I can’t remember ever having two better candidates….to win a World Series title. In fact, that’s the beauty of a Cubs/Indians World Series – most of us weren’t alive the last time either team won a title!
In fact, it’s pretty funny that in ANY other case, the Indians would likely be the sentimental favorite, without a championship ring since 1948. But add two more generations of heartbreak – or 40 more years, essentially the length of the entire existence of the Mariners franchise – and you have the poor Chicago Cubs.
You have this kind of scene inside Wrigley Field last night, where it was hard not to get goosebumps watching so many long-suffering fans celebrate a first National League pennant since 1945.
You have the scene outside the stadium, with the entire Northside of Chicago joining the party along with those who simply wanted to be a part of history.
Even 87-year-old actor and longtime Cubs fan Bob Newhart just happened to be in Seattle last night with his family, celebrating with his grandkids, who made him a “W” flag to root on his beloved team. “Isn’t it beautiful? He asked.” Yes, Bob, it is.
Because if absence makes the heart grow fonder and patience is a virtue, we have the most virtuous fans with the fondest hearts in our country with a rooting interest in this year’s World Series! 68 years for Cleveland fans is a lifetime. 108 years for Cubs fans? More than a lifetime. It’s a relief to know that least one of those streaks will end.
And if you want to know why I’m so tough on the Mariners at times, it’s because I don’t want M’s fans to be sitting here 30 years from now, still without a World Series title, let alone a World Series berth. They’re one of just two franchises in baseball that hasn’t made it there. And while we’ve experienced the suffering ourselves, double the length we’ve waited without a title, and you have the Indians. Triple it, and you’ve got the Cubs.
By the way, if Theo Epstein is the guy who ends up breaking “The Curse of the Bambino” as GM of the Red Sox in 2004, and then breaking “The Curse of the Billy Goat” as President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs this year, well, give the guy the highest prize in the land! In fact, if Bob Dylan doesn’t want it, give Epstein the Nobel Prize for Literature instead - because the number of stories and books Epstein’s title teams will have inspired will be countless.
We’ll find out in the next couple weeks – and I’ll be captivated the entire way – because this is what sports is all about: Dramatics, storylines, and most of all, the fans. Whose long nightmare will come to an end with a glorious triumph? How will it all play out?
We’ll find out, starting Tuesday night.
I obviously can’t do it justice, but this is going to be one heck of an historic series.