Dear Cubs fans,
I get it. Hope springs eternal in Wrigleyville. This year is the year, you declare, just as you and your ancestors have done each April since 1908.
Hey, when you have no past to celebrate, the future is the only dimension in time that matters.
Except, this year is different. You really believe it. Not just emotionally, but economically. And you are backing your irrational exuberance with greenbacks.
It’s like when a pretty girl smiles at you from across the room at a junior high dance. Except you have jumped from the box step to picking out wedding rings.
You really think your Cubs are going to win the World Series.
It is time for an intervention.
This is your wakeup call. Put back your wallets. Keep your day job. No need to clear your October calendar.
It is not going to happen.
There is a fine line between passion and perspective when it comes to believing in your baseball team.
Las Vegas bookies are counting on Cubs’ fans to ignore the difference. So far, they are both correct and giddy.
Vegas bookies set the odds at 6-1 for the Cubs to win it, all and Chicago fans are gobbling it up. More than twice as much money has been bet on Chicago as any other team.
“Every year, they bet the Cubs,” Jeff Stoneback, assistant manager at MGM race and sports, told ESPN.com. “I could be their ace and you could be their No. 2 starter, and they’d still bet them.”
With the addition of manager Joe Maddon and a promising young nucleus this season, the wagers have skyrocketed.
“It plays right into Cubs fans’ wildest dream, a dream that has almost no chance of happening this season,” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Morrissey wrote in lamenting the fans’ gullibility.
“But tell your more ardent follower of this franchise that there is a chance, and he or she slaps down money on the possibility of a Cubs championship parade. Tell him or her the chance is a decent one and watch the disposable income go down the disposal.”
Now, I am not ready to write off the Cubs in early April but agree that laying down hard earned cash at 6-to-1 is simply silly.
Yes, baseball is the sport where teams can make a leap to the top more than any other. We only need to be reminded that the Kansas City Royals catapulted to the 2014 World Series.
And yes, the Cubs should be significantly better behind ace Jon Lester and a trove of exceptional talent making its way from Triple-A Iowa.
And yes, former Boston wunderkind Theo Espstein has the front office magic to turn things around quickly.
But, wait. You hear that phone ringing? That is reality calling. Remember that Chicago is 86 games under .500 over the past three seasons, a time that saw consecutive fifth-place finishes.
Chicago fans hope for a winner. No doubt about that. But they have been hoping for over a hundred years. If baseball was simply a game of mathematical chance, the law of averages would have delivered at least one trophy to the corner of Clark and Addison.
Maybe they are due. Maybe the Cubs finally will raise a next World Series flag.
Chicago fans have been waiting for “next year” 106 straight years. Some might call that a trend that is tough to buck.
So, if you are the least bit tempted, splash some cold water on your face and don’t bet on it. In Vegas, a lot of Cub fans aren’t listening.