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Devastation

I thought that coming home and writing something might help the way I feel, but it's not. I'm just kind of mindlessly hitting the keys, trying to think of some way I can make some good come out of what happened at Wrigley Field tonight.

Okay, here's all I can come up with: we got one out closer to the World Series than we did in 1984.

And right now, even with one game remaining, I think that's as close as we're going to get.

I hate to sound so defeatist, but that was absolutely the most devastating loss I have ever seen in a playoff game, though it wasn't even the worst inning in Cub postseason history -- they blew an 8-0 lead in game four of the 1929 World Series to the Philadelphia A's, allowing ten runs in the seventh inning, partly on an error by Hack Wilson that allowed three runs to score.

Sound familiar?

Click here for the game story of the 8-3 loss to the Marlins, in case you can stand reading about the awfulness that you no doubt witnessed.

Up to then we were starting to tap each other and try to remember how we felt, where we were, who was there; I had arranged for Dave and Brian to drive my son Mark home so I could remain at the ballpark and celebrate the victory.

Well, that's what I get for over-anticipating, and I suppose the rest of the people who've sat out there all year, and for many years, have similar stories of how they were planning to celebrate, five outs away. Mark even got Todd Wellemeyer to throw him a ball (hit by Sammy Sosa) during batting practice, and it was about as pristine white as any BP ball would be, and I thought that was a good omen.

Nope.

It started raining in the second inning, just lightly and only for a few minutes. So maybe that was the good omen.

Nope.

We ate the rally cookies, and Jeff turned on his light-up cap at the appropriate times, and I thought maybe that would work.

Nope.

I told Dave after the horrid inning was over, that this game was a microcosm of our lives as Cub fans. I hate to say this, but even with Kerry Wood on the mound, I simply cannot see any ballclub come back from a loss that crushing. Now, Alex Gonzalez will take his place in Cub history along with Leon Durham, because his error on an easy double-play ball with the score 3-1 Cubs, opened the way for...

Well, you don't need to hear this again, and I'm surely not interested in writing a game recap. I won't even mention the idiot who interfered with Moises Alou's catch of a foul fly by Luis Castillo, because not only did the guy get kicked out, but he got stuff thrown at him by everyone in the stands before he did. Whoever he is, he ought to never again be allowed in Wrigley Field. Okay, so I did mention him, but that's all I can say in polite company.

People in the streets kept milling around after the game, not really knowing what to do or where to go, or maybe thinking that it was all a cruel hoax and that the real score was going to be posted soon, and the Cubs would win. I even heard a couple of people walking down the street offering tickets for tomorrow's game, though I don't know how serious they were.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I thought writing might help be somewhat of a catharsis for what happened tonight at the ballpark, but it's not helping. I am trying to set myself up for disappointment, because I figure that's what we are going to get tomorrow, and I'm already crushed enough, and don't want any more of that. In fact, why doesn't MLB, at the next owners' meeting, just pass a rule: the Chicago Cubs can play as many baseball games as they want, but they will never be allowed to go to the World Series. At least then we'd know.

I would love nothing better than to be wrong about all of this, and to come here tomorrow to write a celebratory post about the huge game seven victory that at last, put the Cubs in the World Series.

It's not going to happen, though. Just as we have been for years, we are doomed to failure. One thing I can tell you is this:

Being a Cub fan is something you are born to, and learn for so many years that failure is a way of life. In some ways, I think it helps you deal with life itself, since so much of life is dealing well with failures. I guess so far, I haven't dealt with this one very well. One day, I think I will, and win or lose, lose, lose, I will remain with my baseball team forever.

Go Cubs.