Friday, November 4, 2016
(photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)
I may be speaking prematurely on the second part of that headline, but yes you are reading that correctly: THE CUBS ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS. It doesn't even feel right to type that sentence. I don't normally do a lot of blogging in the offseason, but I felt that I had to record on the internet forever that this unbelievable event occurred. Everybody out there knows the story - 1908, Curse of the Billy Goat, Steve Bartman, 108 years of blown opportunities and heartache. It's the most remarkable championship drought in all of sports history for a team that has played almost its entire existence in perennial disappointment, and it's the reason that the team is so beloved by so many fans. It's one of the fundamental American notions to always lift up and root for the underdog, and the Cubs are the ultimate embodiment of that. Excluding Brewers and Cardinals fans, the Cubs represent so many of us, and a large portion of the sports-loving world will be celebrating today as over 5,000,000 people are expected to pack the streets of Chicago for the team's much deserved and long, long overdue Victory Parade. Five million - that is twice the size of Chicago. Think about that for a second. This number is a true representation of just how much this team means to people. If you were never a baseball fan before this series, and before this Game 7, and before all of the outpouring of emotion the last 2 days, then I'm sorry but you never will be.
As a Brewer fan and Wisconsin native, I was certainly rooting for the Indians. Growing up and living most of my life in Milwaukee, I was just born and bred to hate everything Illinois (although I'll never understand why so many Milwaukeeans like the Blackhawks, but that's another story). But I couldn't help but smile along with Kris Bryant as that final out was being recorded. It's a story that transcends allegiances and sport, and it would be inhuman to not feel at least a little happy for such a fun team. I'm sure Miller Park will be twice as obnoxious when the Cubs are in town next year and for years to come, but at least for now, we can finally say that they earned that right. To all those stubborn Brewers fans out there who hate Chicagoans and still might be stewing about this, just remember one thing: when you are enjoying the new renovations at Miller Park next year (more on that to come), Cubs fans paid for pretty much all of it.
To this day, there are several major historical events for which I can vividly remember exactly where I was: start of the Gulf War, 9/11, President Obama's first inauguration, and of course the Brewers clinching the NL Central in 2011. Looking back twenty years from now, I imagine the Cubs winning the World Series will be on that list as well.
PS - for those who are curious, the Brewers now slide into the 4th longest title drought in Major League Baseball, tied with the Padres and Expos/Nationals at 48 years. If you count the fact that the last championship in the city was the 1957 Braves, then that's 58 years.