28 October 2004

My, my, my

I just spent a few moments staring at the cover of a newspaper.  Try it yourself and see if it makes sense.

All I can say is that it's about time.  It's about time that at least one of the long suffering pods of baseball fans finally gets to scream in ecstasy as they realize a long awaited dream.  This is not a drill.

The Boston Red Sox have finally won a World Series.

Personally, I don't know anybody who is 86 years old.  I know a lot of people, but no one who has been alive since 1918.  That's how old you have to be, tonight, to have been alive the last time the Red Sox won it all.  Of course, you have to be a little bit older than 86 to actually remember it.

The Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a four game sweep to win the title.  The Cardinals, the team with the best record during the regular season, were no match for Boston.

As fate would have it, the two Cardinal fans in my life are here in Chicago on this monumental night.  Contrary to popular belief, I do feel for them.  A little.  My brother-in-law is old enough to remember the Cardinals winning it all in 1982.  At least he has that.  My nephew only recently became a fan of the Redbirds.  He needs to go through a lot more heartbreak before I can truly feel sorry for him.  He's 18.  He'll get over it.

We removed all of the sharp objects from the house earlier today so that neither of them could do anything they might regret later if the Cardinals lost tonight.  Fred and Red can take solace that they were at Busch Stadium last week when the Cardinals beat Houston in game seven of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series.

You'll always have Staunton, boys.

Enough about the team that did not win the World Series tonight.

86 years was the third longest running title drought in baseball.  The second current longest is 87.  The current longest is 96.  As fate would have it, both droughts belong to Chicago.  The White Sox last won it all in 1917.  For the Cubs, it's been zippo since 1908.  And the rest of this entry ain't about the White Sox.

96 freakin' years.  That's a long, long time.  If she were still alive, my grandmother would be celebrating her 100th birthday two days after my wedding next April.

She was 3 when the Cubs won the World Series last.  I was still 59 years from birth.

Since 1908, Pluto has finished about one third of its orbit around the sun.  

As a true baseball fan, I am happy to see Boston win.  I'm happy for the people who root for the Red Sox as passionately as I root for the Cubs.  I am happy for the people who tonight finally realized that they indeed have seen the Red Sox win it all before they have died.  I am happy for Bill Buckner, who was a Cub long before he entered baseball lore by making an error that technically did not cost the Red Sox the title in 1986 anyway.  I am happy that a team that plays in as cozy and magical a stadium as Fenway Park will be able to hang a banner somewhere that says "World Champions" on it.  These are all reasons that I can say I could use if it were the Cubs instead of the Red Sox.

I have been a Cubs fan for 33 cognizant years.  Last year was as close as they have come to having a chance to win the World Series.  I could actually taste it.  When it was snatched away from me and a billion others, they had to reach down my throat to pull it away.  That's how close it was.  Somehow I was able to get over it quickly, within a week or so.  While it has entered my thoughts occassionally since, tonight is the first time since last October that I can remember how bad it felt.

But that feeling of being punched in the stomach so hard that your feet spontaneously combust is surrounded by a much larger feeling of hope, since I have seen another long-suffering team finally make it to the end and be champions.  Anything can happen.

When the Cubs finally do win a World Series, I will have a long list of people that I consider their title to "be for."  Tonight in Boston and New England, I am sure that there are thousands of Red Sox fans remembering people on their list, maybe people who are no longer with us, who wanted to see this but never got the chance.  They will make the connection and their joy in such a simple thing as winning a game will become that much more special.

I tell myself that it happens to everyone eventually.

How else do you expect me to last until year 97?

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