The Chicago Cubs and the MLB Postseason

It’s been a busy day of writing for me as I’m still going through a load of options, but I did take time to write a couple of articles for HubPages. I went with a baseball theme today as I tackled the release of the MLB Postseason schedule, which would put Games 5, 6, & 7 of the World Series in November. Not a fan. In this one, you can vote on whether or not you agree with me.

What You Need to Know About the 2015 MLB Postseason. Does It Run Too Late? Vote Now

Just a few moments ago, I finished up a piece about the Chicago Cubs and their postseason aspirations. I ask the question of whether or not they can bypass the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates to win the National League Central. It’s a long shot, but it’s baseball and it’s the Cubs. You never know what could happen. There’s two votes at the end of this one. Check it out below.

Can the Chicago Cubs Win the NL Central? The Schedule Says Maybe. Vote Now

As always, thanks for your continued support. For these articles and others, check out LukeNorris.net and follow me on Twitter @THElukenorris for updates on everything happening in the Luke Norris universe. Until next time.

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How To Root For The Chicago Cubs

As baseball once again rolls into the dog days of summer, we Chicago Cubs fans will once again struggle to find meaning to this season. As each division starts to take shape, we will find ourselves looking up at the Cardinals (again), and simply counting the days until football season starts. The annual “wait until next year” conversations will begin and the clock will continue ticking towards another year that we must add to the total that have passed since 1908. So why do we continue to torture ourselves year after year? The answer is that we just do. Cubs fans have long been used to dealing with the fact that perhaps it just isn’t in the cards (please forgive the expression). It does become frustrating, so I am here to explain how it is that I keep coming back every season to root for our beloved Chicago Cubs.

1. Make fun of the Cubs before everyone else does.
I know this may seem counter-productive to being a fan of any team, but when it’s the Cubs it really does become easier and easier to do. It’s not that I really always think that they’re terrible and they will never win a World Series. It’s the matter of having to listen to everyone I know that isn’t a Cubs fan tell me these things over and over and over again. And please don’t let me forget about the insufferable posts on Facebook, as if I’d somehow forgotten that the Cubs had just lost five straight games because Carlos Marmol is still on the roster. Therefore, I’ve found it much easier to stop people in conversation before they get going. It’s funny to see the looks on their faces as they begin to tell me how awful the Cubs are and I chime in with “Yeah, the Cubs suck. They haven’t won since 1908. I get it. Do you have anything else to contribute?”

2. Stop listening to St. Louis Cardinals fans
We need to stop comparing ourselves to the St. Louis Cardinals, period. The Redbirds certainly have their own way of doing things and it has worked amazingly well for them. If anything, a Cardinal fan makes himself look terrible when he insults the Cubs because he lowers his team down to the Cubs’ level (see how I made fun of them before you could). Again, I get it. Your team has won more championships. I am aware of your team’s accomplishments in relation to ours. If Cardinal fans want to be as classy as the media makes them out to be, then please just keep quiet.

3. Stop believing in curses.
We need to stop whining. It wasn’t the goat’s fault. It wasn’t the black cat’s fault. It certainly wasn’t Bartman’s fault. We lost.

4. Remember how great the Wrigley Field experience really is.

For those Cub fans who have never been to Wrigley Field, please put it on your to-do list. Through the great seasons and the awful seasons, the record doesn’t matter when you walk up the ramp and see this ballpark. From the ivy to the old scoreboard, there really is no experience like watching a ballgame here. I know many will say that it’s filthy and outdated and the possible renovation project is necessary and those people are certainly entitled to that opinion. Change can be a good thing. But if Wrigley Field stayed exactly the way it is now for another 100 years, I would be okay with it. Every time I walk that ramp, I turn into my eight year old self again. I remember every single reason my grandfather persuaded me to become a Cubs fan as a boy. It truly is one of the most special places in sports, and honestly, one of my favorite places in the world.

5. As hard as it may be, continue to be patient. You still love the Cubs.
This reason alone may be the only one we really need. Chicago Cubs fans are the most loyal fans in sports, and the reason we are that way, is because we have to be. Generations upon generations of us have watched in agony as our beloved Cubbies have knocked on the door of greatness only to be turned away time and time again. Believe me, it does get very frustrating. I will make fun of the Cubs. I have been to Wrigley Field and booed the Cubs. But at the end of the day, I will always come back. I continue to believe that someday, somehow they will find a way to win another World Series. Through thick and thin, I love the Chicago Cubs. I always have and I always will. That’s what being a real fan is all about.

The Best Month in Sports, Part 2: The Return of Baseball

The best month in sports continued this week with the start of baseball that matters. The first few days have already given us some great moments. The Triple-A squad that are pretending to be the Houston Astros played and won their first game in the American League, but then were almost victims of a perfect game the next night. Bryce Harper became the youngest player to hit two homeruns on Opening Day. It is always amazing to watch Justin Verlander at work. And don’t worry, if you missed any of the Yankees/Red Sox series, I’m sure ESPN will show every single game for the rest of the year. I could go on and on about what this season might bring, but if you’re looking for me to break down the league player by player, team by team, or division by division, then you’ve come to the wrong place. What I’d like to do here is explore why baseball is so special and what this game has meant to me.
Throughout the years, the game of baseball has certainly had its share of problems. From the color barrier to the steroid problem to work stoppages, the sport that once ruled the country has certainly taken a hit in popularity. Television ratings are down, as are attendance figures. Football has blown by it as the most popular sport in America. So why do I keep coming back every single year? What is it about baseball that makes me so sentimental?
Maybe it’s the fact that baseball was my first love. Maybe it’s the fact that one of the main reasons I know how to read is that I used to sit on my grandfather’s lap as a child as we read the Chicago Tribune to catch up on our beloved Chicago Cubs (yes I know, even more torture to myself). Maybe it was playing home run derby in the street with my friends until we couldn’t even see the ball. Maybe it was catching the end of a game on WGN when I got home from school. Maybe it was a 75 cent pack of Topps cards if my mom let me get them at the grocery store. Maybe it was a fun rivalry with my dad, a lifelong Cardinals fan, watching a weekend series at Busch. Maybe it’s taking a break from working in the yard, having a cold drink and listening to the game on the radio. Maybe it’s because that every time I walk up the ramp at Wrigley Field and see the scoreboard, the green grass, and the ivy, I immediately turn into my eight year old self again.
Or maybe it’s just the game itself. Maybe it’s a suicide squeeze. Maybe it’s a 5-4-3 double play. Maybe it’s a 95 mph fastball followed by an 85 mph breaking ball that buckles a batter’s knees. Maybe it’s a ball that’s certain to leave the yard until an outfielder reaches over the fence to bring it back. Maybe it’s watching a group of innocent kids in a little league game that play for the love of the game. Maybe it’s watching a minor leaguer in countless small towns throughout the country strive to achieve his dream of one day making it to the show. Maybe it’s watching your favorite big league ballplayer hit a walkoff bomb and seeing the joy on his face as he rounds third toward the mob that awaits him at home plate. Maybe it’s just watching the complexities within the simplicity that is the game of baseball.
Whatever it is, baseball is back. Will I be watching? Definitely.

Upcoming Series: The Best Month in Sports

Starting on Monday, I will be starting a series entitled “The Best Month in Sports”.  Just look at what this month has to offer. We are already being captivated by the madness that is the NCAA tournament.  Early April brings the return of baseball.  Soon after, one of my favorite events of the year occurs at Augusta National in the form of The Masters, quickly followed by the start of the NBA playoffs.  With each segment of this series, I’ll take a closer look at what makes each of these events so enjoyable.

One quick note: For you NHL fanatics, I did not forget about you. The reasons that I did not include the start of the NHL playoffs in this series are these: 1) This year’s playoffs do not fall within the month I’m referring to. But more importantly is 2) I am not going to pretend to attempt to write about a sport that I do not follow all that closely. Believe me, it would be an insult to you.  I can tell you, however, that even though hockey is not my favorite sport, there are few sporting events more exciting or more intense than a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs.

And one small rant.  This month does also not include the NFL.  I am completely aware that we live in a country where the NFL is king and when football season rolls around, I’m sure I will discuss it at length. I love football just as much as the next guy. But for now, I really don’t want to hear about it when there isn’t a game that matters for five months. If you want your fix, just turn on ESPN Radio in the morning and listen, believe me.  With so many other stories going on in sports, do I really need to hear a two hour conversation about how The Tuck Rule is finally going away?  The answer to that riddle is no.  We all know that Raider nation is still pissed off so how about paying some attention to something else.

I’ll talk to you all on Monday with “The Best Month in Sports, Part 1: The NCAA Tournament”.