Another Cardinals vs. Cubs series begins in about 15 minutes, and I’ve prepared myself by donning the appropriate attire — this new t-shirt I received from a coworker about a week ago.
Awesome, isn’t it? For me personally, it would be better if it had the word “anymore” at the end (and that complete story, if you don’t know and do care, is available in the About section) but my story is certainly a rarity. Cardinals fans become Cardinals fans and stay that way; Cubs fans become Cubs fans and stay that way.
It’s also rare that series between the two teams are actually of any baseball significance. Sure, the rivalry is usually important to fans — for bragging rights or trash-talking or the chance to be obnoxious to that rival fan you know or are related to (which, in my case, is a pretty large number). Yes, there was that important Three Nights in August series back in 2003 though the season ultimately ended up with the Cardinals at home in October, plus Cards fans will always fondly remember Carlos Marmol and his role in 2011’s magical September run to the wild card.
Yet this year is different. We’ve heard since Joe Maddon was hired as Cubs manager that THIS IS IT!!!! for the Cubbies, and the hype has just continued on. To be fair, their performance has been good enough to give them the fourth-best record in the majors — though just the third-best in the National League Central — and firmly into the second wild card spot. But I’m not sure the hype has matched the accomplishment thus far.