Like many people, I like to begin my day at Starbucks. I know all the locations near my home in Chicago, but when I’m away on vacation, it’s never very hard to find a new location. And so it was today, when I found myself on Alvarado Street in Monterey, California.
I suppose I had forgotten that I was wearing a Cubs hat as I waited with my daughter for her drink. Out of the blue, another Starbucks patron asked how I thought the Cubs were going to do this year. I remembered my hat, and went into my spiel about how I thought the Cubs were going to win it all this year. I mentioned Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, and, of course, Kris Bryant in defending what to most people — Cubs fans included — seems like an impossible dream.
The guy I was talking to revealed himself as a Giants fan, and we reminisced about last fall and Madison Bumgarner‘s dominance in winning the World Series. We both agreed that a singular pitching performance like that may never be seen again. And I have to admit, it felt good to be talking about baseball once again.
Our baseball conversation turned back to the Cubs when we discussed their near-miss under Dusty Baker in 2003. I told him I hadn’t yet recovered from the frustration of being so close, and having it fall apart in such a nightmarish fashion. I realized as soon as I said it that his frustration — and all Giants fans, really — was even more acute in 2002 when the Giants appeared to have the Angels on the ropes in game six of the World Series. I’m sure Scott Spezio and Troy Glaus and Darin Erstad haunted his dreams for many years, in the way that Luis Castillo and Ivan Rodriguez and especially Josh Beckett have haunted mine.
In the years since 2002, though, things have gone very well for the Giants and their fans. Not one, not two, but three of the Commissioner’s trophies have found their way to the city that sits glimmering in the distance as I type this out. So when the once long-suffering, but now very satisfied Giants fan wished me and my team well this year, I was quite happy to accept his sentiments.
To live in such a beautiful part of the country and have a baseball team that is the model of success for every other franchise in the game seems almost unfair, on some level. Seeing as how the Giants have settled into an even-years-on, odd-years-off pattern during this decade, perhaps 2015 will be the Cubs’ year, at long last. And if our Dusty Baker near-miss turns into something equivalent to their Dusty Baker near-miss some day, that would be just fine with me.