Thursday, June 30, 2011

Once a Cubs Fan...

We live 4 blocks north of Wrigley field, home of our Chicago Cubs. I’ve been a Cubs fan as long as I can remember. Dad grew up 4 blocks from Wrigley, in the other direction – on Belmont. So, you see, I was destined to follow the “loveable losers” on the North Side of Chicago. Once a Cubs fan, it doesn’t matter how hopeless they are…we love them as unconditionally as a mother must love an unfortunate-looking child.

When I grew up in Maryland, in the days before cable and the WGN Superstation, Dad would watch the Cubs whenever they were televised in our area. That’s when he sucked his children into the lost cause. Remember, the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. We had a good team in 2008, and hoped against hope that there would be a hundred year miracle. But, no. The Chicago White Sox won the Series in 2005. If you think that helps mollify a Cubs fan, then you know nothing about the cross-town rivalry in Chicago. Cubs / Sox – worlds apart.

In the 80’s, I went to spring training in Arizona for the first time and went to games at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. What a great atmosphere, with lifetime Cubs fans all around! We’ve seen many young players and always tried to guess who would become new baseball stars in Chicago. Ron’s dad picked out first baseman Mark “Amazing” Grace, who spent 13 years with the Cubs. Grace was the National League’s Rookie of the Year and earned 4 Gold Glove Awards. Good pick, Jim.

Visiting Harry outside Wrigley Field

Harry Caray was the unforgettable voice of the Cubs from 1981 to 1997. At each home game, he led the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame’. Although Harry died in 1998, to this day the 7th Inning Stretch includes introduction of a celebrity guest who sings with the crowd and leads them just like Harry did. It begins with a windup, “a-one, a-two, a-three…”, and ends with “Let’s get some runs!” Harry, glad I got to meet you that one time when you were leaving the Pump Room.

Today is a nice summer day, and we have Cubs tickets. We’ll walk from Irving Park down Seminary, past the Fire Station at Waveland into the park. Once in our seats, we'll have a hot dog and a beer and soak up some Wrigley Field magic. I hear the wind will be blowing out. Cubbies, let’s get some runs!

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