By Julie DiCaro–
(CBS) Let’s be honest, we Cubs fans aren’t known for our Teflon psyche. Oh sure, we’ve stuck with the team through thick and thin, but that’s more attributable to family, stubbornness and outdated notions of loyalty than any real strength of character. In this town, you’re born into your Cubs fandom, and rejecting it is tantamount to punching Uncle Carmine in the nose at Aunt Lou’s wake. When it comes right down to it, Cubs fans are pretty emotionally fragile.
Given the the decades of trauma inflicted on us by the likes of Todd Hundley, Roberto Novoa and Neifi Perez, it’s no wonder Cubs fans are emotionally vulnerable as we head into Game One of the NLDS. Just look:
These poor people! Have you ever seen a fan base in such angst over a team that won 103 games? Don’t answer that … you haven’t.
Cubs fans, this is no way to go through the postseason. Hell, this is no way to go through spring training. Accordingly, here’s some advice on what you can do to calm your mind and soul ahead of Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday night between the Cubs and Giants.
Ignore the national media
The Cubs have been off for four days, and every baseball writer in America has forgotten how good they are. Just Friday morning, I heard three different analysts express how worried the Cubs should be about playing the Giants, a team with a .417 winning percentage in the second half who snuck into the postseason with 87wins and the second wild card. What’s that? The Giants have won four straight? So have the Cardinals. Thanks for playing.
Don’t dwell on 1989
Not that I don’t have a lot of love for Mike Bielecki, Les Lancaster, Vance Law and the Boys of Zimmer, it’s just that, to this day, the mention of Will Clark causes my right eye to twitch uncontrollably. Yes, that was the last time the Cubs faced the Giants in the postseason, back in 1989, but the Cubs couldn’t be more different today than from back then. For example, the current Cubs roster was constructed from the ground up by really smart guys on the cutting edge of scouting and analysis. The 1989 team was the definition of catching lightning in a bottle and was constructed largely of three Hall of Famers and some duct tape borrowed from the Tribune. To put it in terms everyone can understand, the 2016 Cubs are the 1927 Yankees compared to the ’89 team. Cast off your demons!
Don’t start drinking too early
I get it, the only way some of us are going to survive the NLDS is with a steady dose of liquid courage. But look, the Cubs have the late game Friday. So even though the urge to self-medicate may have started the moment your feet hit the floor Friday morning (or, if you’re like me, around the sixth inning of of the Red Sox-Indians game on Thursday night), pace yourself. I can’t emphasize this enough. What you’re looking for is a slow build until 8:15 p.m.
Also, what you drink is as important as how much you drink. Just look at the ridiculous suggestions I got when I asked for Cubs-inspired cocktails:
In a pinch, just put a couple of drops of blue food coloring in a gin and tonic. Can’t go wrong.
Forget the ‘even-year’ garbage
OK, so the Giants won the World Series in 2014, 2012 and … uh, 2010 .. you know what? Let’s just skip this one.
Don’t cry in front of your kids
Think about how traumatized you’ve been in your life by angry goats, black cats, booted double-play balls and Daniel Murphy. Then take all of that and add to it your mom or dad sobbing in front of the television. Be strong and think of the children.
Most of all, know that you’re not alone. Millions of us will be sitting in front of the television Friday, alone, rocking back and forth, rubbing blankies or doing whatever other form of self-soothing that has gotten us this far.
My grandmother was born in 1909. She was a huge Cubs fan who loved going to Wrigley Field for “Ladies Day.” She lived through both World Wars, the Great Depression and 1984, 1989 and 2003 before passing away in 2004. She survived all that. We can survive tonight and what lies ahead.