Chicago is abuzz with the performance of the Chicago Cubs, who last weekend won their first division championship in almost 20 years. The city is now excited about the prospect of the Cubbies’ first World Series appearance since 1945, when a squad of players rejected from the military got their asses handed to them by the Detroit Tigers. I can tell Chicago right now not to worry about it. The Cubs will never win the World Series. Why? It’s a law of nature. Water will flow upward and dinosaurs will walk the earth again before the Cubs win the World Series. There are certain things that are not meant to happen. Dropped toast will always fall buttered side down. Presidents named Bush will always lose re-election. And the Cubs will never win the World Series. Back in the days when I still cared about baseball, I was a rabid Cubs fan. I spent many an afternoon in the Wrigley Field bleachers, drinking Old Style beer, listening to WGN radio and rooting for the Cubs. Back then, Wrigley Field had no lights and bleacher seats cost $2. Yuppies hadn’t yet discovered the place and the only people who went to games were old-timers, stoners and foolishly naive people like me. In 1984, the Cubs were in much the position they find themselves in now. After a miraculously improbable season, they went into the playoffs favored to win the World Series. Being much younger and ignorant of nature’s laws, I foolishly believed that the Cubs stood a chance to win the World Series. I also thought that Walter Mondale could beat Ronald Reagan and that the letters in Penthouse were real. I blew off school to watch the first game of the playoffs on TV. The Cubs hit ball after ball out of the park and won by 11 runs. Chicago was ecstatic. Victory seemed imminent. Parents were naming their children after Ryne Sandberg. And then reality struck back. With two chances to clinch the pennant, the Cubs reverted to historic form. In the final game of the series, an overachieving Padres team beat the living hell out of the Cubs and restored the balance of nature. It was sad but expected. There was no way the Cubs could have reached the World Series then, just as there’s no way they can reach it now. Leaving aside the fact that baseball is an archaic game with all of the excitement of watching paint dry, it’s simply impossible for the Cubs to achieve success. There’s a curse against the team and the city that forever bars them from triumph. God has personally assured that the Cubs will never win the championship. Even having too many former Cubs on your team can also disqualify you. In 1986, the Boston Red Sox, another long-suffering team, were on the verge of winning the Series against the Mets. And then they tempted fate by inserting former Cub Bill Buckner in the game. Buckner let a routine ground ball go between his legs, the Sox lost the Series and a generation of fans now associates Buckner’s name with failure. My advice to Cubs fans is this: Enjoy the games, drink plenty of Old Style and buy all the souvenirs with “Division Champs” on them you can. Just don’t expect the Cubs to win, because your heart will be broken if you hold such hopes. Maybe it’s better this way. Who knows what could happen if the Cubs were actually to win the Series? The polar caps could melt. Massive earthquakes could strike. A plague of locusts could descend. Godzilla could ravage Tokyo. Would Charlie Brown kick a 75-yard field goal if Lucy didn’t pull the ball away from him? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a subject that could legitimately be debated. But Lucy will always pull the football away from Charlie Brown, so such speculation is futile. Maybe the Cubs would become champs if they made it to the Series. But it’s better not to know. Best to play it safe and watch the Cubs go down to glorious defeat.
The California recall
Like the rest of the country, I’ve been watching with amazement as the California recall proceeds into uncharted territory of insanity. Short of a gunfight between Arnold Schwarzenegger and the aptly named Gray Davis, nothing could make this election more bizarre than it is now. Barring a last-minute surge from Larry Flynt or Gary Coleman, it looks like Davis will lose and Arnold will win. That aside, the election sets an interesting precedent. In one way, it’s a continuation of the trend started in the 2000 presidential race: If Republicans don’t like the result of an election, they’ll find any way possible to undo it and put their guy in office. But it can work both ways. That’s why I’m starting a petition to recall President Bush and TV funnyman Ray Romano. It’s important we recall Bush before it’s too late. I don’t want my grandma’s Social Security check to bounce because Bush found a few hundred bucks in the Treasury that he hasn’t spent yet. And I just don’t like Romano, let alone love him. His show has to be the unfunniest comedy since Full House. It’s time for him to go. In their place, I’ll substitute Howard Dean and Jerry Seinfeld. Or maybe I’ll just wait a year and, assuming a fair election will be allowed, let nature take its course.