The Major League Baseball playoffs begin today and a lot of Iowans will be rooting for the Chicago Cubs. Iowa has been home to Chicago’s triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs, since 1982. Many of the players on this year’s team in Chicago spent time in front of fans at Principle Park in Des Moines.
"There’s an awful lot of Cubs fans in central Iowa, and around the state for that matter," Iowa Cubs General Manager Sam Bernabe says, "and we feel their pain. We want them to win as much as they want to win." The Chicago Cubs, who open the playoffs against the Arizona Diamondbacks, have not won a World Series since 1908.
Fans of the North Siders have endured some heart breaking post season losses, including their last playoff appearance in 2003. The Cubs were two outs away from a trip to the World Series, but ended up losing to the Florida Marlins. Bernabe says Cub fans are excited about the team’s chances this year.
"There’s a little extra spring in everybody’s step," Bernabe says of the Cubs fans in Iowa, "they’re cautiously optimistic." Bernabe says he’s hoping the 2007 Cubs will end the 99 year championship drought.
"That’s what we hear about most, is ‘wait til next year,’ and hopefully this is our ‘next year,’" Bernabe says. "Cub fans get more excited about the prospect of winning than probably any other organization, and that’s not to slight any other baseball fans, it’s just that we haven’t won in a really long time."
The first pitch of tonight’s game in Phoenix is scheduled for 9 p.m. Iowa time. It’s the first game of a best-of-five series between Arizona and Chicago.