The Puerto Rican press has finally noticed the Cubs’ season, Geovany Soto’s presence notwithstanding. The island’s press is very New York oriented and the Mets, with Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltrán, have dominated the pages this season, as usual.
Today, though, daily El Vocero published an article about the Cubs titled “Why the Cubs in 2008,” written by long-time fan and journalist, Juanma García. It’s written in Spanish, so I understand not everyone can read it. Therefore, I translated or summarized the most interesting parts of the article:
The author starts mentioning several phrases familiar to Cubs’ fans everywhere, like “Tinkers to Evers to Chance” and “Let’s play two.” He also mentions that the Cubs haven’t won a championship since 1908.
“But it wasn’t always like that. The Cubs were once baseball’s superfranchise, having won 116 games in 1906 and the World Series champions in 1907 and 1908. But then a 99 year drought ensued. Until today.”
The author then puts the drought in historical perspective: Since 1908, García writes:
- “Radio was invented for fans to hear their team lose.
- Television was invented and then we could not only hear them lose; we could see them lose, too.
- MLB added 14 more teams so we could see and hear the Cubs lose against more teams.
- Haley’s Comet passed near Earth twice.
- Harry Caray was born and died.
- The NBA, the NHL and the NFL were created and other Chicago teams have won championships.
- There have been 10 elected governors in Puerto Rico and 17 presidents in the United States.
- Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico became states. (Note: Actually, Oklahoma entered the Union on November 16, 1907, so García is wrong on that one.)
- The Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida Marlins and the neighboring Chicago White Sox have won the World Series.
- Finally, the Cubs have played more than 14,900 regular season games, losing most of them.”
García then makes a personal recollection of the Cubs postseason games he’s witnessed. “In my adult life,” he writes, “I have been able to suffer, I mean, follow this team as an avid fan.”
The author then recalls what happened in those games he personally witnessed, like Steve Garvey’s homer and Leon Durham’s error in the 1984 playoffs against the Padres. He also recalls how he was in Chicago in 1989, back from a mission in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, and saw Will Clark eliminate the Cubs in the postseason with a hit against Mitch Williams.
In 2003, the author went to Atlanta with his then 12 years old son (a Braves fan). Braves catcher Javy López got them tickets. After the Cubs won the series, García and his son took a train to Chicago and then he recalls the Bartman game. It’s funny how the author recalls the game, hitter by hitter, after the fly to the stands that Moisés Alou couldn’t catch:
“Mark Prior is still in the game. Juan Pierre hits a double. Mark Prior is still in the game; throws a wild pitch. Mark Prior is still in the game. Iván Rodríguez hits an RBI single. Mark Prior is still in the game. Miguel Cabrera grounds a ball to the shortstop but Álex González makes an error. Mark Prior is still in the game. Derrek Lee hits a 2 RBI double. Mark Prior is removed from the game. When the eight inning ends, the Marlins have an 8 to 3 lead. The goat bleated that night and the sixth game was lost in the most absurd way possible (the author wrote seventh game, obviously by mistake because he had earlier identified the game as the sixth of the series). At Clark and Addison that October night, the curse was evident once more.”
Then, the author recalls last year, when after the Cubs won their division, starter Carlos Zambrano was yanked by Manager Lou Piniella in the sixth inning of a tied playoff game and reliever Carlos Mármol allowed a home run to the first batter he faced. The Cubs lost the series against Arizona in three games.
The newspaper article finishes with the following paragraph:
“Ryan Dempster said at the spring training camp that there are not many teams around who have been playing 100 years without winning a championship. I join Dempster’s words: Go Cubs!”
I know this fanpost is very long, but I felt it was needed because not everyone here can read the original article in Spanish. How appropriate that this was published today, Saturday, September 20, 2008, when the Cubs are about to clinch the Central Division.