Everyone has a Cub story. All the people that lived, and died and never saw them win. I used to hear the lament of fans of other teams, like the Red Sox. At least they were actually in a World Series. The only time we were in a World Series was in video games.
My first Cubs game was in 1969. It was a cold May day and they played the Mets. They lost. I had never ever seen Wrigley in color since we only had black and white TV.
1984 was the first legit chance in my lifetime that the Cubs were going to do it. We know how it turned out. 2003….
You needed the patience of Job to be a Cub fan. In Chicago, virtually all of our teams were pretty bad. I was born in 1962. No pro team won a championship. The Bears finally won a Super Bowl in 1985. Then the Bulls broke through. The Sox won in 2005, but I am not a Sox fan. The Hawks are terrific. But, never the Cubs. They weren’t really ever close.
There are really no words to express what happened last night. Now, four more.
My brain was a little addled this morning. I have had a bit of time to reflect. First, as a Cub fan, I hope I never take winning for granted. I hope I don’t have false expectations.
The Cubs were always about Wrigley Field and accoutrements. Jack Brickhouse begat Harry Carey. It was a party. Wrigley is a beautiful place for a lot of reasons. You’d go to Opening Day, and you had hope but deep inside you knew that there wasn’t a chance. It was false hope.
Then, occasionally, the Cubs would tease you. But, mostly going to Wrigley was an outing-and bad baseball. The Cubs always had a few players that you’d want to see. But, they were always incomplete. Sure, there was 1984. Amazingly exciting year. I was never far from a television or radio. 2003. There were other playoff teams, but they never felt like overpowering contenders that were never out of a baseball game. In 2007 and 08 they were swept in the playoffs.
In 2009, the Cubs almost made the playoffs. How many times have Cubs fans heard that “almost” word? Tom Ricketts took a massive risk. I think people underestimate the risk he took because now they are looking at it in the rear view mirror. It seems so simple.
In 2010, they lost 87 games. In 2011, 91, in 2012, 101, in 2013, 96, in 2014, 89. The Cubs were made fun of in the press. Their loyal fans became even more impatient. Ridiculed as stupid. Blind. Sox fans made fun of us because they had better food, and a better team.
They took a massive risk on their organization, and on their property, plant and equipment. It wasn’t until 2014 at the Chicago Economic Club that Theo Epstein really gave a data driven presentation on what they were up to. Then, 2015 happened. The transformation of the Chicago Cubs is one of the greatest Private Equity cases of all time.
If you go to Wrigley today, it’s better than ever. It’s only going to get better with all the new construction. The team is obviously better. As a fan, when you go to a game you have more than hope. You have a feeling that some how, some way, they will win the game. A quiet confidence that I hope never goes away, and is never taken lightly.
Now, no more “it’s gonna happen”. No more empty hopeless feeling in the pit of your stomach. No more frustration. Does anyone think the Cubs aren’t going to contend in 2017?
AC 0000108. Only one more number to change. Eamus Catuli!