Who knows losing better than the Cubs? Ask anybody to play word association between a baseball franchise and the word “losers” and at least 90% will say Cubs. And the 10% who wouldn’t just don’t know anything about baseball.
And yet, for all that mediocrity, the gold standard of ineptitude–the 100-loss season–has eluded the Cubs throughout my entire lifetime. So, even though I know losing as well as anybody else, I kind of want to know what that feels like.
The Cubs have only lost 100 games or more in 2 seasons: 1962 and 1966. Both of these happened before the Cubs passed the century mark in years without a World Series win back in 2008. So, with the century mark for a single season now within reach, this could be the first time that a professional sports team with a 100 year championship drought could also lose that many games. It could only happen in baseball, and only to the Cubs. So why not revel in it?
I’m calling this the “double triple” because it turns the basketball term of a “triple double” on its head. Rather than one player having a really good game, this achievement would mark the low water point for a team in the history of professional sports. And who could be afraid of that?
All of the “good” Cubs fans would probably shake their heads in disgust at the idea of wanting their team to lose. Words to the effect of “Let’s let the young kids develop and not get their egos bruised by losing so much.” But you know what? These are professional athletes. They cash those paychecks whether they win or lose. Shed no tears for them.
“But where’s your team pride?” others might say. Let it be said that being a Cubs fan is not about being proud. The first Cubs game that I ever watched on TV, back in 1975, was a 22-0 loss at home. And the very week that I was born, in June of 1968, the Cubs didn’t score a single run for 48 straight innings, which no other team has even come close to since then. So please don’t talk to me about pride.
I can think of three things that I have not seen from the Cubs in my lifetime: being no-hit by another team (which happened to them twice back in 1965), playing in the World Series, and losing 100 games in a single season.
The World Series won’t happen this year. The no-hitter could happen at any time, and A.J. Burnett recently came very, very close. When it does happen, it will just confirm the level of ineptitude of this year’s team, or whichever year’s team it finally happens to. That’s only 27 outs over the course of a few hours, though. But losing a hundred games? That’s about to happen. It would take something remarkable to prevent it, at this point.
If the Cubs win at least one game in Arizona this weekend, and then sweep an otherwise meaningless series with the Astros next week in Wrigley Field, they’ll narrowly avoid 100 losses on the season. Anything less than that, and the Double Triple is a reality. If the losing is going to come, then let’s have those losses at least count toward something.
As Aerosmith says, you’ve got to lose to know how to win. And if that’s true, the Cubs should have some serious winning in their future. But for now, this year’s team could set a futility mark that we’ll all laugh about someday. So Cubs fans like myself will just have to Dream On beginning–as always–with next year.