"Billy Goat" Sianis isn't dead after all. Black cats are still prowling around. Steve Bartman's invasive, sticky fingers are still leaving prints.
The futility of Steve Swisher and Ernie Broglio and Larry Biittner have returned.
Charlie Brown still can't kick the football. Wile E. Coyote just fell off another cliff. The Italian Army still stinks. And so do the Cubs.
The Chicago "97 Wins" Cubs. The Chicago "Going to end the 100-year drought" Cubs. The Chicago "This is the year" Cubs.
No, The Same Old Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs are on the verge, again, of disappointing in the post-season. Check that. They've past the verge and are falling down an endless flight of stairs. I haven't seen a town's hopes dashed so quickly since the Redskins hired Steve Spurrier.
The Cubs are down 0-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the National League playoffs, also known as the NLDS -- which up to this point had stood for No LA Dodgers Success. Not only are the Cubs down 0-2, they're down 0-2 in bombastic fashion. They've laid ostrich-sized eggs two nights in a row in front of their tormented faithful: 7-2 and 10-3. This isn't a playoff series, it's a wake.
Oh, this wasn't supposed to happen, was it? Weren't the Cubs, those lovable losers, supposed to be shedding that label in 2008? Wasn't this group supposed to be different from all the other Cubs teams?
The best record in the National League. By far. Steamrolled to the Central Division title. The esteemed and battle-tested Lou Piniella as their manager.
Oops! Wait a minute.
About Piniella: wasn't he the skipper of the 2001 Seattle Mariners who won 116 games in the regular season and went poof in five games in the ALCS to the Yankees, who won but 95 -- and only after the M's squeaked by the Indians in the ALDS, who won just 91?
Yep, that's him.
The Cubs ended the regular season by clinching their division with more than a week to play. Piniella had all that time to get everything just the way he wanted it, from the pitching rotation to the lineup. And did I mention that the Dodgers won all of 84 games this season? See a trend here with Sweet Lou?
Now, I know Piniella didn't boot the ball around Wrigley Field, or throw all those gopher balls in Games 1 and 2. But, hey, who said life is fair? Lou won the 1990 World Series in upset fashion as manager of the Reds, and that's been his last hurrah in the dugout.
The Cubs are going down. Again. No World Series. Again. The championship-less drought starts a new century -- 101 years and counting.
Didn't they learn anything from the 2004 Boston Red Sox when it comes to smashing history into pieces?
I saw some images on the Internet of the looks of shock and sadness on the faces of Cubs fans in Wrigley from the past couple of nights. Shades of 2003. And of 1989, and 1984, and 1969. And might as well include 1945 and 1935 in there as well -- even though the Cubbies actually made it to the WS in those two years.
October, 1908 -- the Cubs' last WS victory.
Roosevelt was president -- Teddy Roosevelt. The first Model T had its last screw tightened just a couple weeks earlier. There wasn't even a World War I yet. Civil War vets were still living. Baseball fans would have included folks who remembered when Lincoln was president.
Just remember that, Lions fans -- next time you bellyache about not having an NFL champion since 1957. The Cubs' streak of futility makes the Lions' look like a two-week vacation in the Bahamas.
So the 2008 Cubs will soon be no more. It might happen tomorrow night in Game 3, or the next night in Game 4. Or, to REALLY put the icing on the cake, maybe the Cubs will fail miserably by WINNING Games 3 and 4 and succumbing in Game 5 in front of their straitjacket-ready fans.
So Lucy gets to keep pulling the ball away. The Roadrunner gets to keep "beep-beeping" and leaving the Coyote in the dust. And the Italian Army still stinks.
Cubs Lose! Cubs Lose!