The Windy City Word

It has been a great summer for Chicago’s north side Cubbies. The sun was shining, the ivy was as green as ever and Wrigley was packed with the best fans in the world.But that is no different from most summers. What separated this year from the last ninety-nine is not what happened during the summer but what is going to happen in the fall.For the first time in a long time it looks like the lovable losers finally have a chance to break all the curses and win that elusive championship.How fitting would it be to have that championship come on the hundred-year anniversary of their last World Series title?When I think about the amount of things that have happened in the last century it is incredible the Cubs did not win a championship thanks to pure dumb luck, but it has always seemed like the ball bounced the wrong way or the other team always got the big hit.Whether it was the ball that rolled through Leon Durham’s legs in 1984 or Alex Gonzalez and the infamous Steve Bartman in 2003, it always seems like things fall into place for the other guys.While we have been close to breakthroughs, we have always found a way to come up short.It doesn’t matter if you believe in curses or goats or any of the other hoodoo crap Cubs fans complain about, the Cubs have been unlucky.But this team is different than any in the past.Our starting rotation boasts five starters with double-digit victories this season and we have a bullpen that is second to none with multiple power arms and shutdown pitchers.The Cubs lineup, top to bottom, is one of the most consistent in the major leagues and all season they have picked each other up when players have been injured.Who would have imagined Reed Johnson, Jim Edmonds and Mike Fontenot playing major roles in a pennant race?But still there have been a few bumps along the way.With Carlos Zambrano and the ever-fragile Rich Harden currently battling lingering injuries, the potentially dominating postseason staff all of a sudden looks a little more manageable for opponents.The lineup that was hitting so consistently all year has been in a serious slump of late during a slide that saw Chicago lose eight out of 11.It would be so easy to use this slide as a sign the Cubs are falling apart and decide to wait for next year like so many Cubs fans and I have done for the last 100 years, but I have faith. This team is different from any other Cubs team in the past.Their resiliency and fight are unparalleled and while I am worried about Big Z and Harden coming back strong, this is the perfect time to give our big guns a break to gear up for the home stretch.Sure we have not been playing the best baseball, but we are still over five games above the Brewers with just 16 games to play.For all the things that have gone against the Cubs, it looks like Mother Nature is on our side as we got this last weekend off thanks to my boy Ike and his hurricane winds.Turning a road trip into a home stand is always a nice treat – Miller Park is basically Wrigley Field North for the Cubs.In the past I would have been hesitant to say that it is in the bag because of the rich history of losing surrounding this team, but I believe and am willing to say with all my heart – and mind – that this is the year for the Cubs.It is time for the curses to come to an end.