We’re all breaking out our Cubs stories after the ending of the century old dry-spell for baseball’s lovable losers (although the tone of the recollections may be a little different when told by Cleveland fans). For a game that has been criticized lately as slow-moving or less than dramatic – the Game Seven win by Chicago could have been written as a suspense-filled last chapter.
Except for a few folks who admitted to giving it up in favor of a good night’s sleep when the grounds-crew rolled out the rain tarp, a surprising number of our lunch guests today were still excited at having stayed up to watch the end.
By now, you’ll have heard how the Cubs got off to an early lead and then squandered it all away. It was enough to see the faces and gestures of the many on-camera Chicago fans at Wrigley, elated then agonizing over the score – as Cleveland came back to tie.
Extra innings. But first, a rain delay.
Almost like a Hollywood script, the Cubs score enough to win, except Cleveland is to have the last at-band. Two outs, then a walk. Then a run.
Then an out – the final one, and the end of the Curse of the Billy Goat. (But that’s a whole ‘nother story…)
As for my own Cubs story, it was enough to be at Wrigley on a beautiful afternoon, seats along the first base side, during the summer of the battling bats of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Some folks only remember the corked bat accusations and performance enhancement issues from that time, but it seemed to me all those home runs brought back some of the magic of the Big Leagues.
We got to see Sammy hit one out of the park on that afternoon. Not just out of the playing field. It soared over the ivy wall, over the bleachers and out onto Waveland Avenue. Granted, the old park is smaller than most, but still – it was an epic shot, and one of those things assigned a permanent memory spot.
Then after the game, a deep pan pizza from a nearby landmark, where I saw an epic-sized rat. (Or maybe it was one of the world’s smallest pizza employees. But that’s a whole ‘nother story, too…)
My guess is, after the immediate shock of the win wears off, Cubs fans are going to miss the annual groaning and moaning, that whole “we just can’t ever win!” lament that was as much a part of baseball’s storied history as the Bambino, Mickey Mantle, and Build-it-and-They-Will-Come.
There will still be Cubs fans.
They just won’t be those same down-trodden, lovable losing North-siders. Because now, they’re World Champions.