I have been asked this more than normal here lately because the Cubs are actually in the postseason. There have been times over the years that I ask myself the same question. When I finally came to the realization that professional wrestling was fake I traded in my Junk Yard Dog action figure in for baseball cards. I loved baseball cards. Cards had value and you tracked them like you had shares in the stock market. So when I discovered that my 1987 Topps Mark McGwire card was worth four dollars I decided that his team, the Oakland Athletics, were my favorite. Then I learned more about baseball, the history, the legends and how the game migrated and that California baseball was relatively new. And besides, the A’s were never on TV except when they made the playoffs which they did with regularity.
I found myself looking for baseball on cable and finding very little until one day I heard this maniac broadcasting a Cubs game and I was sure that he was drunk out of his mind but it was amazing to listen to him, his partner desperately trying to call the game with facts and figures while Harry Caray talked about his day and what a great day it was for baseball. I was mesmerized by Harry, the beautiful ballpark with its ivy covered brick walls and what a terrible team Chicago had. But the funny thing was after a while you felt bad and then before you know it the only thing you want is to hear Harry say “Cubs win!” and see the struggling ball club string a few wins together.
In my early twenties I made the drive to Chicago with my friend Daryl, who hit a family of skunks along the way. That car never smelled the same. I recall walking along the gray sidewalks among the gray buildings and the gray train arriving at 1060 West Addison Street (Wrigley Field), walking through the tunnel and being taken aback by the vivid colors of the green grass, the ivy and the ocean of blue hats, which is something I am not accustomed to here in Cardinal country. We watched the Cubs lose, sang “Take me out to the ballgame” with Harry and had some Chicago pizza. What a great day! If nothing else you have to admire the optimism of the Cubs fans. The Cubbies have not won a World Series since 1908, but they have a saying that I would like to think goes back to 1909; “There’s always next year”. As of now the Cubbies are still in it. Who knows, maybe next year has finally arrived.