You’ll read a lot today about fans and foul balls and interference. You’ll read about pressure and performance. You’ll read about curses and goats and black cats. But none of those things are behind the crushing loss the Chicago Cubs suffered last night at the hands of the Florida Marlins.
The real reason the Cubs lost is karma–simple, unadulterated, never-over-til-it’s-over karma. The Cubs downfall for 2003 began not with a goat and a curse in 1945 or with a black cat or with a fan interfering with what would have been the second out of the eighth inning. No. It all began with one Bernie Mac and the premature celebration.
First, let me explain that I have always been opposed to potentially precipitate victory declarations. I’ve sat at games with fans singing the nah nah hey hey goodbye thing and have cringed with fear that it was too early, that there was time for the other team to come back and, most importantly, that the taunting was an opening for destiny to turn its back on the home team. I hate the whole idea of taunting the opposition. Wounded animals have been known to kill their tormentors and sports teams on the ropes have been known to come back and beat the guys who thought they had it all wrapped up.
So when Bernie Mac stood to lead “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” last night yelling “Champs, champs, champs” I began to cringe and yell, “NO! It’s only the seventh inning!” And when he led the singing of the traditional “Root, root, root” my heart fell to my stomach when the next word was “CHAMPS” instead of “CUBBIES.”
Bad, bad, bad karma. Taunting is never good. But taunting the not yet defeated is tempting fate. And if there’s one thing Cubs fans should never do, it’s tempt fate.
So tonight, when the Cubs take the field there’ll be more pressure than any of those players ever imagined. And the stands will be full of fans with their hearts in their throats. But it’s very important that the fans get over their fear and root, root, root for the Cubbies. It’s important to enjoy the ride because this is what being a fan is all about. It is what we love our team for.
So Cub fans, please, please, be loose, be free, be loud. And remember, no taunting, no anticipating the result before the last out is recorded, no nah nah hey hey.
It isn’t over until the fat lady sings. And this fat lady has no desire to sing the blues.