs and mutters of “Oh, boy.”

And just like that, Cubs fans were back out on the ledge. Is this it? The beginning of the end of the dream? The series that started the final slide into heartbreak?

Hell no, I say! It’s just a little rough patch. Every team goes through them once in a while. The Cubs still have a 4.5 game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central. They still have more wins than any other team in either league. So suck it, St. Louis. Or, as Andy Dolan at one of my favorite sports blogs, Desipio, said today, “Stop it, you pansies”.

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