Chicago, the Cubs, Baseball and Life

November 2, 2016

I don’t watch much baseball anymore. Coming from a kid whose life was baseball and who drove across the United States ALONE in 1987 to visit all the MLB baseball stadiums, this puzzles a lot of my friends and family. But baseball hasn’t recently offered me the spark it once carried.

Harry Caray's Tavern in Chicago.

Harry Caray’s Tavern in Chicago.

I’m missing my dad – who introduced me to baseball and coached my earliest teams. I’m missing Hank – with whom I used to buy season tickets to the Pawtucket Red Sox and attend 71 games a year. I’m missing the energy of youth – the same youth with which I got a Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau tryout in 1990.

Deep dish pizza - in downtown Chicago during an training event.

Deep dish pizza – in downtown Chicago during an training event.

But tonight I watched with rapt attention as the Chicago Cubs took on – and beat – the Cleveland Indians in game six of the 2016 World Series. Was it the best baseball game I’ve ever seen? Hardly. My favorites have included…

In person in Kansas City to watch Red Sox v. Royals August 2, 1987 when Kevin Seitzer crushed us with a six-hit game including two homers and seven RBI in nine innings. - See the whole story in the Baseball Almanac.

Click on the image to read the whole story in the Baseball Almanac.

In person to watch the Boston Red Sox win game five of the 1986 World Series – sitting on the 3rd base side with my dad to see the only game the Sox won at home that series.

October 2004 at the Stadium bar in South Boston (which closed in 2015) with my brothers to see the Red Sox win their final ALCS game against the Yankees to get into the World Series.

Beer brewed in Chicago. Mmmm, beer.

Beer brewed in Chicago. Mmmm, beer.

Double headers at Wrigley and at Giants Stadium in 1987. The former reminded me of a high-school ballpark because the seats everywhere were so close to the field and the latter was probably the coldest I’ve ever been at a midsummer baseball game…the wind off the bay is ridiculously chilly.

Too many Patriots Day games to count at Fenway with family and friends in luxury box R21.

And a handful of games in the left-field grandstand in 1988 as an employee for NESN. With studio facilities right in Fenway Park, access to the stadium was a short walk down a hallway and through a fire door. By opening that door, you emerged next to a concession stand in Fenway.

Regardless, this little stroll down a rawhide memory lane hopefully makes it clear that on some level I still love this sport. And tonight was fun because it brought up good memories of people and places including uncle Pete (who passed away this year and is definitely cheering up in heaven); Robbie (gone since 2011 and probably cheering for the Cubs as well); Lisa (who introduced me to all the great things about Chicago…including the temperament of Cubs fans to roll with adversity – she and I went to a Cubs game where she got stung on the eyelid by a bee, but she believed the experience of being at the park and watching the Cubs was more important than a little pain, so we stayed at the game instead of literally bugging out); and all my teammates and friends who I ever threw a baseball with.

I really want the Cubs to win this year. And if they do, I’ll be smiling for so many reasons beyond the end of their drought. Let’s go Chicago…fly the W one more time this year. Play ball!