“By accepting the inevitability of defeat, a Cubs fan can actually live a better life, become a better person. A Cubs fan is a Buddhist. He or she knows that life is suffering and that relief from that suffering comes only by giving up all expectation and desire for victory. In its place, you receive the gift of right now, which is Wrigley Field on a perfect summer day when a breeze is wreaking havoc in the ivy. Whereas my father curses the TV and second-guesses the manager, I understand the term ‘preordained.’ He believes the outcome is in doubt. I know it has all happened before and will all happen again. He was born years before me but, in a way, I am the older man. By wearing the hat with the red C, you tell everyone your kingdom is not of this world.”—Rich Cohen, "A Cub Fan’s Fear of Winning," The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2015
When Rich Cohen wrote this, Cubs fans would have been ecstatic simply for a wild-card berth. They had become all too used to all kinds of misfortune, such as the famous "black cat" incident in a crucial series with the New York Mets back in 1969, as captured in this photo. Now, after defeating the two teams that bested them in their division in the regular season this year—the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals—all bets are off.
After much anguish for their fans, the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays have stamped out the rebellion against their dominion. It’s a different world in the National League, though. As I write this, the Cubs and the Mets are in the National League Championship Series. Who would have guessed that at the start of this year?
It just goes to show: in a short baseball playoff series, anything is possible.