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Opening Day -- Writer's Poke #220

Hard to believe, but it's been 25 years since I made my one and only pilgrimage to the Mecca for Chicago Cubs fans, Wrigley Field. To this day, I can still name more Cubbies from that season's squad than I can for all subsequent squads combined. The Cubs have had good teams since 1984, but perhaps this team stands out in my memory because it was the first good Cubs team in my lifetime.

As yet another baseball season begins, I doubt that I'll much care after opening day. Something about the first game of the season seems so vitally important, for about a second. Then, the realization soon kicks in that these guys will be playing another 160 games over the next six months. How much importance can any one game have in such a long season?

Some time in July, right around All-Star Break, I'll probably check in to see how the Cubs are doing. As long as they are ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, I won't much care if they're in first- or next-to-last place.

If they somehow manage to make it to the playoffs, my excitement level won't be too high. How many times have they made it to the playoffs in the last 25 years, only to make a quick exit in the first series? Unfortunately, it's what all Cubs fans expect. We maintain hope, but as our president might say, we do so with a certain amount of audacity.

What is the value of watching sports, of having a favorite sports team? Do you find yourself cheering more for the winners or for the losers?

"I live and die with the Chicago Cubs." -- Sara Paretsky


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