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Your Turn

I don't have a lot more to say, and I'm trying to get back to feeling positive about tonight, though it's not easy.

So, I am going to turn over this space to some e-mail I have received since last night's disaster.

First, from my dad:

You may be right about the devastating psychological effect on the Cubs of the Marlins' essentially unearned victory. But maybe an outstanding pitching performance by Wood tonight will result in a miracle.

On the subject of the moron's interference with the ball: Perhaps each stadium should put up a short fence to prevent interference of the type that occurred tonight. In any event, regardless of where the ball was, whether barely inside the wall or not, the ground rules should be amended to provide that any interference with a POSSIBLE catch by the fielder will be ruled interference.

From my friend David Geiser, as a reply to some things I wrote to him:

I think we need to keep in perspective how good this team really is. Fact is, they are NOT that good. They are in the post-season because of a weak division and they got hot at the right time. They're different in that it's October, and they have been hot for a month and a half, which is something that a Cubs team never does.

The thing is, even in the midst of the hot streak, this team has experienced losses like last night's. The second game in San Juan was very similar. The Cubs won 6 of 8 after that one. The third game in the last Cincinnati series was similar. The Cubs came out of that with a double-header sweep and a Division title two days later.

Of course these games lacked the gravity of what happened last night, but there is a history here - a RECENT history - of remarkable resiliency. And that resiliency is a necessity, because this team has weaknesses and those weaknesses are going to show up in ugly ways at times. Slightly above average teams that win NLDS's and go 3-3 in NLCS's don't get that far by folding when the chips are down.

I feel good about Kerry Wood showing up tonight with loins girded and ready for battle. As you said, I expect Alou to show up pissed. I feel good about the hometown crowd.

Don't do anything different tonight, Al. Go through all of the rituals because tonight is just like any other.

Well, except for what the result means for the winner and the loser of this game.

And finally, from Tom Kamnikar, who's been reading here for several months now, and who e-mailed me some good suggestions back in June when I went to Washington:

You have to believe. I know this loss was horrible, crushing, absolutely insurmountable. But we've run into these games before. And EVERY game you had a positive spin on it. You looked forward to tomorrow and brought my spirits up. Every time the bullpen blew it you had some reason for me not to worry about the next day. You've been a true Cub fan hanging in there until the end. Ever the optomist. You can't give up now with one game to go. We have to be die-hards here. We have to"cowboy up" as they say. This is where the true Cubs fan and the others seperate themselves. We have to be able to walk into work tomorrow and when all our co-workers say "what happened?" we have to respond 'we got beat, but we will get them tomorrow.'

You say being a Cub fan has prepared you for dealing with failure in life. I say being a Cub fan has taught me to look on the bright side of any situation and put a positive spin on it. Being a Cub fan has taught me that no matter how bad it is, there's always tomorrow.

I've been a Cubs fan all my life. My Dad was born in Joliet in 1939 and grew up loving the Cubs. We moved around a lot due to his job and lived in DC, Denver, Sacramento, and finally South Dakota. And everywhere we went we watched the Cubs. Dad and I didn't have a ton of things in common but the Cubs was our one constant. When we lived in Sacramento we managed to get playoff tickets to go see the Cubs and Giants. The outcome wasn't the best but the experience will stay with me forever. I remember my dad looking down at his crushed 14 yr old son and smiling say "we'll get em next year."

In 1998 we got tickets to go see the Cubs and Braves at Wrigley in the NLDS. We only had 2 tickets each night (Saturday and Sunday) so the plan was Dad and I would go to the first game and then him and my mom (also a die hard) would go to the second game. Of course you know they didn't make that second game. But the memories i have from that magical night will last me forever. I got to throw my "O Henry" candy bar on the field when O'Henry hit that double off of Maddux. I remember they had to stop the game for 5 minutes to clean it all up... I remember after we lost.. the stadium playing "Time of your life" over the loud speakers and the Cubs coming out to greet the crowd. My poor mom was stuck over in the Cubbie Bear but she just said "Next time I get to go." That's my folks for you.

The point of all this is to try and cheer you up. We're down, but we're not out. We have Kerry Wood going tomorrow. We have Dusty Baker in the locker room probably as we speak talking to the team and letting them know the same thing I'm trying to convey- "Hope Lives"

And let's not blame that fan. By the pictures he looks barely into his 20's if that. I keep picturing myself in his situation. You're a die-hard Cubs fan and your team is 5 outs away from going to the World Series and a ball heads towards your seat. He wasn't even looking at Moises. He just wanted a souvenir. He didn't know any beter. Can you imagine what he must have to live with right now. You're a bigger fan than me. Imagine how you would feel if you accidentally caused them to lose the game. But he didn't. Prior ran out of gas, Gonzo bobbled a ball, and Farnsworth served up a meat ball. We got beat. But we're not beaten.

So cheer up. You of all people have to snap out of the funk. You are the one who gives hope to the rest of us. You are the one who always has a 'Wait till Next year' attitude. Well next year is here. It's 12:03am here in Sioux Falls South Dakota, and the losing ends tonight.

Hope is hurt, but lives on, if only in the hearts of Cubs fans everywhere.

Thanks, you guys. I feel better already.

Let's win it tonight, in a game for the ages.