I was waiting in a Wrigleyville Subway when I saw that big, beautiful goose egg under the H for hits signifying that Carlos Zambrano
was taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning. I had checked the Cubs' Web site
earlier today to see what channel they'd be playing on, but it didn't list one so I thought the game wouldn't be televised. I was excited that I wasn't stuck with the Browns/Steelers game after all. I hustled home to watch Big Z mow down the remainder of the batters he faced to become the first Cubs pitcher since Milt Pappas
in 1972 to fire a no-hitter in a Cubs uniform. I sent a text to my brother, an even bigger Cubs fan than I. He had considered making the trip to Milwaukee but didn't because his kids have school tomorrow -- it's the same call my mother would have made when we were growing up.
As a Cubs fan, I'll never forget the sequence of events and nuances leading up to watching this slice of Cubs history. It'll be seared into my memory -- like when my dad made me stay up in 1984 to learn the definition of heartbreak from a guy named Steve Garvey. Like when I rushed home from school in 1998 with my friend Jon because we had gotten word that a fresh-faced Cubs pitcher named Kerry Wood was threatening to break to single-game strikeout record. And like watching the world fall apart with scores of fellow displaced Cubs fans in a Sarasota, Fla. bar on a balmy October evening in 2003.
This doesn't happen. The Cubs are never this far ahead in the standings this late into the season. Our pitchers don't throw no-hitters. This is frivolous. Is it time to start allowing ourselves to believe once again? Is it time to allow ourselves, as fans, to become vulnerable again -- susceptible to oh-so-imaginable disappointment?
If something like this -- a no-hitter -- can happen at Wrigley North
, I argue that anything can happen at Wrigley proper
. Belief is knocking on the door, checking the windows, trying hard to creep in. Like 1984. Like 1989. Like 1998. Like 2003. Like last year. You can't help but allow it to creep in as a Cubs fan. If this isn't a sign that this is a year unlike any other, what is?
If this isn't a sign that these Cubs may not be subject to the same heartbreak hoo-doo as teams from years past, I don't know what is.
It won't stop raining here. A state of emergency
has been declared in Cook County. It was an extraordinary and powerful act of nature that drove the Astros north to Milwaukee
in the first place. It will take another act of nature to fulfill our perhaps-unwarranted, certainly ill-advised belief in these Cubs.
I was certain I wouldn't witness history. I was certain Darin Erstad
would ruin everything. I was in a state of highly guarded optimism when I watched it. Where were you?