Okay, so what did you think I was going to write about this morning?
What's so odd here is that most baseball teams win their league championship to get into the World Series, they're very excited and celebrate...but it's more of the "jumping up-and-down" variety, not one with a sense of profound emotional release for both the team and fans. But with the Cubs, the celebration might still be going on.
This is only Step One. It's not winning the World Series, which is the ultimate goal. The holy grail that's been off at a distance for over a century, 108 years. But boy howdy, was it a big step. More like a leap. After all, as far as "big steps" go, this one took 71 years to get here.
It's a very bizarre, ethereal feeling. No, the Cubs haven't won the World Series. This is only winning the National League pennant. Only, indeed. After all, this the first time in my entire life when the Chicago Cubs have even been in the World Series. I have no focal point to balance things. It's another world. So, for starters, I'm exceedingly happy to take what I'm given. And then we'll see if we can build on that. I certainly hope so. But this is a fine accomplishment.
Here's how unlikely and odd it is. A couple months ago, I bought theater tickets for two events...this week!! Even with the Cubs having the best record in all of baseball, It didn't occur to me to check the World Series schedule to even risk avoiding a conflict. As it stands, one of the events is a one-night only production. The other, I'll hope to change the date -- but I don't know if I'll be able to. And if not...well, then I'll just simply be blowing off two theater events this week. That's the way it goes, but simply playing in a World Series does not come often in a person's lifetime. Like, up to yesterday, never for me. DVR doesn't cut it. So, goodbye theater.
I have to admit, there's a bitter-sweet quality to this. My dad grew up walking distance from Wrigley, and would walk over to games when he was a little kid. He followed them for 95 years, and in that near-century never saw them win a World Series. (He did go to Wrigley Field to watch them play in one, though, which to Chicagoans is impressive enough -- he thought it was 1938, 78 years ago.) But he passed away in May, so he won't be here to see this World Series. He was high in my mind throughout the ninth inning. But happily, he did get to see the team start the first month of the season so well, with the best record in baseball, and was thrilled about it. So, I like to think he helped give them their start, and then the team took it from there.
Who knows what will happen in the World Series? However it ends, though, it's going to be wonderful, because the Cubs' opponent, the Cleveland Indians have the second longest streak for not winning a World Series -- their last one being in 1948. That's 68 years ago. A long time, however just a paltry slump for the Cubs. Still, if the Cubs do lose, I'll be really glad that Cleveland will be who wins.
That's as far as my graciousness goes. My thoughts here are not of other teams, I hope the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. After 108 years. But I'm guessing you figured that by this point.
Note to any Cubs players reading this: In case you need some additional motivation -- just know that if you win the World Series, you will never, ever have to pay for a meal for yourself and your family in Chicago again...ever, for the rest of your life.
And here is what winning your first National League pennant in 71 years looks like. The last pitch, with one out in the top of the ninth inning and a runner on first. You can almost hear the disbelief in announcer Joe Buck's voice as he can barely be made out above the crowd shouting, "The CUBS have won the pennant!!!!" All of which leads to the packed house begin to sing Steve Goodman's song, "Go, Cubs, Go!" But the most charming moment is the very elderly Cubs fan with a beaming look of joy on her face.