Saturday, December 1, 2012

A collection of agony

In a lot of ways, my blog is a bit of an "oddball", for lack of a better term.

Yes, I do like to show "oddballs" themselves quite a bit, but that's not what I'm getting at here.

For the most part, almost all of the bloggers I follow have ties to specific teams within their collections, something that comes across in most of the blogs I read. Whether it's the Rangers, Rockies, or Orioles, there sure are a lot of team-centric blogs here in the blogosphere.

Don't get me wrong, though. I absolutely love reading about the collections of fellow Blue Jays or Dodgers fans. It's allowed me to keep up with certain parts of the game that I never would've cared about otherwise.

That sense of diversity is a large part of what keeps me coming back to the blogs, day after day.

I've just never felt the need to do anything like that with my writings. I collect a lot of things from a lot of different teams. I do my best to equally represent all 30 teams in the bigs.

Still, I'd be lying if I said my Cubs binders were no more important than, say, my Nationals binder. Or my Royals binder.

For better or worse, I am a proud Cubs fan.

Scoring a shiny new Ron Santo or Tony Campana card for my collection gets an extra little "plus" in my book than a new Rickey Henderson.

After all, "Rickey" was never a Cub.

As most fans know, being a Cubs fan in today's game isn't very peachy. Despite what Antonio Alfonseca would have you believe, there isn't a lot of high-fiving and celebrating on the Cubs front. (Which begs the question: Would an Alfonseca high-five be considered a "high-six"?)

Barely any of my cards could be classified under "painful". Somewhere around 0.01 percent of my cards are in that category.

As you might guess, the few that are members of that dubious "club" have some type of tie to the Cubs franchise.

For example...

I come from a long line of baseball fans.

Sour moments such as the ill-fated Brock-for-Broglio swap or the infamous collapse in 1969 are certainly blemishes on the Cubs' lackluster history.

However, I've never received any first-hand accounts of them from family who actually grew up during the time period. So, while I would've loved to see Lou Brock spend his Hall of Fame career in the Windy City, the cards of him as a Cub aren't as painful as others.

Like this one of Mr. Garvey.

I've heard plenty about that '84 NLCS from people who lived through it. And plenty about Steve Garvey's game-winning homer in Game 4, which is chronicled on the front of this UD Piece of History insert.

"Mr. Clean" is the focus of one of my more enjoyable player collections.

But I'll never be able to appreciate this one.

No matter what.

In recent years, the Cubs have actually fared decently in the trade market.

One notable blemish, however, is the swap they made with the White Sox on July 29, 1998.

Jon Garland for Matt Karchner.

I've never heard of Karchner. Garland repeatedly posted double-digit win totals for the South Siders during his tenure with there, as well as being a key piece of their 2005 championship club.

I think it's obvious who got the better end of the deal there.

Which makes my eight "zero-year" cards of Garland among the most painful in my collection.

Don't think I've forgotten about you, Mr. Gonzalez.

Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS was the most painful baseball game I've ever watched.

It's not even close.

That surefire double play Gonzalez butchered in Game 6 of the '03 NLCS paved the way for the monumental collapse. Had the Cubs been able to "turn two" on that play, no one would even remember the name "Steve Bartman". (I've never felt more sorry for a human being than I did for Bartman in the aftermath of that series.)

Had things gone just a little differently... might've been a Cub applying the tag for the final out in the 2003 World Series.

But, no. It was Josh Beckett. 

A Florida Marlin.

Although this is one seriously awesome card, I can't help but remember the disappointment of the Cubs' 2003 season whenever I see it.

It's funny how much emotion a single baseball card can carry.

As far as recent Cub woes go, look no further than Milton Bradley.

Actually, forget it.

I really don't want to talk about him right now.

That look pretty much sums it up.

And it gets even worse.

Things aren't looking all that great for the North Siders in the future. I'd be surprised if they finished anywhere but last in the NL Central next year.

It's going to be a while before the Cubs bear any resemblance to a "contender" again.

Through it all, though, I'll be watching.

Although they have certainly tested my limits in the past, I can truly say that I am and will continue to be a lifelong Cubs fan.

I've often thought about what will happen in the city of Chicago when the Cubbies finally end their drought.

Honestly, I don't think the imagination goes that far.

It would be sheer pandemonium.

One of my deepest wishes is to see the Cubs hoist that championship trophy during my lifetime. It would erase so many bad memories.

No more ill-fated trades. No more booted double play balls. And certainly no more Milton Bradleys.

After 104 years of waiting, I think Cub fans deserve it.

1 comment:

Robert said...

I like what Epstein has done so far. It's going to take some time to right the ship on the north side, but if anyone can do it, Theo can.