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Cubs 2008: Division Champs...again!

Some think it an anti-climax, given the Cubs were division champs last season, but man, is it fun for this old Cubs fan to see them dominate and clinch handily this year. This is just the first step if they're to win their first World Series in exactly 100 years, but the team and their fans certainly deserve to celebrate a bit before the playoffs begin. Growing up in Chicago, I saw plenty of Cubs games on WGN, and made tons of trips to Wrigley Field with my Mom, brothers and Grampa. In the early '70s, a grandstand seat was only $4, a far cry from the prices today, especially at Wrigley, especially this year. It's a shame it costs so much to get a seat nowadays, but there's nothing like a game outdoors at that old ballpark -- the sights and sounds an smell...fun! Over the years, all that has brought people out to the field, even when the Cubs weren't at all good. They were no good by the time I started paying attention and watching games, collecting baseball cards. While sorting my cards and checking stats, I was drawn to Johnny Bench and the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati, but always rooted for the Cubs (except when they were playing the Reds, or course). It was fun to follow a winner during the '70s, but the Reds as a team haven't done much for me since, and even living in Minnesota now, it's the Cubs who make me giddy as each season approaches. That Cubby Blue is in my veins, it seems. This Spring, it was a cinch to see they were gonna be good, so I ponied up the dough and got the baseball season cable package. One of the many advantages to working at home is to be able to watch or listen to anything you want while you work.  So, I haven't missed many games all year, and was able to know the team inside out, track their ups and downs (mostly ups) and enjoy the big moments. One forms a special bond with a team, being able to follow them so religiously you get to know the strengths and weaknesses and get in the groove, ride the rhythm with the team. Once they get to the playoffs, that all makes it even more fun to watch. Now, anything can happen in the post-season (that's a bruised and cautious Cubs fan talking), but this team seems to be something special. They have no real weak spots, with great starting pitching, a more than solid bullpen, and a Cinderella story with a rehabilitated Kerry Wood in his first year as the closer. They're a deep team, with all players throughout the roster contributing all season.  In tonight's win over the Mets, pitcher Jason Marquis hit a grand slam while pitching seven solid innings. They can strike an opponent at any time from many angles. I sure will be disppointed if they don't make it to the Series -- 'cause they should. And I hope they win it all. It would be quite a capper to an already magical season...and to the 100-year drought. Go Cubs!

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