I'm not unrealistic. I'm not delusional. I know the Cubs aren't going to win anything, other than (if they're lucky) some 15 more meaningless regular-season games, this year.
But I have decided to keep hoping against hope anyway.
I had a moment Saturday, sometime between when Geovany Soto's second double bounced into the gap in left-center and when Aramis Ramirez was thrown out trying to score on the play, when I flashed back to June 29, 2007.
The Cubs fell behind 5-0 to the Brewers in the top of the first that day; Rich Hill got roughed up. It looked like early curtains on the Cubs' season, as a loss would have dropped them eight and a half games back of Milwaukee and given the Crew all kinds of momentum for the remainder of the series.
But the Cubs chipped away at the lead, closing to 5-3 by the time the bottom of the ninth rolled around. Ryan Theriot flew out to start that frame, but Alfonso Soriano singled, then scampered around to third on a Mike Fontenot single.
Derrek Lee hit a sacrifice fly to bring Aramis Ramirez to the plate as the winning run with two outs, and the rest, as they say, is Francisco Cordero's recurring nightmare.
Then there was the game in September of that year, when Mark DeRosa capped another three-run ninth-inning rally with a game-winning single. Or the one in 2008, when the Cubs trailed the Rockies 8-0 early, and came back to win.
Or the one against Cleveland this season, when they overcame a 7-0 deficit, and won in extra innings. That one came right on the heels of a similarly great comeback against the White Sox, featuring a Derrek Lee game-tying grand slam.
So many times over the past three years, the Cubs have dazzled us with remarkable comebacks. The whole second half of 2007 was one: they were eight and a half games out on June 23rd, and it would take all the way until August 17 for them to climb into first place alone.
The magic that has been so lacking this season (witness Saturday itself, when the game-tying double by Soto lost all of its shine as Carlos Marmol gave the game away in the Cincinnati ninth) was what made those teams special.
And I see no reason to accept that it is gone. No, the Cubs likely won't catch the Cardinals. But if I refuse to accept that, if I keep rooting as hard and as desperately as I did in 2007 and 2008, I will have fun for the rest of the year.
I will be seeing a game everyone else is missing, one where every pitch still counts and where something incredible could occur at any moment. I will be fulfilling the duty of a true Cubs fan, after all. We are nothing, I submit, if not master craftsmen in the art of self-deception. we are nothing, I submit, if not blindly faithful.
Hey, none of you have to follow me. If you all want to give up, if you find it suits you best to look toward 2010 with hope, if the feeling you get from trying to map out the offseason is a comforting sort of control, then go ahead.
Forget about the game on September 18 of last year, when the Cubs were down to their final out and trailing the Brewers by four runs, before Ramirez hit an RBI double, and Soto tied the game with a three-run homer, and Lee hit a walk-off single in the 12th.
You can quit on this team, and dismiss this team, just like so many have over the last three seasons.
It's just not a good idea.