The documentary I mentioned earlier, Joy in Wrigleyville, aired tonight on the MLB Network. It repeats at 8 PM and 11 PM Los Angeles time.
It’s tremendous. Perhaps the best documentary I’ve seen about the Cubs, because it explains clearly what being a Cubs fan actually means. Deeply moving and joyous. Especially emotional too, with all the people talking about lost parents, and my dad having passed away in May. But he got to see the start of the season, and the point of the film is about the sense of community.
If you love the Cubs, don't miss it. If you follow baseball, and even if you just don't grasp why Cubs fans go on and on -- still -- it's deeply worth checking out. Even if you don't particularly follow sports, it's about the people -- not a single baseball player is interviewed. This is about legacy and heritage and ties to family.
(On a purely production level, I love that for almost all of the audio play-by-play they used is Pat Hughes, the Cubs radio announcer who I love, not the Fox national broadcast. Part of that is probably that the MLB Network didn’t want the Fox feed, but most is probably hearing the Cubs announcer, because that’s core to the story.)
A quote I read today from the Cubs team president Theo Epstein puts it in perspective –
"Being around Chicago was wonderful," Epstein said on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings. "So many people coming up and saying, 'Thank you.' I think David Ross was the first one to point out that everyone was saying 'Thank you' and not 'Congratulations,' which I think reflects the tremendous gratitude everyone has and how personally they feel the championship impacted their lives.
"It's great to see everyone in a good mood and connected with each other and the ballclub and parts of different family members and generations, all because of one team that came together and played great baseball. It's been awesome to be in the middle of that and observe it and see how rewarded all our fans feel and all the front-office guys who pulled the all-nighters and all our players who sort of grew up during the pennant race. It's been fun to see the positive impact it's had on so many people and the city as a whole. What more could you want, to feel that as you're walking around town?"
I love the sensibility – and how great that David Ross (a backup catcher who retired at the end of the year and became utterly beloved by Cubs fan) got it – that people were saying “Thank you” rather than “Congratulations."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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