Cubs are team of destiny

Hey Cubs fans, break out the Old Style and stogies — this is “Anno Catuli,” aka The Year of Our Cubs.

The Anno Catuli sign — which currently reads AC006299 and looms behind right field — counts the years it’s been since division, league and world championships. It will soon read AC000000.

That’s right — the Chicago Cubs will be World Series champions for the first time since 1908.

I know what you’re thinking, Cubs fans: such confidence is sure to add to the multi-faceted Cub jinx. Go ahead, curse me now. Post my picture all over Wrigleyville and lock me up in a Murphy’s Bleachers back room with Steve Bartman if I dare show my face in the Friendly Confines. Just make sure the goat burgers are marinated and ready to grill up in a celebration on All Saints’ Day — this year’s date for game seven.

It shouldn’t be too difficult taking down Arizona, especially when the Diamondbacks’ color commentator, Mark Grace, is a Cub legend. Gracie would much rather see the Cubs move on, and knowing his influence in the Arizona clubhouse — and his network of hot, Wrigleyville chicks — I don’t see the D-Backs exactly “getting up” for the games in Chicago. Gracie will have them barhopping on Clark all the way to Rush and Division. (That’s approximately four miles of hedonism, and the bars don’t close until 4 a.m. in the Windy City.)

Although Arizona technically has the home-field advantage, Phoenix is basically a suburb of Chicago with all the ex-Chicagoans who fled the city’s brutal winters for the desert sun. The D-Backs will be lucky to win one at a Chase Field dominated by Cubs fans.

The winner of the Rockies-Phillies series won’t pose much of a challenge either. The Rockies wouldn’t even be here if the home plate umpire had a decent angle when he called Matt Holliday safe at home in the 13th inning of Monday’s Wild Card tiebreaker game.

And the Phillies? The team with the most losses in the history of baseball? No chance. Too much negativity in Philadelphia. Look at what the city did to Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb. You can’t win there.

Not to mention the Rockies and Phillies closed out the regular season with a combined 28-5 record, and there’s no way to maintain that kind of pace. Ryan Howard might go deep over Sheffield a few times, but good pitching beats good hitting and the Cubs have better starters and a deeper bullpen than any remaining team in the National League.

The only question mark for the Cubs is the closer, Ryan Dempster. However, a close source who waited on Cubs manager Lou Piniella tells me that Sweet Lou has an ace up his sleeve. The ace throws 98 miles per hour and has a breaking ball that would make Sandy Koufax envious. He has also struck out 20 batters in a single game — a major league record.

His name is K-Wood (Kerry Wood), and he has been consistently shelved with arm injuries since 2003. A forgotten man, it was a wonder Piniella even gave him a chance to pitch this year. After a long stint in the minors, Wood made his first appearance Aug. 5 in a game that was out of reach.

The Cubs brought him along slowly, doling out mop-up duty to the former Sports Illustrated cover boy. In the stretch run of the season, after his arm built strength, Wood made some meaningful appearances and his breaking ball broke like a whiffle ball. His fastball was in the high 90s.

Dempster has been shaky all season. He lost seven times and has a 4.73 ERA. Last year he blew 27 percent of his saves and had a 4.80 ERA. There is no reason Piniella would hand him the ball in game seven of the World Series.

With a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning at Fenway Park, it’ll be Wood who takes the hill. And after he strikes out Big Papi, he’ll be the one on the bottom of the victorious pile at the mound.

All the promise of his achievements — that 20-strikeout game, the four 200-plus strikeout seasons and the 2003 season where the Cubs came within five outs of a World Series appearance — finally fulfilled.

And if K-Wood is not the answer, remember this: there is no room on the Anno Catuli sign for 100. If that’s not a sign, I must be blind.

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