The World Series begins tonight. And we have two teams with long histories of losing in a battle for the championship: The Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.
The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, while Cleveland has been waiting since 1948.
The Cubbies are in the World Series! It is nothing short of miracle, some would say. Or yet another sign of sign of the apocalypse.
Cub fans out there are probably thinking about the people they knew, who have passed away, who never got to see a Cubs team capable of winning the World Series. Maybe it’s your dad who loved them and followed them every miserable year. Maybe it was your mom who was kind enough to let you watch games on WGN after school. Or maybe you are thinking about your grandpa who listened to games on a transistor radio while milking cows.
Me? I’m thinking of my uncle who was a Cub fan on the Southside of Chicago, a tough row to hoe. Sports in the Windy City usually unify it. But the northside/southside division of the city is reflected in its two baseball teams and their fans bases, though the Chicago Cubs also have a huge following outside of the city, including some W-O-R-T listeners.
I’m also thinking about the late, great journalist, Mike Royko. Mike Royko wrote a lot about the Cubs. A native Chicagoan, he walked to the games regularly as kid. As a reporter, he wrote about his lifelong love of the Cubs in his columns for the dailies. Royko was a regular at the Billy Goat Tavern, home of the goat that couldn’t get into Wrigley Field, leaving the owner to put a curse on the Cubs.
In his last column before his death, Royke wrote that it was time to stop, “blaming the failings of the Cubs on a poor, dumb creature that is a billy goat.”
Royko continued: “the blame for many of the Cubs’ failings since 1945 can be placed on a dumb creature. Not a poor, dumb creature but a rich one. I’m talking about P. K. Wrigley, head of the chewing gum company and the owner of the Cubs until he died in 1977.”