Excitement must be high right now on the north side of the Windy City. The long-time basement dwellers have finished the 2016 regular season with a stunning 103 wins. They have what's regarded as the best offense in baseball, the best defense, the best bullpen (in an era when bullpens are crucial) and a solid pitching rotation. They're the favorite on the betting markets at 9/4 with the Red Sox and Dodgers both significantly less favored. It seems that they may finally break the Curse of the Billy Goat, and win their first World Series since 1908.
As a Cardinals fan, this normally would have me perturbed, worried, or anxious. I'm supposed to hate them. In my youth I had two rules of baseball--I cheered for the Cardinals and whomever was playing the Cubs. I grew up in downstate Illinois which was sharply divided into Cardinals and Cubs fans--the division was within my own family and many families I knew. When the Cubs reached the 1989 playoffs as a kid I rooted for the opposing San Francisco Giants as if they were my own team.
The Cardinals didn't make the playoffs by one game this year. Realistically they would have been a long shot in the playoffs anyway (though that was true in 2006 as well when they won it all). So given that the enemy Cubs have the best chance in years to finally win it, I've been thinking how I would feel about it.
To look at it coldly I don't have to worry that much yet. 9/4 odds still means they'll probably lose at some point. I also think they might be slightly over-favored, but in any case they have to win 3 playoff series and in each series there's at least a 30-40% chance they'll lose. Ergo, the the curse will probably continue.
It's hard not to look at the great city of Chicago, with its problems, its history and great sports fans, and not root for the city. I do cheer for other Chicago teams including the Bulls and the Blackhawks, and of course da Bears. In Chicago, Michael Jordan notwithstanding, championships are precious, particularly after 1950. Chicago Cubs fans have loyally supported their club through thick and (mostly) thin in a way that doesn't happen in other cities. They have one of the great stadiums in baseball.
I've decided not to root against the Cubs, though I can't bring myself to support them. If the Cubs finally break the curse and win the World Series it will be one of the great sports celebrations in history and will be an amazing sight to see.
I wish the Chicago Cubs and their fans the best of luck in the playoffs. Go Giants!