(Wrigley Field ATM, 7:38 AM.  Please Contact Your Financial Institution)

In between chatter concerning the White Sox carrying Chicago’s playoff hopes, all morning on the radio, news of a Cubs “shrine to futility” rode the airwaves.  The reports were that disgruntled Cub fans had left an anguished pile of 2008 season keepsakes at the friendly confines’ gate, including letters, torn posters, and bitter, bitter tears.

One letter, short and to the point, stood out.

“Dear Cubs,” it began. “Thanks for nothing.”

Among the torn-up Cubs posters and T-shirts, another note read: “Dear Cubs 2008, It really hurts knowing I’ll never see you again. We had some great times.”

The shrine, at Waveland and Sheffield, was started by Murphy’s Bleachers workers upset at the Cubs getting drummed out of the playoffs. It grew as passersby added messages and trinkets.

Seeing as my office is barely a mile away from the Century of No Progress at 1060 West Addison, I thought I would make a brief diversion from my regular routine and head over to see for myself what a broken Cub Nation does to console itself. White Sox cap perched on head at a rakish angle, Treo in hand, I took a lap around the park, beaming a smile wider than Bobby Jenks’ waistband.

Imagine my chagrin when I found no such shrine at all.  Faster than the Republic of Germany had erased all traces of the Berlin wall, the Wrigley staff had swept up the grieving fans’ offerings into the dustbin of history.  Speedily bagged and destined to rot in the garbage dump landfills at Hillside were the candles, the Old Style cans and the foil balloons, their sentiments already consigned to become sediment.

A guy in a Cubs hat approached.  Our eyes met.

“Lilly starting tonight?” I chirped.

No answer.

The hunt still on, I continued my lap around Wrigley in the early morning sunlight,  past the rooftop condos and the empty spots where broadcast trucks stood idling just days ago. Surely that shrine is still here, I told myself.  They can’t have thrown it away already.  It’s gotta be here.

When I arrived back where I began, at the Ernie Banks statue, I realized with a start what had just happened.  That I, too had fallen victim to Cub fan entitlement, not realizing my expectations were way out of whack, not understanding the world I lived in.

I had come seeking a shrine, catharsis, closure.  All I found were Quarter Pounder wrappers.

Dear Cub Nation: thanks for nothing.