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It's Gonna Happen?

The phrase of choice here on the North Side is, "It's Gonna Happen." T-shirts promise it, Wrigleyville bar signs pledge it, and yes, Chicago players believe it. But goodness, it's crazy how one game can put so much of that in doubt. All of a sudden, the Cubs, the NL's top team, have a long hill to climb just to make it out of this opening round.

They lost Game 1... at home... and now they must turn to Carlos Zambrano, the "Big Z," whose performances have become impossible to predict. If Chicago gets Bad Z tonight instead of Good Z, they're done: They'll be leaving Wrigley in a 2-0 hole to the Dodgers, and they won't be coming back.

North Siders know it, too, and even in last night's game, they responded with a palpable tension. It only took a few innings, in other words, to shake them from the certainty and belief in this team that accumulated over the season. When Ryan Dempster departed in the middle of the fifth, he even drew a scattering of faint boos. He understood, he later said. When you're playing in Chicago, you're playing not just for a team. You're playing for a civic mindset.

According to my buddy Jeff Passan, a baseball columnist for, the NL team that's won the first game of a Division series has advanced to the next round 23 of 26 times. Only one of the three counter-examples lost the first game at home. In other words, the experimental odds of a Cubbies victory this round have tightened to something like 11 percent.

You tell me: Is it Gonna Happen?

By Chico Harlan  |  October 2, 2008; 9:02 AM ET
Categories:  Cubs , Dodgers  
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Or you could trust in Joe Posnanski:

"Interesting stat on TV: Apparently American League teams that win Game 1 of the ALDS are 12-14, but National League teams that win Game 1 of the NLDS are 23-3. It’s an interesting statistic in that, “Wow, that’s interesting but I suspect it’s just a small sample size and means absolutely nothing” sort of way."

Posted by: Chris | October 2, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering where the fans were last night. The broadcasters said it was very quiet the whole game. It is because everyone is so nervous?

I'm suspicious that the regular joes in the stands have now been replaced by by the brie and chardonnary crowd who haven't been to a ball game in so long they forget that they aren't at the symphony, and its ok to cheer before the end.

Posted by: BaseballinDC | October 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

no, that was us

Posted by: regular joes | October 2, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I believe we can pull it off, maybe Big will throw another no no, I just want to see them go to the series

Posted by: Thom | October 2, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Dodger fan, and even I would not mind seeing the Cubs advance. Just not over the Dodgers. The fans seemed out of it last night too.

Posted by: Coleman | October 2, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Man. We go through this every few years, and you people just don't seem to get it.

This is the Cubs.

Posted by: CE | October 2, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

When do the signs change to It's not gonna happen? Where can we get shirts with the L on them?

Posted by: JS | October 3, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Wrigley Field | October 3, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The "It's Gonna Happen" signs have been right all along. But I think the fans didn't understand their prediction...

Posted by: Pete 42 | October 3, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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