The WISCH LIST
I was wrong.
Last week, I wrote in this column that if the Cubs do win their “first championship since 1908, I don’t think it can possibly be more emotional for me than it was seeing them reach the World Series for the first time since 1945. It may be just as emotional, but I don’t think it can be more so.”
Yeah, I was dead wrong.
When Kris Bryant scooped up that ground ball and fired it to his pal Anthony Rizzo – Bryzzo! – for the final out of the soul-twisting, brain-bending, gut-wrenching Game 7 of the World Series to hand the Cubs their first championship since 1908, I erupted in pure joy and utter disbelief.
But in the moment, I really couldn’t process it all. And it wasn’t until a few hours later, when I sat alone in my condo a mile from Wrigley Field – long after my parents had left and my wife went to bed – that the enormity of what had just occurred began to truly settle in. Perched on my couch with the TV volume finally down, I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed and saw all of the giddy celebratory posts from my many Cubs fan friends. Immediately, it made me think about growing up as a die-hard Cubs fan and dreaming of this day as a little kid.
And with that, I broke down. And I absolutely bawled.
I’m not at all ashamed to admit that. In fact, I’m quite proud of it. Because after a lifetime of hearing stories about the Billy Goat and the Black Cat, after watching the grounder roll through Leon Durham’s legs, after sitting in Wrigley’s upper deck when “Bartman happened,” I knew that all the pain and heartbreak of the Cubs’ 108-year wait – and their 108-year weight – was completely worth it.
For all Cubs fans. And it was also so very emotional.
Even more than I could have ever imagined.
The city that never sleeps
Just minutes after the Cubs’ victory on Wednesday night, a flurry of fireworks erupted in the sky beyond our condo’s balcony. Then the shouts began, followed by the blaring of car horns, and people literally dancing in the streets.
It wasn’t until 2:30 a.m. that the raucous noise in Lakeview even began to die down, which didn’t make it any easier for anyone to fall asleep on a night that already was not conducive to shuteye. After weeks of too many late nights, too much ballpark food and too little exercise, this month has just about killed me – and surely many other Cubs fans, as well.
But, hey, at least we can now die happy.
Earning their stripes
By any measure, Jason Heyward had an awful baseball season. And Ben Zobrist had something of an awkward one with Javy Baez driving him from his customary spot at second base to left field for the entirety of October.
But there on Wednesday night in Cleveland, it was Heyward who called a players meeting during the Game 7 rain delay to regroup the team after blowing their lead. And it was Zobrist who drove in the go-ahead run to emerge as World Series MVP. As great as the Cubs’ kids are, veterans are so crucial for success.
And both Heyward and Zobrist were huge pick-ups for the team.
Forget the other details.
I’m still mad at Joe Maddon for pulling Kyle Hendricks after just 63 pitches in Game 7 – and for throwing Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 with 5- and 7-run leads.
But, with that trophy, I think I’ll find a way to forgive.
After midnight following Game 7, I posted online that “The Chicago Cubs haven’t won the World Series since … yesterday.”
What a time to be alive.