The headline, "Sandberg Reportedly Spotted on Michigan Avenue" today confirmed to me that indeed, Cubs hysteria knows no bounds. Never mind that Ryne Sandberg LIVES in Chicago, the fans interviewed by the Trib didn't actually talk or confirm it was Sandberg but "they are 99% sure."
I will say that in listening to the Theo Epstein press conference, my natural Cubbie optimism was put on steroids like Sylvester Stallone preparing for the next RAMBO movie. (why make an analogy referring to corked bat boy at such a joyous time as this, right?)
Indeed optimism has reappeared from the garlic banishment called "this season" to invade the ivy, Waverland and bring a twinkle to the eye of Ernie's statue. If Cub management decided to have a Theo exhibition next week, I have no doubt that 20,000 would show up just to start picking season ticket selections to put on their Christmas Wishlist.
As bad as we were before, hiring an executive that took a perennial looser like Boston to not just one but two World Series has us all fantasizing worse than a "no sex before marriage" athlete on his wedding night. Can you even believe that ESPN's Michel Wilbon asked Mr. Epstein on PTI if he would reach out to Steve Bartman, the infamous 2003 scapegoat blamed for keeping the Cubs 5 outs from their first World Series appearance since the Noah and the Flood. HE IS STILL A CUBS FAN FOR GOSH SAKES! (Uhhh Mr. Michael Wilbon Professional Sports Analyst? You do realize he has NOTHING to do with Cub team, the Cub players, the Cub farm system…right?)
I'll admit, even I, a sane, level headed, mature, analytical PolitiJim (why are you laughing so hard?), began experiencing butterflies in my stomach during the Epstein press conference the way I'm sure a 12 year old girl feels at a Justin Bieber concert. Man crush indeed. But I did begin to come a bit back toward reality when I realized the sighting of Sandberg brought up the same emotions I had as a kid on Christmas Eve when Tom Skilling sees Santa on radar.
Can you really blame us for being a little bit happy? (I told you never to bring up Andy McPhail, Lou Pinella or the Chicago Tribune spending spree again!) And honestly, if the Cubs announced the firing of Quade, even I wouldn't be upset with Barack Obama declaring the rest of the week a national holiday. But hiring Ryno on top of that!?? Be still my cubbie heart.
But alas - this is what it means to be a Cub Fan. And Cubs = hope. Whether it is ever realized or not.
Go crazy, Cub Fans, Go.