The Two Biggest Cardinals And Cubs Fans Ruminate On Tonight’s NLDS Game 3
This NLDS between the Cardinals and Cubs has a weird energy surrounding it, like some new sort of gravity in which the Earth orbits the Sun in lopsided, hard-to-predict ways. Perhaps it's because the two ancient franchises have never before faced each other in the postseason, or maybe it's something to do with the Midwest itself. The area of the country that nurtured baby Superman is not home to many MLB franchises, so when rivalries do occur, they tend to be serious. At any rate, one gets the vague feeling that whichever team wins this series, things will never be the same.
But here are two people who can describe it better than me. I'm a Giants fan -- our rivalry with the Dodgers is made of concrete, parking lot fights and broken beer bottles. The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry is more passive-aggressive, much older, and somehow a lot more real. So after days of internet research, phone calls and yes, even a visit from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (to explain the orbit thing), we at SportsGrid have found the two preeminent baseball fans of both the Cardinals and the Cubs.
There were only two rules here -- our experts could not actually live in St. Louis or Chicago. So here they are to explain this series so far, and what the outcome will mean to them, and the planet as a whole.
Cardinals: Will Leitch, founding editor of Deadspin.com, current editor at SportsOnEarth. Currently resides in Atlanta, Ga.
Cubs: Tim Parsons, current editor of Tahoe Onstage, former editor at Action Magazine and the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Currently resides in South Lake Tahoe, Ca.
Cardinals at Cubs, NLDS Game 3 (series tied 1-1), 6:10 p.m. (ET), TBS.
I've been a Cubs fan all my life, which means that I don't look at the pragmatic when it comes to my team in the playoffs. It's not about pitching matchups, it's about fate and momentum, and how those Furies decide to screw with us once again.
Cubs fans have a refined sense of turning points. We know exactly when things so south, because we've seen it so many times -- such as when the ball went though Durham's legs against San Diego in '84, or when Moises Alou reacted so violently when the ball was knocked from his glove by Steve Bartman. We knew in both cases that it was all over.
But I have a good feeling about this year, and that's never happened before. First, it's the Zodiac Year of the Goat. Second, Ernie Banks always predicted a Cubs pennant, and Ron Santo didn’t get to the Hall of Fame until the season after he died. That’s why I say they win it this year, because Ernie died this past offseason.
But the greatest truths are often found in the smallest things, and here's another reason I have hope. A friend of mine was walking past Wrigley Field on Sunday, and looked through a cyclone fence and saw some Cardinals players working out for Monday's game. One of the Cardinals players saw that my friend was wearing all of her Cubs gear -- hat, jacket, the works -- and for some reason rolled a ball under the fence right to her.
A guy wearing a Cardinals hat watched this from nearby and approached Chris, pleading, "Hey, I'm a Cardinals fan. That ball should be mine. Give it to me."
"No," Chris replied. "He rolled it to me. This year it's our turn."
Now that the first two ever Cardinals-Cubs postseason games have been played, and the series is tied 1-1, I will say that I feel almost exactly like I did when I, in a fevered, manic, frothing hallucinogenic frenzy, typed out 107 Thoughts About The Cardinals-Cubs Series From a Cardinals Fan From Central Illinois http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/153820460/cubs-cardinals-nlds-preview-107-thoughts This series is terrifying in ways I could not have imagined, and terrifying in all the ways I knew it would be.
The fact that games have actually been played now -- now that the fanciful is reality, now that the unicorn is running in the Kentucky Derby -- does not make it any easier. It's worse, actually. Because now there are only THREE games to decide who wins, rather than five. The end is closer. I am Duvall from Apocalypse Now. "Someday this war's gonna end." I can't believe Future Me, the Me from Friday, already knows the answer. I need him to just go ahead and tell me who wins now. You know how people say they don't want to know when they die? Go ahead and tell me. The waiting is the part that hurts.
So, no, this series that represents an immediate-yet-existential threat to my entire way of living and the plane of reality as it is currently constituted ... this is not fun at all. All postseason series are scary. But this one has me hiding under my desk. I can't believe this is something I consider a leisure time activity. Just get it over with so I can have some peace. To quote Big Pussy Bonpensiero ... Not in the face, OK?
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