So I woke up this morning, and the Cubs were in the World Series. What’s up with that?
I could write for days about this, but this isn’t a sports website so I’ll keep it brief. As longtime readers know, I only post about sports when something big is going on – and if you grew up on the North Side of Chicago, it’s safe to say something big is going on.
I won’t bore you with poetical musings, but yesterday was a day I honestly believed might never come. After the horror of 1984 was somehow eclipsed by the spiritual evisceration of 2003, there was a reluctance to ever believe again. That’s what Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon, the best executive and manager in baseball, were up against. The “Billy Goat Curse” may not be real, but the pressure was a curse in its own right. Theo built the best organization the Cubs have ever had, and Joe somehow found a way to make his players embrace the target. But until Anthony Rizzo squeezed the ball on that final double-play, I still believed fate was determined to steal the moment from us.
While the kids on the team (and the Cubs are alarmingly young – many of them really are kids) seemed immune to the weight of history, it’s clear they were well aware of what this moment would mean to Chicago and to Cubs fans. This moment was more about them than anyone else – I think my favorite T-shirt on the day was the “Just One Before I Die” so many seniors like Dorothy Farrell were wearing. I can’t help but think about all the fathers and mothers, grandparents, and great-grandparents that never lived to see this. 71 years is a long time; 108 even longer. This was for them – for Ron Santo and Ernie banks, for Steve Goodman and Jack and Harry.
We still have work to do – we have to win four games against another great young team representing a city who hasn’t won a World Series in a very long time (68 years) in the Cleveland Indians. It’s a dream matchup for baseball and a tough matchup for the Cubs, but whatever happens now I’ll still think of 2016 as the year we finally broke through. Getting to the World Series was the dragon we had to slay, the elephant on our backs – now that we’ve done it, with this incredible group of young talent we’ve assembled the Cubs are going to win a WS soon, even if it doesn’t happen this year.
So then, here’s to you, Dorothy – not even the Cubs winning the pennant could make Jager not taste horrible to me, but I hope you got that shot last night (and have that bottle ready for next weekend).