"When we played ball in the back yard, I was always my favorite Cubs player, nobody else ever from any other team. I can close my eyes at any time on any day and see the beautiful ivy on the homerun wall, hear the sounds and smell the aroma that are only that way at Wrigley. As a teenager we could buy the cheapest tickets in the 70's and sit basically anywhere in the park, because no one came. I listened and watched in 1984 as they blew that two games to none playoff series lead and lost game 5 at Wrigley. I sat in a New York hotel in 2003 with family, watching the game as the Bartman ball happened. They were one game away from the World Series then. I turned off the TV and said 'it's over.' A family member questioned emphatically, 'What are you talking about? That's one play, they're one game, four outs away.' I repeated: 'It's over,' and went to bed.
[For readers who are not familiar: In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, with Chicago ahead 3–0 and holding a three games to two lead in the best of seven series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans – Steve Bartman – reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moises Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning their first pennant since 1945. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning and losing the game, 8–3. They were eliminated in the seventh game the next day.]
"No one ever told me how hard it would be to be a Cubs fan (I was literally born a Cubs fan in 1962 according to my mom). No one ever told me that I just needed to keep saying 'wait till next year'...for 53 years. I used to have a dedicated room when I lived in Illinois with over 300 Cubs items. For pete's sake, I own two seats that they sold for $50 a pair back in the 80's when they replaced the old wooden seats. I have autographs from Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Woods, Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins, Harry Caray. I painted Cubs emblems on my cheeks for games and painted my whole face, hair and wore all Cubs stuff for Halloween as the original Chicago Cubs Fan Club Clown. I turned my 125' wedding runner into a banner which 12 of us unfurled at a Cubs game in 1984. Donna and I traveled to Chicago for one weekend, there on Friday and back on Saturday, just to see a Cubs game several years ago.
"I've been through it all and MORE. I can't explain this feeling, this mixture of feelings--but it feels great!!!!
"When they win it all, you'll probably have to mop me up off the floor.
"Some of you will never understand any of this...some of you may understand some of this if you're a Cubs fan under 40 OR have only been a Cubs fan for several years--the Die-Hards, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT...HEY, HEY! HOLY COW! LET'S GO CUBS!!!"
"P.S. I EVEN HAVE CUBS MIRROR SOCKS ON MY CAR--LOL!"
In fairness to Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Sandy Alomar, Rocky Calvito, etc., if there's an Indians fan who has a similar story of team devotion, we'd love to hear from you, too.
The Indians may be an even bigger surprise getting to the Series. They lost two of their best pitchers in September--first Danny Salazar, then Carlos Carrasco. Salazar may be back for limited use in the Series.
The winner of the final game in the playoff series was a young man who won his first major league start just days earlier. Ryan Merritt wasn't listed as the winning pitcher of the win over the Blue Jays; he only went four-and-a-third innings, but he didn't give up any runs and struck out three while giving up only two hits.
That Cleveland is in the series may seem accidental; their season has been filled with a variety of setbacks that might have knocked them out of contention. For the Cubs, it may be destiny. They had the best regular season record in baseball this year. Cubs fans believe it's time to put the icing on the cake.
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