Call it distractions, call it day-to-day life, call it ennui if you must you yuppie swine, but I never got around to writing about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.
So call this a make-up column.
Do I have any new insights on the games? No. Do I have any insights on the players? No. But I do have a keen memory of the fans I saw the night they wrapped up Game 7 (finally) for the win.
I saw Damian from Chicago bear-hugging Randy from Wisconsin, jumping up and down as if they were gathered at the pitcher’s mound in Cleveland on that rainy night at Progressive Field. A young black man celebrating with a middle-aged white man with only two things in common — a gig at one of the largest newspaper companies in the world and a shared love of a once-cursed baseball team that had just conquered the world.
Yes, I saw this in a newsroom, where there’s no cheering in the press box, where we’ve seen it all, heard it all, read it all. Where news of election results, car crashes, celebrity sightings, rapes, murders and, yes, sporting events are met with either gallows humor or a detached shrug.
But not in this case. The Cubs won the World Series, ending a 108-year drought. This win mattered, even to fans in the newsroom. And I’ve got proof.
Fifteen minutes after the Cubs sealed the deal, Randy emerged from the men’s room dressed in his Cubs hat and jersey. Why did he wait until after the game?
“The last time they were in the playoffs, I was wearing this while they were playing and they lost. Didn’t want to jinx them,” he says.
Jerseys and hats are for closers, so once the Cubs closed the series, the well-deserved swag came out of the duffel bag and onto the superstitious fan who knows best — you don’t mess with a win streak, not in Vegas, not in Cleveland.
Randy’s a Packers fan, so he knows what it’s like to have your team win the big one. But this is baseball, and there’s nothing like a World Series win. It’s a glow in the chest that keeps you warm until April when the sun comes out on the dawn of a new season.
It’s memories of game-winning RBIs from Little League when you pretended someday you’d hit the game-winner in the major leagues.
It’s a call to Dad, Mom, and maybe Grandpa, who also witnessed his first World Series win in his lifetime.
It’s a chance to talk to old friends and new acquaintances, even the ones who sometimes annoy you, they’re all right now, because they’re Cubs fans too and we won.
And it’s a time for pure baseball lovers to unite because we remember when our teams finally won, like my Giants in 2010, and how great it feels, and when we see our friends feeling the same thing, that glow in the chest comes rushing back into us too.
The Cubs won the World Series. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment. For everyone.
Except Cleveland fans, of course. Oh, well. Maybe next year.