Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Our Long National Nightmare...

That's right, folks, everything can return to normal. Our long national nightmare is at last at an end. I am, of course, referring to...the baseball offseason. As of today, February 13th, pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training for the Chicago Cubs at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ. We're just two weeks away from Spring Training games, where we can watch our favorite players for one inning before they give way to the superstars (and car salesmen) of tomorrow. And just one month after that, real baseball begins. Sure, we've had football to keep us company since October, but it's not the same. And this week and a half since the Super Bowl has been terrible. Apparently, tall gentlemen have taken to wearing short pants and playing a game called "Baskets-ball" or some such nonsense. This is the first I'm hearing of it. And hockey. Well. I actually like hockey, and even I can't be bothered to watch it with any frequency. If I see a hockey game on TV, I'll look at who's playing and if it isn't the Penguins, Red Wings, or Thrashers; there's zero chance I'm watching. (Those teams each stand about a 25% chance of me watching, but even then it's unlikely I'll watch the whole thing). And with young superstar Sidney Crosby out for months, there's even less excitement.

Then, over on the horizon, you can see a glimmer of light. Is it Apollo's fingers pulling forth the dawn? Is it the Aurora Borealis dancing its graceful spectral ballet? Is it the lamp of a lady, beckoning you to her hidden cottage for comfort and warmth? It is all of these things and more- it is Spring Training. Baseball has returned.

Seriously, this is the best time of year to be a Cubs fan. The optimism of the new season is fresh and the harsh reality of defeat has yet to fall upon our shoulders. All of that, "Wait until next year" crap? Next year is HERE, brother! One hundred years of futility have led to this, and we all expect it to end this October. We're a good team in a bad division, so we've got a real shot. Plus, we made the playoffs last year and this year's team looks a bit better (on paper, anyway). I am ready to waste my time watching baseball once again, and I have a good feeling about the 2008 Cubs. But ask me again in July.

As a side note, the picture I posted is my favorite Cubs logo. It came about in the early 20th century and was the team's logo into at least the 30s or 40s. What amuses me about it is how the bear is holding the bat. They could have gone all cartoony and silly and dressed a bear in a uniform and made it look like he was about to swing, but they didn't. That's the way a bear would actually hold a bat- his opposable thumb-less paws trying desperately to hold it against his body. I can imagine the design meeting:

Whaddya think of this, Marty? I've got a bear that thinks he's people! Big smile on his face, wearing a Cubs uniform, at the plate, taking a big bopper swing! Hachacha!
MARTY: Wait just a minute here, somethin' ain't right. No, no, no, this is all wrong! A bear can't hold a bat like that, Gary! It's madness, absolute poppycock! People want reality, you go draw me a real bear or you're fired, see?

Oh Marty, such a stickler for realism.

Speaking of national nightmares, the writer's strike has finally ended. People go back to work today and new shows should be on the air by April at the latest. Now when I'm writing without being paid, people will just assume that I'm lousy and talentless, not on strike. Oh well.


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