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 Yahoo.com, 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?
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