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Friday, November 4, 2016

I Didn't Win the World Series

   As I was trying to get to sleep after Game 7 I was thinking about how I felt.  As an older Cubs fan I've had my share of highs and lows.  I've shared that I was at the game on Opening Day in 1969 and sang along with "Hey Hey Holy Mackerel" and watched Ron Santo click his heels after wins that summer.  I cheered when Rick Sutcliff hit his home run in the 1984 playoffs.  I was counting  the outs remaining in Game 6 in 2003.  Then as everyone knows came the disappointments in those seasons and others.  As a young teen I spent a few summers with my friends taking the El down from West Rogers Park and (unbelievably now) buying tickets at the gate and sitting in the front row of the left field bleachers.  Along the way I followed the team through a lot of mediocre seasons.
    At some point rooting for a team is like love.  You give your heart and you're sometimes rewarded with joy.  Sometimes your heart gets broken.  There are people, optimistic types, who never give up on love, who deal with the heartbreak and always remain open to the joy.  Then there are others who maybe become more guarded.  Afraid of getting hurt, they close their own hearts to some degree and to that degree lose their ability to feel the joy of the good moments.  I, being more of a pessimist, unfortunately fall into the second category.  You can guess where I'm going with this.  I'm happy that the Cubs won but maybe I don't feel it as much as most do.  That's a bit sad but that's life.
    All I've said is really a preamble (pre-ramble?) to what I ended up thinking about as I lay in the dark.  Maybe they're totally sincere when they say that what they do is for the fans and maybe we do inspire them but the people who really won the World Series are the players and those who built the team.  I'm truly happy for them.  Guys like Anthony Rizzo who overcame cancer and who spends time off the field inspiring others to do the same.  Rizzo and Travis Wood who spent three long years waiting for the success that was hoped for but not guaranteed.  Kris Byant who's had two magical years, who won the ROY but worked to improve himself and had an even better year two.  Jon Lester who brought his winning experience to the Cubs under a ton of pressure.  John Lackey, a competitor, another winner who famously said, “We’re trying to win a World Series. I didn’t come here for a haircut, you know what I mean? We’re trying to get it on. I came here for jewelry.”  I'm really happy for David Ross, Grandpa Rossy, in his last year, who the guys rallied around all season.  How about Miguel Montero who at some point in the season worried he was going to be cut and ended up with the game winning hit in Game 7.  That makes me happy.  What can I say about the manager, Joe Maddon.  Through it all he gave me faith.  The guy is cool!  I'm happy for him and his under the radar coaching staff.  I'm happy and a bit relieved for Jason Heyward who never could get it going with the bat but seemed always positive nonetheless and showed his heart and leadership during the rain delay the other night.  I'm happy for Javier Baez who overcame early troubles and is now damn fun to watch.  The quiet Addison Russell.  You could see his confidence growing as the year went on.  Ben Zobrist, Zorilla, who had a monster start and a monster ending.  Another winner for sure.  I'm happy for the intense 2015 Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta.  You gotta be happy for The Professor, Kyle Hendricks who began the year as the Cub's fifth starter and is in the mix for the Cy Young this year.  I'm happy for Kyle Schwarber who apparently worked his butt off to come back and not only gave a lift to the team emotionally but hit .412 in the Series.  Unbelievable!  OK, thanks if you're still reading.  I'm happy for Theo Epstein, who at only 42 years old was instrumental in breaking the two longest championship droughts in baseball history.  What's left Theo?  Lastly, I'm happy for those former Cub players like Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, etc. who will always be part of the Cubs family.

    The team I've watched for almost half a century is finally on top and as the hours go by and it sinks in I do think I'm getting more emotional.  Maybe after all these years it's just too hard to believe.  You know?  Well, there are probably more words on this page than I've written in seven years of this blog.  Thanks for reading.

Here's to all the Cubs fans no longer with us, including Steve Goodman:


  1. Wow, so well written! I haven't posted yet about the World Champion Cubs, but when I do I hope it makes others smile like your post did for me.


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