Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

The Cubs Win the World Series

I can't claim to be the most diehard Cubs fan, living and dying with every game and season, but I have been a lifelong and loyal fan since visiting family in Chicago as a kid and attending Wrigley Field for my first-ever baseball game. I used to joke that I was a Cubs fan because I was a masochist, and I think many Cubs fans have approached their fandom with loyalty, fatalism and a sense of humor. I'd root for them every time they made the playoffs and catch the games. More often, when they stunk, I'd check in periodically during the season and sigh. In 2003, it looked like teams with two of the longest championship droughts at the time, the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, could meet in the World Series, which I joked would cause a black hole that would engulf the entire universe. The Red Sox won the next year and twice again since, the Chicago White Sox broke their long drought in 2005, and now the Cubs finally got their turn, after a mere 108 years.

The playoffs this season were entertaining but left me slightly conflicted because after the Cubs, I root for the Nationals, and after them the Dodgers – and all three teams were in. I'd have rooted for whichever team won the pennant, but naturally I was pulling for the Cubs. The World Series itself was thrilling and stressful, especially that amazing game 7, definitely one of the best games I've ever seen. The Cubs being the Cubs, they had to make their fans despair several times before the end, but finally, they won.

I'll won't link all of what I have elsewhere on social media, but I was impressed by Indians manager Tony Francona's gracious post-game interview: "It was an honor to be part of that." Hardcore Cubs fan Bill Murray said, "We became such good losers – I hope we're good winners." (Agreed.) Rob Arthur wrote a good piece about Cubs fandom at 538:
As my dad realized in the ’50s, there’s something liberating about knowing your team is going to lose. With the outcome sealed, you become free to enjoy the game and the experience of the ballpark for whatever it is. Sometime in the middle of the incredible, marathon, rain-delayed epic that was Game 7, I came to that conclusion myself.

I think my two favorite stories, though, are about elderly Cubs fans celebrating and people writing the names of departed loved ones in chalk on the brick walls at Wrigley. Oh, and the Chicago cast of Hamilton sang "Go Cubs, Go" at curtain call.

Yeah, it's just sports, but it's been nice to see all the joy this has generated.

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