Joy in Wrigleyville


"I would want to go to the future, 25 years in the future, and see if the Cubs ever win a World Series." - Jake Johnson

I'd like to say I was watching last night, but I wasn't. First, I've prematurely aged, so I was asleep when the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. I'm not a die-hard Cubs fan, but as a sports fan I wish I'd been watching. Instead, when the rain delay came after the ninth inning, I fell asleep.

Second, I couldn't have watched if I wanted to. You see, my satellite dish is out and I won't have live TV until Friday. So I've missed almost all of the most important World Series, and most important baseball games, in decades. And it's a shame. But that doesn't stop me from reveling in this moment.

I have a co-worker who left last Thursday and drove to Chicago. When I asked why, since I knew she and her family weren't going to the games, she said, "just to be there." It's a feeling only long-suffering Chicago residents can understand.

It's also heartening to know that "Back to the Future" got one thing about the future right, albeit a year late, the Cubs have finally broken their curse and won the World Series. There's joy in Wrigleyville. The Cubs are world champions. Many who never thought they'd see it in their lifetime have reason for revelry.

I know what it's like to win a championship, but few understand the misery that had been being a life-long Cubs fan. The team won the World Series in 1908 and haven't done it since. Many spent their whole lifetimes rooting for a team that just couldn't seem to win. Many others didn't think they'd ever see it.

But it happened, and in dramatic fashion. The Cubs trailed 3-1 in the World Series heading into Sunday night's game, and it seemed like they were destined to disappoint again. Instead, they clawed their way back and won 8-7 in 10 Innings to end the 108-year drought.

It reminded me of another "cursed" team, the Red Sox, who trailed 3-1 to the Yankees in the ALCS in 2004. They fought their way back, won that series and swept the World Series. The monkey they had to overcome was the Yankees and getting back to the World Series. For the Cubs, it was the series itself. In both cases, they did it.

It's an incredible time for sports fans. But for every high, there is a low. The Cleveland Indians have their own drought -- 68 years and counting. But the city itself can still be excited since its favorite son, LeBron James, brought a title back to Cleveland in basketball in June.

The other big winner is baseball itself, which had been accused of being too boring, too predictable, and lacking competitive balance. But in recent years we've seen the small market Kansas City Royals and long-suffering Cubs win the World Series. That image is changing. That reality is changing. And for the first time in recent memory, the World Series was Must See TV. It even out drew the NFL, and that's saying something.

But for now, none of that matters. Pitchers and Catchers report in 105 days, but until then there's joy in Wrigleyville, mixed with a bit of disbelief. Turns out Christmas came early in Chicago this year, and the present has been more than a Century in the making.

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