The really great news is twenty years or so from now, when the Cubs win, my kids won't be telling their kids that this is for their Dad who never saw a Cubs championship. Phew!
It's two full days after it happened and it's still hard to believe. It's surreal. I'm still smiling. I'm still ecstatic. I'm watching that final ground ball out over and over and over....and keep throwing my first in the air in celebration every time. Like so many of my age range, I never thought I'd be around to see the Cubs win a World Series. I wasn't sure they'd ever get to the World Series. You never know what you're going to get in sports or life, do you?
I walked into Wrigley Field for the first time on July 2, 1960. I found the game on Baseball-Reference. What I remember about the game was the Cubs lost to Cincinnati. My cousin Carole took a batting practice ball away from an usher and gave it to me (which I lost the next day, sorry). And how big Wrigley was. I was in awe just being in a major league park. I was eight years old and didn't give championships a thought. The Cubs lost that day but I was just happy to be there.
The Cubs sucked for most of that decade....bad sucking. Championships were for other teams. Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers. Then came 1969. The first disappointment of my baseball life. No biggie, they'll get another chance soon enough. Pffffft. Sigh. What did I know? There were many more disappointments to come. That's why so many of us thought they'd find a way to lose Wednesday night. That's also why so many of us still have smiles on our faces two nights later.
I went down to Wrigley on Thursday morning. I think I just wanted to make sure it was real. Lots of people were there exchanging high fives and hugs. We were trading stories about our Cubs experiences. Cubs fans have always bonded over losing. Bonding over winning the World Series was something none of us had any experience with. It was strange but a good strange.
As I was walking around the park yesterday I saw this brick. It's Joe Tinker of the immortal Tinker to Evers to Chance. They were the last guys to win championships with the Cubs and they've been dead for decades. It came to mind that Russell to Baez to Rizzo are now our immortals. These guys and others like Bryant, Zobrist, Lester and whoever are now baseball legends. I feel lucky to be around to see it. So many didn't get the opportunity.
The quote at the top belongs to me. I've become profound in my old age. In the overall scheme of life, it's a minor thing but I'm grateful I'm still around to see it. It's 2016 and next year is now here.
Let's do it again in 2017!
I wrote this three years ago thinking the Cubs would never win the World Series. They fooled me.