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article imageOp-Ed: 'Next Year' is here for the Cubs Special

By Michael Bearak     Apr 5, 2011 in Sports
Chicago - April 1, 2011 represented the beginning of yet another season for the Chicago Cubs and with it the hopes of fans for a World Series Championship. If you were fortunate enough to be in Chicago on March 31st there is a number of things you would hear.
On Thursday March 31st the streets of Chicago were buzzing with opening day at the stadium talks almost everywhere you turned. The Cubs were to open at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates, while their cross-town rivals are forced to go on the road to open their season. It seemed everywhere you went the sense the Cubs were going to find success was very high. The start of the season for Cubs fans is the renewal of hopes and dreams of Cubs fans that this year will be the year that the 100+ year World Series drought ends and that "this is the year."
On the streets there are Cubs shirts be sold downtown, people are talking about opening day whether it was in a restaurant or on a bus. There are shirts, hats and coats for sale almost everywhere and there hadn't been a chance to their uniforms in years. It didn't matter if you walk into a sporting goods store, or even the local Walgreen's on the corner of Michigan and Chicago there was merchandise available for purchase. Walking into the "Cubs Store" in Watertower Place the gentleman behind the counter struck up the same conversation with just about everyone, "Are you going to opening day?" Your trusted Digital Journal reporter was not, but this young man was fortunate enough to have gotten himself a seat.
At the Greek Islands restaurant two men talk about how they got their tickets for the game. Discussing where they are sitting and the conversation naturally progresses to what the forecast is for opening day. One gentleman declares they are expecting snow flurries in the morning turning into rain in the afternoon. They both agree that it is going to be cold, very cold They discuss the position players, the keys for the season and why it will all work out for the Cubs to get to the World Series.
The most interesting tid-bit of information to come from the two men was that one had represented a group of roof-top owners in a litigation against the Cubs when the organization attempted to stop people from sitting on the roof-tops of the buildings across the street. Now he was also an "associate" of the Ricketts family which are the current owners of the Cubs. He happily told his dining partner that Ricketts had quietly purchased partial ownership in a couple of the buildings along Sheffield so that he was now cashing in not only on the events that were going on inside of Wrigley Field but also what went on in the buildings he had a stake in. What was more was that Ricketts was angling to shut off Sheffield from motorized traffic on game days in order to create a street festival. I am not saying this was bad, but something that is possibly in the works and it is a rumor that is on the streets.
On the city bus two young-men in Cubs' hats are debating which starter will be the real key role player in the Cubs' success. The front page of both major newspapers has previews of both teams. Both series of articles proclaiming this is going to be the year.
It was only six years ago that the Chicago White Sox snatched a World Series Championship for themselves to the pain and dismay of the North-side Cubs fans who were still licking the wounds left by Bartman and game 7 of their last National League Championship Series appearance just a few years before the White Sox championship.
While the Cubs dropped their first series against perennial cellar dweller Pittsburgh Pirates 1-2. The Cubs have jumped out to a 2-0 series lead against the Arizona Diamond Backs and are 3-2 on the season. The hope is there, as Chicagoans are saying "this could be the year."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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