Fans of the Chicago Cubs are an interesting breed. We are always on edge, waiting for the curse to come true. So, for those that have jumped on the bandwagon, here is how to watch the NLDS.
We get it. It has been 108 years since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. No need to add to our anxiety. Fans of other teams remind us all the time. We know because we have watched this happen for years. Maybe it is the goat. Maybe not.
As an experienced fan of the Cubs, I offer you this advice for watching the playoffs.
Day before game one:
Prep day. This is a lot like carb loading for runners or swimmers and is crucial for successful viewing.
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When you get up in the morning, immediately go to social media and read all the smack talk. You know it is coming, so might as well get prepared. Grab a cup of coffee and find a quiet place to read. Read and let the nerves take over. Make sure there are no kids around since you may the need to scream or cry.
Once that is over, go for a walk. Try to keep your pace similar to the tempo of “Take me out to the ballgame,” and “Go, Cubs, go.” Once you are back home, get a shower, pray that the Goat does not come back, and get ready for the rest of your day. Be sure to eat three solids meals and a couple snacks.
Throughout the day, check out all the talk on every sports page available, like maybe The Chicago Tribune. Or ESPN. Maybe MLB Network. Even the site for the opposing team. Even check out Sports Pickle. Don’t react, just absorb. Then, go to Baseball-Reference.com and check out all the stats. Research how Kris Bryant fairs in evening games at Wrigley or how Jon Lester does against the lineup the second time. Knowledge is power. Your friends will come to you with reasons why the Chicago Cubs cannot win. Be prepared with facts.
Get to bed at a reasonable hour, but before you do make sure to tell all those that are important to you that you love them. Hug your kids, kiss your wife.
Day of the game
“What day is it? Game day!” Say it before you get out of bed while looking at yourself in the mirror, and before you leave the house. This will be your greeting to others all day. Just be careful when saying this around other Cubs fan, or your significant other. This may cause crazy high fives, chest bumps, or smacks on the rear, therefore, proceed with caution.
Especially around Cardinals fans.
Coffee and a good breakfast will be important all day due to Game 1 of the NLDS is on Friday night. You will need your energy. Be sure to wear something Chicago Cubs all day. A nice Cubs t-shirt pairs well with jeans and a blazer. Consider it Casual Friday Cubs attire.
Get on Twitter and post only the following:
What day is it? Game day!! Time for #Cubs baseball!! #GoCubsGo #NLDS @CubbiesCrib I am ready!
For lunch, and I cannot stress this enough, you must have a hot dog without ketchup. Now, I love ketchup on mine, but not today. Hot dog with a side of fries is necessary.
After lunch, expect moments of sheer and utter anxiety, in addition to excitement. This is normal. Get your earbuds out, put on some music. Go for a walk or another physical activity to reduce stress. I recommend using a few of the Cubs’ walk-up songs to get you going. They can be found on the Chicago Cubs website.
T-minus 3 hours to first pitch
Time is of the essence, but you have to remain calm. There are several things you will need before first pitch. Here is a list of items I recommend having on hand:
- Fresh supply of cold beverages of your choice
- at least two pillows
- a place to sit alone, but with space
- a towel, full size recommended
- A Bible, or spiritual book of your choice.
Order your pizza early and schedule the delivery between 7:00 and 7:30pm. Check and see if the beverages are in the fridge and ready to go. Once all items are organized in your viewing area, set an alarm for 6:30pm and take a nap. No snoozing allowed!
Get up and take a brief walk, down the street and back, to loosen up a bit. Again, kiss your significant other and kids good night. No, they cannot have your pizza. That is soul food for the game, and you need every bite. Be sure to say “Go, Cubs, go.” instead of goodnight to everyone. Including the pizza delivery person.
By this time, it should be 7:30. Have a seat. Look around and make sure that all items that can be hurdled toward the TV and can cause damage are removed from your area. This may be a good job for a someone to help you with because there is no chance you are thinking clearly right now. This also includes removing the remote. There is no changing the channel once the game is on, no matter what. Leave time to go to the bathroom.
Grab your cell phone, take a selfie with the TV in the background, and post to Instagram or Twitter while the team takes the field. Leave this as the caption:
“This is our year! #GoCubsGo #NLDS @CubbiesCrib What time is it?”
Sit down. Have pillows ready. Here are the rules on offense:
- Every time a Cubs player reaches first, clap twice.
- Every time a Cubs player reaches second, simple fist pump and a “Yes!”
- When they reach third, “Let’s Go Cubbies (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)
- Score a run? Stands up, both hands high (watch out for ceiling fans), and a “WOOHOO!!”
- After all three outs, walk around the house a bit. Maybe do a couple dishes or start some laundry.
On defense, the rules are as follows:
- For each strikeout by a Cubs pitcher, tip your cap. If you are not wearing a cap, salute.
- If an opposing player makes it to second, hug a pillow.
- To third, hit the other pillow.
- Scores 1 run, eat a pretzel
- Scores 2 runs, throw a pillow and sigh. Heavily.
- Scores 3 or more runs, cover your face with a pillow and scream while hitting the other pillow. Be sure this only lasts a few seconds.
A few other suggestions that seem like no-brainers but are of value. There will be a tense moment in the late innings. It could be a bases loaded jam with only one out. You may start sweating. Keep the towel ready. Also, the Ibuprofen is on hand in case you pull a muscle or get a headache.
Save the Pepto for that moment we all dread is coming and have the Bible (or other spiritual books) on hand when you know prayers are needed. Or, in case you swear too much and need forgiveness.
Another piece of advice. Make sure your phone is in a case. While we at Cubbies Crib want you to connect with us during the game, a broken phone will only cause more stress. You may have the impulse to throw your phone if things do not go well, or accidentally toss it in a moment of celebration. Keep it safe.
That is it. You are ready, therefore go forward and prepare for the ultimate ride: The Chicago Cubs playoffs. We will be here to talk you through it, even when it seems like the stress it overwhelming.