Hope springs eternal

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Last week in this space, I wrote about the battle over expanding the federal Medicaid program in Arkansas. I'm in favor of doing so, and I'm well aware that many of you readers disagree with that position.

This week, I want to discuss something of a far more serious nature, and I know that many of you disagree with me there as well.

Of course, I'm talking about baseball.

My name is Scott, and I'm a Chicago Cubs fan. I have zero days of baseball sobriety.

I know. I know. You're all Cardinals fans. Every one of you. I see you, with your red T-shirts and your navy blue caps with the Cardinals logo. I hear you, rattling on about your 11 World Series championships. Blah, blah, blah. Last season the Cardinals had the best record in baseball! How'd that work out for you in the playoffs? Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

As a long-suffering Cubs fan, I absolutely despise the St. Louis Cardinals. But if I'm being honest, I have to admit that I'm envious of the Cardinals' success. Year after year, it seems the Cubs are either really bad or just good enough to get to October and break my heart. But the Cardinals seem to win a World Series every three or four years without even breaking a sweat.

This year, though, Cubs fans like myself are more optimistic than ever. The Cubs won 97 games last season, the third-best record in baseball. Then they eliminated the two teams with better records -- the Pirates and Cardinals -- in the playoffs before breaking my heart yet again by getting swept in the National League Championship Series. I hate the Mets almost as much as the Cardinals.

Still, it was a great season. And with most of the roster returning this season, Cubs fans are dreaming big. Could this year be different? Could this be THE year that Cubs fans have been waiting for since 1908?

Obviously, I'm biased. But so far, the Cubs have looked the part of a World Series contender. The starting pitching, always critical to postseason success, has been exceptionally good. The offense got off to a superb start before cooling off in a weekend series against the Rockies. The roster is as deep as I've ever seen it, despite the loss of a starting outfielder to injury in the second game of the season.

As I write this, the Cubs are in first place in the National League Central with a record of 9-3. Those doggone Cardinals are right there, just two games behind. And tonight (Monday night) the two teams start a three-game series in St. Louis.

But I am not afraid.

So all you Cardinals fans, go ahead and put on your red T-shirts and your blue caps. Get in front of your TV and reminisce about the glory days. Write an angry letter to the editor. Do whatever it is you do when your team gets beat.

I've suffered through 35 years of misery, and I only have one thing to say: Go Cubs Go!

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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com