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Three-game mood swing
by alex ciepley
Today I'm on top of the world.
But three games ago, after the Cubs had lost to Lackey and the Angels 3-2, I was pretty down in the dumps. The Cubs hadn't looked good for a while, were not far behind the leaders in the division, but were nevertheless in fourth place. I was trying to describe my feelings to a friend; it wasn't that I had given up on the team, but a couple off weeks and the year was seeming like a big disappointment. Unhappy with being just a few games over .500 in June, I was burdened with the weight of expectation, something new and unexpected to us Blue-blooded cheerers. I was feeling the malaise of the 2004 Cubs fan.
I was just being a drama queen, of course. Angst is a common emotion among baseball fans, and springs up with every 3-game losing streak, every .500 homestand, every tweaked hamstring. I allow myself my moments of Cub angst, but in the back of my mind I figure that it'll all work out one way or another: either the Cubs will tank, and I can relax and concentrate on some individual performances (as was common in the Sosa boom-boom era), or the Cubs will stay in it the whole season and contribute to an exciting division race.
Three games later, three days after Friday, and I'm riding high. The Cubs have won at least three in a row for the first time since mid-May, and somehow -- miraculously -- find themselves in second place, only two games behind the division-leading Cardinals. A couple nice wins in Anaheim, then the sweetest of victories last night, a smash-job on the Rocket. I could fall back into a melancholy state just as easily as I've come out of it, but I'll enjoy the feeling while it lasts.
Mark Prior was outstanding again last night. Score that: two great starts, one crap one, but mostly a general feeling that all is right with the world. You know how you never realize how much you miss something 'till it's gone? For me, I didn't really realize how much I had missed Mark Prior until he returned. This is fun stuff.