I have been a Cubs fan for all 35 (36 one month from now) years of my life. If I’m being completely honest, I never really expected them to win it all. I hoped against hope that they would, but there’s always next year became an all too common refrain.
I grew up with Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Andre Dawson and so many other amazing players during my childhood. I was young and eternally optimistic. Life hadn’t worn me down yet.
There was 1998 with Sosa, Wood and Grace. In 2003 I remember the pain and heartbreak as Bartman reached over the rail and seemingly snatched a victory from a phenomenal team. Then the stacked teams of 07 and 08. Between 2009 and 2010 I watched less and less baseball. I was getting frustrated waiting for next year.
Last year I watched a few games. When I was younger I could watch almost every game on WGN. Harry Caray and Steve Stone are the voices of my childhood. 25 years ago Harry said, “Sure as God made green apples, the Cubs are going to be back in the world series.” That was the last game of the 1991 season. 25 years later, here we are.
These Cubs battled back through not one, not two, but three…YES THREE!…elimination games. They are only the 6th team in the history of MLB to do that.
Each time before the adversity they faced in this series would have crushed those teams. They would have folded and blamed the curse. These young Cubs said #^@! the curse! Fun fact: originally the Cubs were the White Stockings, until the Sox stole that name. It wasn’t until 1902 that they became the Cubs because of all the young, fresh faced cubs on the team. 114 years later THESE young, fresh faced Cubs did what no one has done in over a century!
The first thing I did when Kris Bryant scooped up the grounder and shot it over to Rizzo was run screaming into my bedroom to my wife. Even though she is a Reds fan (I forgive her) and even though she has to wake up for work at 4 a.m. she had woke up in the 9th to watch the end of the game, drifting in and out of sleep. The DirecTV in the room was a few seconds behind so as I ran in there screaming she was just seeing the final out.
The next thing I did was call my grandpa (I call him Pop). He’s from Chicago and made me a Cubs fan before I was old enough to know what the Cubs were. He took me to my first Cubs game in St. Louis. He took me to my first Cubs game at Wrigley. We sat in the bleachers where he had quite a few drinks since I was old enough to drive. My grandma, God rest her soul, and my sister sat on the third base side, shaded and sober.
I had to call him five times before I woke him up. He’s 75 years old and wakes up at 2 a.m. to go to work every single day. For perspective, he was four years old the last time the Cubs were even IN the World Series. When he finally woke up, with tears of joy streaming down my face and my voice choking up I shouted into the phone, “The Cubs won! The Cubs won the World Series!” Tomorrow morning he will probably think it was a dream
Even as I write this it feels like a dream. After 35 years of begging, praying, hoping…35 years of crushing disappointment, cursing and lost hope…THE CHICAGO CUBS ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!!
Somewhere in that great press box in the sky Harry Caray sang the 7th inning stretch tonight and it worked. He proclaimed, “Holy Cow!” or “Cubs win, Cubs win!” like only he can. All those beloved family members who always told me, “There’s always next year!” cheered as I wept. They looked down on me and smiled. I could feel their love as I spoke to Pop. I thanked them for any help they provided. All the departed Cubs fans from the past 108 years sat in the bleachers in the sky, had a cold Bud and went crazy singing Go Cubs Go. If you’re not familiar, go here where you can hear it being sung a mile away.
So let’s all raise a glass, share a beer or a tear, thank God or Allah or whatever deity/force you thank and celebrate history. Because this just happened: