This is personal and it's long.
It will contain subject matter you might think of as "about a curse", so if that doesn't interest you I apologize and please come back some other time.
Some odd things happened during this last playoff period that affected me.
Things that threw off my mojo balance.
First, Paul Newman died.
When I was a senior in high school, we had a "study hall" where they asked us if we wanted to study or watch a movie...
They had a choice of about 5, so once a week I got to watch "Cool Hand Luke".
It turned into and is still my favorite movie of all time, with stunning work from Mr. Newman and a superstar cast including Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton, and George Kennedy.
Anyway, I think he was a national treasure and the kind of significant loss that makes the world shake a little.
I read the CHICAGO TRIBUNE every morning, and I'm sure they warned us but...
One day I got up, went outside, and there on my front porch was a paper, but when I opened it they'd completely re-designed it.
Like picking up my coffee and taking a sip of tomato juice.
I'm kinda used to it now, but this was just the kind of thing that makes me go look in the mirror to make sure it's me.
Then, the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover.
It's a curse so powerful and true, you don't even have to be an oddball like me to know it's significance.
When Sutter told me there was a fabulous article in SI about the Cubs, all I wanted to know is if the Cubs were on the cover.
I couldn't even talk about it.
Naturally after all that, I was the walking freaked.
If you read this blog, you already know about the Man with the Owl Eyes.Seeing this weird guy (and his son, who had the same eyes, I just didn't paint him) at both Wrigley playoff games, once at Bernie's and the next night getting off the el, was just the mad capper of the week.
Last year the season-ending weirdness came in a small baggie.
The cremated ashes of The Judge, who's presence at a particularly impossible comeback Cub victory led us to decide he should come to a couple more games rather than be spread around Wrigley Field.
In addition to it being pretty cool for him to get some extra time at the games, he was good luck.
And after the final loss to the Diamondbacks we finally decided to do what we were supposed to do, and in the process found out about the Secret Society of People Who Spread The Ashes Of Deceased Cub Fans At Wrigley.
And this year the Man with Owl Eyes.
I am sure I bring this on myself, I totally understand that.
But as soon as I saw him on the sidewalk at game 2, I knew disaster was gonna happen.
How Big Z kept it together amazed me, with the game ruined by errors in inning two.
And in the end there were capital E's by every single guy in the infield.
That doesn't happen to anybody but the Cubs.
Anyway, I'm not saying it was a curse or the goat or a black cat or even the Man with Owl Eyes.
I'm just sayin'.
Somewhere late during game 2, I went to the men's room.
Inside was a giant, mostly quiet crowd.
Inside they also play the AM 720 Cubs broadcast, and since it was between innings Pat Hughes was doing a live commercial.
It went something like this: "...And now you can buy the new book "Hoodoo: Unraveling the 100-Year Mystery of the Chicago Cubs..."
Everybody knows it's about curses and bad luck, and without missing a beat one guy went "F$#@ YOOOUUUUUU!"
Then we all laughed.
Then the Cubs lost.
The day after the first loss to the Dodgers in the National League Dismantling Series, Oif comes in my office kinda concerned and says, "Be careful - they will break your heart."
I think I said, "right" and ate another Frito.
I was so cocky, so positive.
But the signs were everywhere.
"It's Gonna Happen!" they warned.
Remember the Dusty Question: Why Not Us?
Every year since, my brother Grog calls with the answer, "It's the Cubs, dude."
And every year I go, "Oh yeah."
It's not the first time I've borrowed this elegant scene from Charles M. Schulz, and I'm sure it's not going to be the last.
Based on the way the Cubs played in this playoff series, I'm starting to think maybe there really IS so much pressure that NOBODY, not any team of superstars will be able to overcome it, ever.
Which is the hook, right?
Part of being human is the curse of hope... wait, let me rephrase...
Part of being human is the ability to hope, and hope makes you also think one day Lucy's gonna hold that ball steady and you'll get to kick it so hard it won't come down til next Spring.
And because the ride has been so unbelievably long and hellish, that kick will be the sweetest of all time.
So, I'm gonna keep doing this blog even though it won't always be about the Cubs and it won't always be every day.
Baseball's still happening...we've got the Bears and the Hawks and Bulls and expensive gas and global warming and, you know...fun with Roger Clemens yet to come.
So there's stuff to make funny paintings about, and I am getting better with the art so... hang around and lets wait for next year together.
Thanks to everyone for visiting - I went over 300 subscribers recently, which is amazing for a little one guy operation.
And thank you, all you Constant Commenters, for making this blog so much more interesting and fulfilling (and I'm sure I've forgotten some, please forgive): DB, Bud (the Commish), Hayley, Kerry, Sarah, Ryen, Dotmom, Mark C, Olson, Flack Flynn and E, Maria, Scott Johnson, Cubby Dude, Maim, Wolden, J, Don G, Liana, Rob and Deb, Donna, Lisa, Kevin, Texas Gal, Dylan S, Nephew Tommy, Brad, Andy Jenkins, Mooregon, Brad, Cubby Julie and her gang at LOHO (who let me stick paintings up there once in awhile), Darko V, Josh P, Jenks, Jim Garner, Head in the Ivy, kmac, Jeffy777, Kevin M. Hill, dbt, Frank, other Don, SR, Rob, J the Cerebral Clown, and The Communicatrix who got me to start blogging way back when, and who's unique blog is linked under "art friend's blogs".
Also, thanks to my cool family for putting up with this thing.
Well, that sure didn't end well.
On purpose, I slept on it so this post wouldn't be the stream of profanity it might have been last night.
If you kept the tv on, when they finally got to Lou he tried to sum it up with the bats, that 6 runs in 3 games won't get it done.
And he's right about that.
But I think he just wanted to get out of there - nobody wants to be in a long losing interview.
So he simplified.
Because this was also a failure of all the moving parts, and a failure of all the circuitry, and that's alot of failure to talk about.
Last night in the first inning it was the defense again - Aramis missed the tag (or so said the ump) on Alfonso's throw to third.
Should have been an out.
And then when Loney hit to right and Bowa waved Manny around to score, that throw beat him.
But it was up the line.
Should have been an out.
Should have still been zero to zero instead of deep in a hole in the first freaking inning.
But for me, today isn't really the day for dissection.
Today's the day to mourn, to try and get some of that emotion out and try to get back to normal.
So if you leave a comment today, go ahead and let it fly.
I feel bad for the team, and I feel bad for me and you.
It just wasn't supposed to end like that.
I'm makin' raspberry pancakes.
"Hey dad, how come your hat's inside out."
"Remember at the park that one time when the Cubs were down and..."
"Oh yeah... rally cap."
All day long.
The for-the-whole-season rally cap.
Don't for one second think anything but v-i-c-t-o-r-y.
Because today the rally begins.
Well, I did everything I could to make my own stupid little superstition world right.
The day before (the day of the 5 PM game), we took the el for the first time this season, and everything went wrong after.
I told you yesterday - there was a complete lack of energy in the air.
I felt unusual and insisted we do something normal by hauling into Bernie's, which was packed.
I was standing with Sutter on that step leading from the back patio into the bar - it was the only open area.
Behind Sutter, there was this old guy with gigantic owl eyes, like he couldn't quite see so he had them open as far as he possibly could.
Then, I saw his son - guy about 35 with the exact same eyes.
I even made Sutter look because it gave me the fear.
And then we met up with Sutter's wife Marsha and went into the park for the Dempster Disaster.
In my superstition world, if you re-do the bad thing, you "even" it out.
So last night I took the el again, to undo the taking of the el the night before.
When I got off I immediately felt the good energy in the air.
Everybody started yelling Go Cubs!
Thank God, it was all back to normal.
I stepped onto the sidewalk and there he was again.
The old guy and his son with the owl eyes.
I immediately went into whatever bar that is on the corner and had a whiskey.
Honestly I'm not crazy, but some things just freak me out.
Then I walked all the way over to where I would normally park in the alley, turned around and walked to the park.
Okay so that does sound odd, but whatever.
The game started with such promise - Z in command, Manny arguing with the ump already, and then Alfonso with a good swing and the single to left.
But then came the most unbelievable inning of all time.
The longest, most excruciating error filled inning ever, and it appeared that the calmest person on the field was Carlos Zambrano.
You know, nobody gave up - it was still loud after that.
But I heard a woman say, "Oh my God! There must actually be something to this curse."
And I have no other place to go, guys.
I hate the curse, I try not to be a curse-driven blog.
But explain to me Mark DeRosa, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Theriot all making errors.
Maybe they go to LA, they're away from the insanity of Chicago, they all calm down and win both.
But I will also say, if I ever see the man with owl eyes again I'm just going home to curl up and suck my thumb.
Cubs 3 Dodgers 10, the series moves to LA and resumes Saturday.
Lets see what happens, and I promise no more curse talk.
is a sports and art blog following the Chicago Cubs with cartoons, gifs, animations, and illustrations by Chicago artist Tim Souers.
I began the illustrations in 2003 - you can find the links to the 2003 - 2006 seasons below.
2007 - present is in the regular archives.
Feel free to contact me at CubbyDashBlue(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thanks for visting, and go Cubs.
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