Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo breathed optimism into the lovable losing franchise for the 2012 season, when ESPN Chicago quoted him saying the forever boring, inspirational tag line, "Why not this year?"
For every dim-witted Cub enthusiast out there, there are thousands of knowledgeable fans that continue to suffer—that have stepped away from the Kool-Aid of over-exuberance.
I understand Rizzo's intentions of instilling hope and determination for his teammates by showing leadership in the clubhouse, but these are the Chicago Cubs we are speaking of.
Every single year has been documented as our year, but like gravity—everything seems to come crashing down to Earth to smack us out of the moment of clarity.
In 1969, we had the "most celebrated second-place team in the history of baseball." The Cubs were in first place for 155-glorious days. But a black cat and losing 17 out of 25 games, cost them a spot in the playoffs.
In 1984, we had Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe, MVP winner Ryne Sandberg and Manager of the Year winner Jim Frey in the same season. It was the year when Grammy-award winning artist Steve Goodman recorded the beloved song, "Go Cubs Go." The Cubs went on to make the playoffs with 96 victories. They grabbed two games to none in the NLCS against the San Diego Padres. The Cubs were one win away from a World Series berth—and the rest as they say is history.
Two years later on August 8, 1988, lights were installed at Wrigley Field. The significance behind this was the rumor that the Cubs were unable to have home-field advantage during the 1984 playoffs because they could not host a night game.
Is This The Year?
In 2003, we had Mark Prior on the mound to clinch game six of the NLCS—up three games to one. The Cubs were five outs away with a three-to-nothing lead, as they were on their way to end a lifetime of frustration—a man named Steve Bartman and a glove owned by Alex Gonzalez had altered future forever.
In 2007 and 2008, Lou Piniella brought a new culture to the clubhouse that resulted in back-to-back division titles for the Cubs. Shockingly, that was not enough for the impatient fans.
The misfortunes and mishaps of the Chicago Cubs are never-ending.
The headaches may go away with the help from the medicine cabinet, but the heartache will always be there.
Therefore, when Mr. Rizzo poses the question, "Why not this year?"—he should go back and read the history of the Cubs before he utters those words again.
Even without a history lesson for Rizzo, the Cubs are in a season where you may need several barf bags handy.
Every position has question marks, including at first base with unforeseen production from either Bryan LaHair or Rizzo.
The only bright spot in this Cubs' season may be the renovations in right field.
Which prompts the question from me, "Why just right field?"