The goat has been exorcised, but that doesn’t mean it is time to gloat. For those of you that were living in a cave this week to avoid anymore campaign ads, on Wednesday night, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in more than 100 years, bringing to an end “The Curse”, which legend has it centered around the team prohibiting entry to the park to a goat.
While I’m not a big believer in all things curse related, I’d be happy to attend a goat barbecue this week as part of a highly-overdue celebration. Most of you readers are likely spoiled Cardinals fans who get to cheer your team on in the Fall Classic seemingly every other year, so you have no idea the emotions long-suffering fans like myself, Mark Mattingly and Jamie Parker have endured over the years. This was a BIG deal.
I witnessed a caped man sprinting through my neighborhood after Chicago claimed the World Series title just before midnight. He had wrapped the Cubs W flag, flown at Wrigley field after each win, around his shoulders as he hoisted a bottle of champagne in one hand, probably the only thing preventing him from doing cartwheels as he completed his celebration lap around the block. He halted at my porch of course to share a toast, before continuing on his one-man parade.
That’s what a life-time of waiting will do to a fan. Of course, in true Cubs fashion, nothing came easy, but it did come with a ton of memorable moments.
The deciding game 7 lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes, capping off a tension filled several days that saw the Cubs become the first team since 1985 to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win three straight games to claim a World Series. Plenty of readers will remember that, because 1985 was when the Royals rallied to beat the Cardinals in the I-70 World Series.
So if SCR-I Superintendent Ryan Bergeson looked a little rough around the collar Thursday morning when school’s opening bell rang, it might have something to do with the stress his Cubs generated with such a historic comeback.
It started with a nail biter in Game 5, when the Cubs won their only World Series game at Wrigley Field by a final score of 3-2, allowing fellow local fans Travis Heine and Mike Lodewegen to join me in saying, we still have a chance.
The talented Cubs’ bats came to life in Game 6 with a 9-2 win. The return to Cleveland, the American League park where the designated hitter rule is used, reinserted Kyle Schwarber into the Cinderella story. He blow out his knee in the third game of the season and wasn’t medically cleared to play in the field. That didn’t prevent him from getting his first hit of the year in the World Series. Anyone else think he looks like SCR-I football Coach Mikel Gragg?
If that wasn’t enough to turn you into a Cubs fan, if just for a few days, then there was Grandpa Rossy, David Ross, the 39-year-old backup catcher who became a folk legend in Chicago for his mentoring of the talented young core of Cubbies. What does the man, who announced his retirement at the start of the season do, only hit a home run in the final game of his career.
How about World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, hoisting his hands to the sky demonstrating what he had previously said, “I am learning to enjoy the experience God put me in at the moment and glorifying Him in that.” He just had doubled in the go-ahead run in extra innings of Game 7 of the World Series. Not many bigger stages out there to pause to give God the glory.
Not cool enough for you? What about the bromance demonstrated by the young 20-something heart throbs / MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo? If their talent doesn’t win you over, the genuine love of the game, and their team spirit, will. Of course my teenage daughters don’t mind Bryant’s dreamy eyes and Rizzo’s chiseled chin. Me, I simply loved it when Rizzo took an outside pitch he thought was ball four and headed to first, only to have the umpire call it a strike. He didn’t throw a tantrum, or even make a face for that matter. Instead he walked back to the batter’s box, stepped in and apologized to the umpire, and followed it up with a more in depth apology prior to his next at bat. Then there was the last play of the game, when Bryant is grinning from ear to ear as he charged in to field the ground ball, with the smile never faltering even as his foot slips out from underneath him while he throws to first for the final out to clinch the win. It was pure joy, shared by so many Cubs fans, and for the matter a whole bunch of just baseball fans, on a true night to remember.