Right around the time winter finally hit Chicago I was teased with a small summer preview. My spirit aches to smile into the yellow summer sun on a hot day, cool beverage in hand and hopefully plenty of hot women nearby. Instead, a cool Friday turned into a cold Saturday that turned into a frigid Sunday which is now an absolutely freezing Monday.
I’m so far away from my yellow dreams that all the world has a blue pall about it. Winter is death, and it’s cold unloving embrace reached out and took me into her arms, extinguishing any warm memories I may have of my boys of summer.
Baseball needs to get here already.
This point was driven home by the Cubs Convention which was held over this weekend. It was my very first time attending such an event. I’m not the type of fan that would normally go to these types of things.
Most other fans would call me a cynic.
I’m the guy that waits for it all to come flying apart at the most opportune time. I’ve been taught by the cruelest of gods, the baseball gods, that life is pain and agony, that waiting for the best will only expose you to soul crushing misery when your hopes and dreams come crashing down on you in waves of bumbled groundballs, a sudden loss of control, injured arms, or an offense that disappears at the most critical of times.
Being a Cubs fan has taught me how to lament.
I thought that experience was universal for all Cubs fans. I didn’t know what to expect at CubsCon. I’ve of course heard the stereotypes of Cubs fans that don’t know the team and show up to Wrigley just for the beer. Those fans do exist, but CubsCon itself showed the other type of Catuli Fultus.
The die hard.
The old woman that cried when 2003 had officially come apart was there. So was the guy who dabbed his tear stained cheeks as 34 took those last steps towards the dugout in a Cubs uniform, met by a son that loves him, cheered by a crowd that adores him. I even saw the couple that lived through 69, 84, and 03.
The fandom at CubsCon is one that rides the turbulent waves of Cubs baseball. I saw fans that weathered all the storms of heartbreak and will come back to do it again next year.
I saw hope personified.
Some of it isn’t for me, the cynic. Some of it is for the type of fan that would show up to CubsCon year in and year out, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s what the convention is for, after all.
And while some of it wasn’t for me, I felt as much a part of it as the group of women that showed up to all the conferences donning Cubbie Cow hats, or the fans that cried when Ron Santo died, and even the fans that stood in awe of Theo Epstein (to be honest, I was also in awe of Theo, I just didn’t want to show it).
We’re still pretty far away from even the faintest hints of Cubs baseball, P’s and C’s don’t report for another few weeks, and Spring Training feels so far away.
Everything around us is dormant, including the baseball heartbeat of this city. If you stood out and listened closely enough you can hear the faint echoes of that heart slowly start to come to life.
Just underneath the surface of a cold winter you can see the seeds of baseball begin to grow.
Cubs Convention jump started a basic need to have my daily companion back in my life. While the Cubs probably won’t be competitive this year, it’s easy to believe that their plan will bear fruits of competition. Hell, maybe we’re even seeing the guys that will be the core that finally gets it done.
Cubs prospect Tony Zych said, “They’ve instilled that in us, ‘you guys are the guys that are going to win the World Series,'” as he was talking to a group of Cubs fans during a prospects panel.
It’s nice to dream about such things.