Up until last night, the fondest memory I had as a Cubs fan was doing lunch with the great Len Kasper back in 2008. In fact, it was eight years ago this month that Len and I sat down at the Silver Cloud in Wicker Park to dine on the best damn bar grub in Wicker Park and rap about baseball, life, and music (he might just be the biggest Tommy Keene fan on the planet and slaps a mean bass, himself, it turns out).
Just a few months earlier, Len had been the voice of the Cubs on WGN's TV broadcasts as the Cubbies cut through the regular season like a hot knife much like they did this year, but, as we all know, the '08'ers to bring their bats with them to the playoffs and ultimately fell back to earth with a dull thud, shattering the hopes and expectations of an entire city.
As Len and I parted ways, though, I felt a sense of hope, as if the future would not be at all like the past, for myself, for the Cubs, and for this town.
Since then, the family that owns the Cubs has gone to great lengths and expense to bring a championship to the city's North Side, all the while taking steps to inject money into the organization that threaten to turn Wrigley Field and the adjacent neighborhood into one humongous Dave & Busters mega-plex where the game itself almost becomes an afterthought.
Imagine going 108 seasons without even a whiff of a championship.
Even so, you couldn't blame an outsider for wondering if winning was even part of the equation, but those of us who kept a watchful eye on happenings in Cubbieville all perked our heads when the team hired Theo Epstein.
|Smiling Cubbie ball girl, 1986, a year the team|
would lose 90 games.
It must be said that The Ricketts were the first members of the organization to put their feet down and declared it time for a new tire!
What a grand idea!
That new tire, of course, was a five-year rebuilding process that we fans knew was gonna be ugly, but, wow, even that surpassed our wildest expectations.
Last night, though, a new group of Cubs surpassed our wildest expectations in a good way and finally punched through the wall, tearing the trophy out of Cleveland's deserving hands. Truth be told, if Game 7 hadn't gone the Cubs' way, it wouldn't have been as heartbreaking as if their bats hadn't shown up at all and they lost 8-0.
But, despite having their backs to the wall any number of times, the Cubs did not repeat past behavior and fold. They proved they were the champions they thought they were before we did.
|My quick Photoshop tribute to the Cubs.|
Even an atheist Cubs fan has to hope, for a little while anyway, that there's something beyond this life just so the likes of Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and every other great player who gave their heart and soul to this team can watch their beloved Cubbies finally bring home the trophy that proves once and for all that the Chicago Cubs are the champions!