It has finally arrived. With the predictability of the swallows returning to Capistrano, with the inevitability of a murderer returning to the scene of a crime, and with the insatiable hunger of Homer returning to the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet, my baseball anxiety has returned.
Speaking of predictability, the major media baseball experts have, by and large, jumped on the Cubs blue bandwagon - at least for the regular season.
The Chicago Tribune experts all picked the Cubs to win the Central Division. So did all nine experts on the MLB network. ESPN found four people out of twenty-one to not pick the Cubs to win the Central: Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Peter Pascarelli, and Chris Singleton all picked the Cardinals instead of the Cubs. I have never seen expectations for this team higher than they are right now. It scares the hell out of me.
It is hard to deal with lofty expectations as a Cubs fan. You see the team on paper compared with the other teams in the division and you almost have to go with the Cubs. It is sitting there as plain as the football being held in place by Lucy for Charlie Brown to kick.
This leads to the inevitable question: When does the football get yanked away? How will it happen this year?
We've had two great regular seasons in a row followed by monumentally staggering displays of baseball ineptitude in the playoffs. Will the baseball gods follow the same formulaic script? Will they pull out new twists and turns? Perhaps whatever pod people got ahold of Fukudome last year will end up replacing other members of the Cubs with perfect likenesses, minus any baseball talent.
On the other end of the spectrum, could this possibly be the year that the planets align, hell freezes, and the Cubs overcome the weight of a failed century? It certainly is possible. Of course, it’s possible that I’ll be hit by lightning while being attacked by a shark after winning the lottery.
When I wrote for my college newspaper back in the day, I used to volunteer to fill space in the sports section with baseball predictions. I look back on them now and realize that either I am an idiot, or that the game of baseball can be mercilessly unpredictable.
That said, I can make one prediction that I know will come true no matter how the season works out: I will be losing a lot of sleep this summer.
I can't wait.