1. It’s Thursday, November 3, 2016. The election is five days away. The Mets’ Opening Day game against Atlanta is 151 days away.
2. There are people who say baseball is boring. Really.
But for those who love it, in the words of my friend and former colleague Chris Isidore, a bad baseball game is better than most Super Bowls. And don’t get me started about other sports that don’t offer four hours of did-what-the-hell-just-happened-sink-my-team-for-good moments.
So I’m happy tonight for Chicagoland, where I went to college, and for the Cubs fans, of whom I know several.
But most of all, I’m proud to love the greatest game in the world. If you found any part of Game Seven boring, check to see if you have a pulse. It was riveting from leadoff batter Dexter Fowler’s home run to the desperation two-out threat Cleveland mounted that fell just short.
Perhaps it’s silly to talk about Greatest Games of All Time. But I’m hard-pressed right now to think of a better one in the 21st century. Perhaps the sixth game of the 2011 World Series between St. Louis and Texas.
I think the double curse of the franchises added to the weight. For the second time in 20 years, Cleveland took the World Series to extra innings in Game Seven, only to come up a run short.
So now Cleveland has the double misfortune of having just missed the chance to end a 68-year drought and now having Major League Baseball’s longest championship drought.
3. The Cubs went 108 years between titles. I’ve been to Wrigley Field several times and seen some pretty bad teams.
And what sticks out in my mind is a 14-4 loss to Cincinnati in 1976, a year the Reds won the World Series. It was a beautiful sunny May Saturday on the North Side, and the park was teeming with Cubs fans – soaking up sun in the bleachers, enjoying a day of baseball in the grandstand.
Forget the score. Forget the fact that one of baseball’s dynasties was across the diamond. There was a crush of people outside one of the best places to watch baseball ever. They were disappointed but not disloyal. They climbed onto the El platforms at Addison and Sheridan and went home, ready to come back to Wrigley and cheer on the Cubbies another day.
I suspect some of those fans are no longer around – it was 40 years ago. And sometime this week in Chicago, their descendants will trek to the cemetery and place one of those W flags at the gravestone.
Baseball isn’t just the most interesting game. It’s the one that connects the generations of a family better than any other. Cub fans know that.
And now they know what it’s like to be a World Series champion.