The Cubs' new story: Goodbye goat, hello hope

There’s a new story in town in Chicago. No more torment of poor Steve Bartman. No more warnings about goats. No more victimhood narratives to explain our lovable losers’ lack of achievement.

As all of us younger than 108 have grown up with these stories, we are still tender. All season, despite the distinct whiff of success in the air, we’d start to worry at each loss, especially once two or more strung together, especially when our best hitters faltered. We feared the slump, the plummet, the collapse, the lost hope, again.

What is responsible for this new story? First off, the players seem immune to that old story – too young, having too much fun, guided by elders with sure hands.

And the fans. While commentators presented pre-recorded pieces on Bartman’s catch and Moises Alou’s resulting hissy fit, and old black and whites of Sam Sianis and the damn goat, thousands of out-of-their-minds Cubs fans refuse to leave the park after a win, savoring the magic.

And so begins a new tale: Cubs win – really win, repeatedly, and now we’re in the World Series, thanks to these players and these fans.

And there is another group, the long-suffering fans who have passed on. Read any comments string, listen to any fan interviews, listen to your neighbor or friend, probably yourself: the ancestors are still with us. Everybody has a Grandpa Francis, or Uncle Gordon, or Ma, who would have done anything to be here to experience the dream come true. I don't know what to think about the whole afterlife thing, but just maybe they are seeing this through our eyes.

One of those is singer-songwriter Steve Goodman, who died of leukemia at 36 in 1984 . We hear his voice at every game, every win at least, when fans belt out Go Cubs Go, the current anthem of Chicago. . (Legend has it that he penned Go Cubs Go after his lesser-known A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request was seen as too depressing.) His ashes were spread at Wrigley, so he got his own final request.

So here we go. The whirring sound you hear is meetings being cancelled, families gathering, bank accounts being drained for the scalped ticket of a lifetime, takeout menus being found, hearts fluttering. the new story taking hold. It’s really happening.

 

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