Dear Tony Pierce:

2003 Chicago Cubs: National League Central Champs. Mark Prior: 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner. With the Cubs' starting pitching, this team will go to the World Series.

These are things I dream.

Like you, I no longer live in or near the city of Chicago. But that has only made my passion for the Cubs grow stronger. I sit at my computer at work watching 1:20 Central Time gamecasts. I come home for the evening games and pull my Mark Prior jersey out of the closet.

I was in attendance at Wrigley when Ozzy "sang" Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and for all the crap the news pundits said after that, I thought Ozzy was great, and I loved every minute of it.

Ron Santo tells Pat Hughes every day that this is the year, this is the team, these are the pitchers. This is the year the "AC" sign on the apartment buildings behind the right field belachers comes down.

These things I dream. I imagine, Mr. Pierce, that this things haunt your dreams as well.

But after watching the Cubbies take 4 of 5 from the Cardinals, from watching Sammy hit a walk-off shot on an 0-2 pitch in the bottom of the 15th, from coming back from a 6-run deficit yesterday, from seeing them win today even though Shawn Estes continues to stink on the mound, these dreams of mine seem to get closer and closer to reality.

As a Cubs fan, I'm afraid to believe my dreams. I'm scared to believe. I know the pain of disappointment because of tough losses by my sports team.

But these Cubbies have made a believer out of me. And even though the Tribune Corp. does not deserve to own a championship team, Cubs fans certainly have waited long enough to get their chance to order Sports Illustrated at over 50% off the cover price and receive absolutely free the handsome Chicago Cubs championship edition and embroidered duffel bag.

It scares me, but I believe. And I feel a little bit better knowing that you believe too.