It seems like only a few years ago when my brother and I wore a hole in the grass in the back yard where we would play “Home Run Derby” for hours, day after day. The summers were longer then, or so it seemed. We would fill the hours with play-by-play of the batters as they came to the plate, always ending in the World Series.
The seasons have come and the years have long past since those carefree days of our youth, but the dream never died… one day, we always said, the Cubs will be in the Series. We said it, with hopes that if we continued to believe to “wait until next year,“ that the elusive next year would finally arrive. Enter 2016 and an entirely new breed making up the Chicago National League Ballclub, Inc. as they are officially known.
As you read this, it is a day in the Windy City that has only been a rumor for generation after generation… there is a World Series game to be played tonight in the Friendly Confines and yes… the Cubs are in it. In fact, it is a full weekend of World Series baseball for our fair city and the town is elated.
The team that won 103 games in the regular season put away the two obstacles in their way in the shape of a Giant and a Dodger. They now face the Cleveland Indians in the best-of-seven Fall Classic. Both teams are starved for a championship and both cities feel that they deserve it as much as the other guy… here’s where we stand our ground.
The Cleveland franchise had a 24-year old player/manager by the name of Lou Boudreau who led them to their last title in 1948. The “Good Kid” as Lou was known, went on to a long broadcasting career with Vince Lloyd calling the Cubs games for many years, to become a favorite in Chicago. 1948, you say? That was three years after the last time the Cubs even got a chance to play in the Series in 1945, when they lost to the Detroit Tigers in 7 games. You have to go back to 1908 to recall the last time the Cubs won the Series. You tell me, who is more deserving?
To put icing on this almost fantasy-like season that has brought us to this point in near-November, after 32 years of singing for the Cubs, along with 20+ years as the P.A. Voice of Wrigley Field, it is my turn to relive those imaginary days in my back yard and walk out onto the field to sing at a World Series game.
Tonight, I sing God Bless America before Game 3… the first World Series game played at the venerable ballpark in 71 years. On Sunday night, I have the distinction of singing God Bless America and the National Anthem before Game 5. Through the years of hoping, wishing, cheering, laughing and crying with this team… this weekend it all becomes real when I am handed the microphone to sing. Don’t be surprised if you see me pinch myself before the first note is heard.