This is terrific. I'll get to it in a moment
First, though, it's important to understand that when a team wins its first championship in 108 years, you'd have to be foolish to expect the celebration to stop when most do, let alone soon. The response isn't like most post-championship parties, it isn't about being "#1", that's almost not even on the frequency, as Cubs manager Joe Maddon might put it. In large part, it's not even mostly about baseball. It's cultural, and a city is releasing generations of emotions. It's expressing utter joy and relief and a lifetime of family memories. That's why, as much as I thought I'd posted the last Cubs piece here for a while, I knew that might not be the case. Too much that was deeply under layers of decades has made its way to the surface.
It's overtake the city and most nooks. I got an email on Friday from a friend who works in a large, corporate tax accountants office, hardly the hot bed of the sports world. She said that the office was near-empty, with only one person under the age of 30 game into work that day -- the rest went to the Cubs parade rally. It's worth noting that their office isn't in the city, but all the way out in Buffalo Grove, probably 1-1/2 hours from Grant Park in downtown Chicago where the festivities took place. New reports were that 5 million people showed up there and along the parade route that began at Wrigley Field. I am sure that's an exaggeration -- there are 10 million in the metropolitan area. But still, the crowd was understandably massive. If it was "only" half that estimate, it's stunning.
But one of the most notable continuations is something I tracked down and have below. That's the point of this. I'd heard mention of it, and Dutchie Caray (the widow of Hall of Fame announcer Harry Caray) spoke movingly about it at Wrigley Field before the parade.
One of the iconic comments that Harry Caray made in his later career, to salve the hurt of a particularly heartbreaking year, came after the last game of the 1991 season. That's when, during his sign-off until the next Spring, he said that "Sure as God made green apples, the Chicago Cubs are going to be in a World Series." The words were long remembered, as much as his famous "Holy Cow!" call, which is why fans have been leaving green apples at the base of Harry's statue outside Wrigley Field ever since the Cubs made it into the World Series. But that isn't the point here, only part of the background.
It turns out that Budweiser, Harry Caray's longtime favorite beer and sponsor of the Cubs, put together a lovely two-minute ad that let Harry do something he never had the chance to during his lifetime. They edited together audio from some of his broadcasts, together with footage of events, and let him call the Cubs World Series championship.
From some things that are said, I think that some of the material comes from 1984, when the team won their division and got into their first playoffs in 39 years. (At the 1:44 mark, he makes a reference which I vividly recall was on a sign being held up in the stands by a diehard fan at that clinching game after the final out.) But there's also clearly audio from other broadcasts edited in, and it's all artfully and loving done.
Here it is.
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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