Thoughts for Cubs fans on opening day

Chicago Cubs opening day starter Ryan Dempster hopes to get the Theo Epstein era off on the right foot. (Chris Carlson/AP)

I love opening day. It’s the day I look forward to all winter long, through the holiday season, and the NFL playoffs, and the snows or winter, and the NCAA basketball tournament. It’s all just a way to pass the time until baseball season comes back once again.

By my reckoning, this will be the start of my 37th season as a Cubs fan. I never know which season will be my last one, and which season they’ll finally win it all, but too many Cubs fans have had the former come before the latter.

There seems to be a sense, with Theo Epstein and his brain trust in place, that the Cubs have a two or three year window in place before they’re expected to win. And, I suppose, that might have to be the case. But how many Cubs fans, who have waited all their lives without so much as an appearance in the World Series, will pass away between now and October of 2012 or 2013? We can’t know the number right now, but we can be assured that it will happen.

We Cubs fans don’t have the luxury of reliving our past glories. Even when seasons go well, as in 1984, there’s the grounder that went through Leon Durham’s legs in San Diego. Or Will Clark reading Greg Maddux’s lips and then hitting a grand slam in 1989. Or Mark Prior melting down in game six against the Marlins in 2003. The bad always outweighs the good, wherever a glimmer of good exists in our collective memories.

So, this year’s opening day, like any other, will be a chance to begin filling in the gap that exists in every Cubs fan’s heart. I was in St. Louis last weekend, and trust me when I say they don’t have any similar gaps. There already wanting “12 in ’12” this year, which would be their 12th title overall. I’d be happy enough just to get the first one out of the way. We all have to start off somewhere.

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