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Have No Fear! The Chicago Cubs Are Here!

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Ladies and gentlemen of the Ivy, I have called you here today with purpose. The Chicago Cubs, much against the laws of reason and order, are back in the playoffs. Up is down; left is right; I Can't Believe It's Not Butter has a distinctly rich and buttery taste.

It is understandable that you are confused and perhaps a bit frightened. There hasn't been much experience with this sensation; the Tribune Company has been the latest steward of a proud tradition of "just enough to fill the seats." We have been willing accomplices, of course, warming those tiny chairs repeatedly and discouraging the owners from putting themselves in the terrible position of trying and failing.

Your eyes dart around, looking for the emotional exits. You conjure up scenarios of failure to comfort yourself. The bats will die. The arms will shrivel up and fall off. Certainly Ryan Dempster's goatee will begin speaking to him surreptitiously, forcing him to throw at the mascot in the upper deck. And what of the alien that has been growing in Piniella's stomach since April? That must be nearly ready to burst forth and start down its terrifying path of destruction.

Lay down your worries, Cubs fans. We have hidden behind our fears and guarded ourselves against pain for long enough. The bats will rumble this year. The arms will be fitted with laser sights (and the catchers will receive sunglasses). Ryan Dempster always pitches like that. Piniella's unholy extraterrestrial child was traded to the Padres in June for a case of shoe polish and four tickets to the San Diego Zoo.

Yes, there will be danger at every turn. We will gasp and rend our clothes when the other team goes scores. Signals will be stolen and home plate collisions will be de rigeur. Chin music will drown out the crowd. The men in black will undermine our boys in pinstriped blue at every turn. Losses will wound us. Actually, it's pretty much going to suck sometimes (It sounds better all the time, right?) .

And you! Your faith will be tested by every ne'er-do-well in pale socks and snot-nosed kid in a Cardinals jersey. You will be called out on your Trixie-isms and the cut of your frat boy jib (and some of you will have to swallow hard and take it). However, you will not relent. You will not back down. You will hold the C aloft and stare into the abyss, unblinking.

We will not doubt, fellow Cubs fans. There is no room for hesitation anymore. We will only allow one superstition to remain: if you cease clapping for a single moment, Tinkerlee will stop hitting home runs. Carlos Marmol will forever be known as the Jackal for his ruthless destruction of snakes. Ryan Theriot will display such grit and scrap that David Eckstein will slump in his newly purchased La-Z-Boy for two weeks in a snit fit. Alfonso Soriano will replace Al Capone as the most famous Italian to ever grace Chicago with his presence (close enough).

We will no longer distance ourselves from our feelings, Cubs fans. No more false excuses will be accepted. We will lay our hearts upon the table and wait with confidence that the Cubs will scoop them up gently and protect them against the hordes of Yankees and Angels and… Phillies? Let's just assume Phillies can gather in hordes and act appropriately.

We are confident. We are cocky. We are certain of victory. We are Cubs fans. Ursa minor (Yeah, I got that shiver the first few times, too. Practice makes perfect).

Besides, you know the Cubs are going to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy and make Wrigleyville flammable with all the booze that shall flow down its streets. How can you be sure? It'll surely drive the selling price of the club through the roof. That's something the Tribune Company has always understood.

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