Cubs fans can now go back to their big-city lives and whine some more about what might have been in 2005. Dusty Baker's assemblage managed to win 3 out of 4 against the team of mostly minor-leaguers masquerading as the Cardinals.
Fans of the baby bears are looking at the standings in the paper today and trying to find a scapegoat for this year's episode of "Cubs Flop Again". Oops, did I say goat? Conversation on the "El" will likely focus on how the North-siders are essentially a better team than the one that's 17 games ahead of them in the standings, but Dusty Baker can't manage, or Andy McPhail can't general manage, or Ron Santo isn't exciting enough on the radio, or whatever lame brainwave they can conjure to make themselves feel better and hold someone accountable for the bottom line. And, we all know, every year the Cubs bottom line is that they just aren't a very good baseball organization.
In every sport there are teams like this. Ones that flirt with success from time to time, but can't make the right set of moves to achieve a championship. They have internal, and some would say external, forces working to ensure that the key hit, defensive play, coaching move, or pitch will not be made at the key time to get the key victory. In other words, they have the keys, but not the driver, to make the vehicle work properly. It's not for lack of trying, or money, or fan support. They just lack the right people in the right places. And that boils down to mismanagement.
Look at the Cardinals in football...the (dare I say it) Blues in hockey...the Clippers in basketball. They all are decent, if not very good, most of the time. But their poor management, instability of ownership, or personnel traditions perpetuate a legacy of mediocrity and/or failure. The Cubs, of course, have the ultimate business model.
So, try as they might, Cubs fans can not wish, pray, or root their team to a World Series. Cubbie supporters should take as much joy out of this weekend as they can. We Cardinals fans will be thinking of them when we're gathered around the TV at our World Series parties this year. Nah...probably not. We'll be thinking of how lucky we are to have a team managed by people who care, are smart, and able to turn their passion into positive action.