I couldn't believe how high the excitement was. The Cubs are in first! The Cubs are on their way to their third National League Central title!
The mere fact that they play in the NL Central makes it mean that much less impressive.
But that's when a favorite old adage crept back into my mind. One I hold very high amongst all sports cliches.
You can only play the games on your schedule.
I think it makes the most sense outside of the college game, and when the Cubs don't get to select who is not only on their schedule, much less their division, you can't help but understand the excitement pouring from Wrigley Field.
I'm not declaring the boys in blue Central champs, and I'm not naming them the greatest club in baseball right now. I'm not that stupid.
Jim Hendry didn't buy the Astros and drive them into the ground. Lou Pinella didn't call in a few favors to have the Brewers plagues with injuries. Dusty Baker didn't defect to conspire against the Reds.
The fact that the Cubs have a good chance at looking back up at the Cardinals by the time I hit the publish button isn't really the point. The point is that baseball season is, by definition, a marathon, and we as fans have every right to be excited about the most minute of events.
Like a Manny Ramierez strike out to end a 6-2 win for the Cardinals by Franklin.
That just happened!
Whether it's a perfect game for a franchise debating the question "buyer or seller" at the break, or the jump from second to first, baseball fans get excited for many small reasons to keep interested during a 162 (and sometimes longer) season.
The little blurbs of excitement during a typical ballgame are exactly the way people feel about the baseball season. The long fly ball, or the sweep of a rival. The big 27th out, or the big 1,458th out (assuming only nine innings of 162 games are played...), every fan needs to get excited at intermittent parts of the season.
The game of baseball is different than any other game, and I might be the only baseball fan to admit it, but not every play is exciting. Not every strikeout is electric. And Cubs fans know, not every fly ball is a homer.
But regardless of when you get excited, my whole point is to get excited. It's a long season that has specific points that get us all pumped up. Spring training, the All-Star break, the trade deadline... All of these are points in the season that seem to draw the average fan more to the avid fans side of the baseline.
So get excited that it flies Cubs, Cards, Astros, Brewers, Reds, Pirates. Get excited when Milton Bradley has clearly dropped his shoulder too far, and get excited when Alfonso Soriano swings through ball four, because it's too long of a season to not get excited over the little things.
Just so you know, the game went final on an Alfonso Soriano grand slam. Get excited about that Soriano swing Cubs fans!