The magic number is one of the most exciting single values in all of sports. In short, it encapsulates the amount of wins by your team or losses by their rival team that will result in a playoff berth. As of today, the Cubs’ magic number is 4, meaning that any combination of Cubs wins and Brewers losses that adds up to 4 guarantees the Cubs the 2007 NL Central Division title. (Actually, the magic number was 4 yesterday too, but the Cubs lost and the Brewers won, so it did not change.) With 5 games left to play for each team, it should be a pretty exciting end to the season.
The excitement created by things being so close, so late in the season, makes September baseball a truly unique experience in sports. Unfortunately for Cubs fans like myself, it’s not something that comes about that often, so its rarity makes it even more special. I managed to get tickets to “Home Game One” of the potential NLDS at Wrigley Field, so I’m even more excited than usual at the prospect of the Cubs making the playoffs due to the fact that I’ll actually get to see it in person should it come to pass.
(Note that those numbers don’t get updated until after the season is over, so they reflect how long it’s been since the Cubs’ last division, National League, and World Series titles, respectively, as of the end of the 2006 season.)
I found it humorous to read an off-season interview about the Anno Catuli sign that included this Q&A:
CCO: In the unfortunate scenario that the Cubs go 100 years between World Series Championships, is there a plan to change the sign to add another digit?
LVBC: Yes, we are currently working on this issue.
That summarizes Cubs fans in a nutshell: our eternal optimism is only tempered by our equally eternal pessimism. So while I’m hoping to see “AC000000” on that sign on Opening Day 2008, I at the same time worry about the very real possibility that they’ll have to add a 7th digit for Opening Day 2009. But let’s see how 2007 shakes out first.