The Chicago Cubs are making a run for the playoffs. This would be the first time they’ve made it since 2003, the year they came within 5 outs of going to the World Series. In case you don’t know, the Cubs last went to the World Series in 1945 against Detroit. That was just after WW II. They last won in 1908. Yes, that’s right, almost 100 years ago.

I grew up in Chicago and my Dad raised me a Cubs fan. I’m hardwired into the Cubs, they are in my blood, part of the family. The way they play affects my mood. I relate to the players and coaches like they’re cousins and uncles.

Before we left the States, we joked that I had to leave the country to get the Cubs into the World Series. I had mixed feelings about this, but felt the sacrifice was worth it, and hell, if the Cubs do go to the World Series you can believe I will try and be there.

Being a Cubs fan, or baseball fan generally, in China is like really being into Rugby and living in Chicago. Sure, you might find some people who share your passion, usually fellow expats. And sure, you might be able to catch a game from back home at certain establishments from time to time. But who likes to eat breakfast during a Rugby match?

It’s kind of living a sports exile. China does have baseball and baseball players, they even have a league of sorts, and they will send a team to the Beijing Olympics next summer. They’re getting help from both Japan and the US in developing Chinese baseball. Although basketball has really caught on, when Lara and I played catch between the running track and ping pong tables, people kept stopping to watch. Baseball in China is very exotic.

This weekend the Cubs are playing their last home stand, against the Pittsburg Pirates. Usually I’d try to get back to Chicago this time of year, to take in some games at Wrigley with family and friends, before the 6 Months Of Darkness until the beginning of the next season.

The Cubs are not on TV in China. In Portland, we get WGN, so at least half of Cubs games were right there to see. In China, I can track night games in real time the next morning here on line. Because of the time difference, a night game in the States, say with a 7:05PM Central Time start, will begin here the next morning at 8:05AM. So I can get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and watch how the Cubs are doing live the previous night back home. ESPN.com has a feature called Game Cast, which has the box score, balls and strikes, current hitter, stats, and a little graphic of a diamond showing runners and a batter showing where the pitches are. It’s good enough considering the circumstances and, like listening to a game on the radio, requires a good deal of imagination.

Day games, say the traditional 1:20PM Day Game at Wrigley, begins here at 2:20AM. So when I get up in the morning I can check the Chicago papers on line to see how the team did while we were sleeping.

Division Series Playoff tickets go on sale this weekend. The Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are neck and neck in the Central Division. Currently, Chicago is 1 and a half games ahead of the Brewers. There’s a week of baseball left, and anything can happen.

Of course if the Cubs make the playoffs they aren’t necessarily going to make it all the way to the World Series. But it would put them closer to that possibility than they have been in several years. Stay tuned. Go Cubs!