The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. I'll say it again, in case it hasn't sunk in for you yet (also because I'm not sure it has for me).
The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.
It's been well over a year since I posted on my blog here. Interestingly enough, one of my last posts was about the end of another long drought...horse racing's Triple Crown and American Pharoah. I guess it takes a significant sports event to compel me to write?
I've been thinking all day about what I wanted to write here. I haven't been sure how to start, or how to end...or if I'll even make sense. Bear with me if I ramble.
The Chicago Cubs are, without a doubt, my first love. For as long as I can remember, I've lived and died with the team that resides at 1060 W. Addison. I was that kid who could tell you the batting averages of Ryno, Mark Grace (perhaps my favorite all time Cub), and Andre Dawson. I remember some of the most obscure Cubs (Doug Dascenzo, anyone?). Every, seriously, every single time I go to Wrigley Field, there's a certain draw. I don't even have to step foot inside the 100+ year old cathedral. All I have to do is see those light towers from the Red Line or walk past that bright red marquee on a cold January night, and I go into deep thought about Cubs baseball. I climb the stairs toward my seat and I stop at the first view of the field that I get. There is no better view in sports.
The World Series had always been a pipe dream. Every year, October would come more than likely, the Cubs would be long gone. I'm not quite 30, so I've only been alive for seven Cubs playoff teams (including this year), and I only remember six of those. Until last night, it's always ended in disappointment. Actually heartbreak is a better word for it. If you know me, you know that I'm not exactly a graceful loser. 1998, 2003....don't even get me started on 2007 and 2008.
After the 2015 season, we kind of knew what to expect from this year's Cubs...especially after the offseason acquisitions they made. Adding the likes of Zobrist, Heyward, and Lackey were essential to putting this team over the top. Dexter Fowler coming back might be the most important move of all. But I'm not here to analyze the Cubs' roster moves and how they got to the playoffs...
This post is more for everyone like me. Everyone who lived and died with every single pitch over the last month. Everyone who is seeing their doctor this week to get some blood pressure medication. Everyone who loves the Chicago Cubs.
There's a certain bond that Cubs fans have always shared. It's not simply the fact that we're fans of the same team. I share rooting interests with many, many people. But it's the Cubs that create the deepest connection. It's about having something in common with someone who has shared the same pain and heartbreak and keeps coming back for more. Baseball can be a cruel game, and I think a lot of us have experienced it in our own futile playing careers, and that breeds a desire to see success for our favorite team. Before November 2nd, 2016 (and after, too), meeting a stranger and finding out you have the Cubs in common was awesome...especially if you happened to meet someone while out of town. That instant connection endeared you to that person, even if you'll never see them again.
If you've watched the news or listened to sports radio over the last week or so, you've undoubtedly heard some awesome stories about Cubs fans watching games with family, friends, neighbors, etc. There's a touching story about a man who drove 600 miles to sit at his father's gravesite and listen to Game 7 there because he made a certain promise to his dad. I can't compete with that...but here goes...
This is for my parents and my brother. My mom and dad may or may not have been responsible for steering me towards the Cubs...honestly I have no idea...but the Cubs are a constant topic of conversation at our house during the season. My mom texted me about me listening to Cubs games as a two year old, just before the first pitch last night. My dad was texting me throughout the game after he got home from work and stood in line this morning to buy us all World Series Championship t-shirts. My brother is a Sox fan, but he knows how much this World Series means to me and texted me congratulations after the final out (also that he wanted pictures of me crying). I love you guys.
For my grandparents, who are big Cub fans. Like so many, they've been around a long time without seeing what we saw last night. We don't know if we'll ever see it again...the Cubs track record isn't exactly good...so I'm very glad last night happened.
For my extended family, which includes a lot of Cubs fans. Especially my Uncle Tim, who hand-wrote me a certificate good for one Cubs game with him as a birthday(?) present. It took me a few years to cash it in, but if I remember correctly, pretty sure we saw the Cubs get absolutely smoked by Greg Maddux and the Atlanta Braves. We sat in the upper deck down the right field line. I think there was a deep foul ball that came really close to us. Despite the loss, it couldn't have been a bad day because I spent it at Wrigley Field.
For all my Cub fan friends. We've all endured so much. I really appreciate all of the in-game texts and being able to watch games with you. Lineup and trade analysis...farm system nuggets...drooling over Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo homers (or certain girls I know drooling over Bryant and Rizzo in general)...Hoosier love for Kyle Schwarber...W!!! posts...Snapchat posts...surviving Game 7 with me and making sure that I'm OK...Champagne after the final out. You all are the best. Thank you.
For my radio buddies who have the internal conflict of interest of covering the team they love. Selfishly I'm happy I don't have to endure that struggle anymore. I'm really happy you guys were able to enjoy it like I did.
For friends who are fans of other teams. The vast, vast majority of non-Cub fans (aside from Indian fans, of course), wished us Cub fans well during the playoffs. Thank you for putting aside your South Side (or St. Louis, or Milwaukee, or wherever) allegiances and rooting us on. We needed it and we appreciate it.
I've seen some gloating over Cleveland fans...White Sox fans...non-Cub fans. I get it...our team is on top of the baseball world and nobody can take that away from us. But I'm just not that kind of sports fan (unless it's Indiana Hoosiers basketball over Kentucky...for some reason that's different). I think part of the reason I'm not that way is because I'm a Cub fan. I've lived through enough heartache and disappointment to know what Indians fans are going through today. I'm not one to intentionally compound that feeling, because I wouldn't want that done to me. Call it the Golden Rule of Sports? Sure, why not.
Lastly, this is the first time I've felt complete ownership over a Chicago sports championship. I was barely 11 years old the last time the Bulls won a title and didn't fully understand what it meant to go through a season and win a title. I was happy the White Sox won the 2005 World Series, but honestly it was mainly because I really didn't like the Astros. The Blackhawks' Stanley Cup titles have felt a little bit like I've "stolen" those as a fan. I'm a fully-admitted bandwagon jumper (circa 2009). I've never seen the Bears win a Super Bowl.
The team I love the most has finally won it all. Yeah, I cried last night. I teared up several times today while listening to the final call on radio and listening to people's stories. Yeah, I bought the Tribune and the Sun-Times today just to save the front page.
Baseball season is over, and the Cubs are World Series Champions. It's still so surreal to say...even think. It happened, and us Cub fans can finally celebrate in real life the dream we've all had.
Anno Catuli 00 00 000 (!!!!)
Go Cubs Go! #FlyTheW
Thanks for indulging me. 106 days until Pitchers and Catchers.
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