Being a Yankees fan since my father took me to a White Sox/Yankees game some fifty years ago and a Cubs fan since WGN was broadcasting games on cable, last weekend’s Yankees/Cubs series tore at my heartstrings. Although I couldn’t lose, I wanted them to both win. As a little shaver I remember the few books about baseball mostly involved Yankees players. Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Berra, and my hero, Mickey Mantle. I took my mitt to batting practice that day fifty in hopes of catching a ball then or during the game. We arrived just in time to see the Mick batting left-handed. We were some 300 feet away down the first base line and my mitt was ready! Or so I thought. Mickey hit a ball foul in my direction. I HEARD it coming it was hit so hard! Fearing for my life, I didn’t try to catch it. Instead, I watched it hit the seats and bounce to who knows where. I was either too scared or too shocked to retrieve the ball. I wish I had that ball now!
Thanks to cable TV and WGN, I got to see the Loveable Losers nearly everyday. Banks, Santo, Williams, Beckert, Kessinger, Jenkins…. Over the years, I was able to survive the disappointments and heartaches along with the loyal Cubs fans from my home in Wisconsin. They were either really out of the race or close but no no cigar. Hardly anywhere in between. When they announced the hiring of Theo Epstein five years ago, I predicted a World Series Championship in 2016, 2017 at the latest. My friends scoffed. My prediction was a lock after Joe Maddon was hired. 2016 was a special year for me as well as millions of loyal Cubs fans.
Now both of my favorite teams are young and loaded and the expectations are high. Although the Yankees swept the Cubs at Wrigley, I have faith the Northsiders will find their rhythm and the Bronx Bombers will endure and they will square off in October making 2017 even more special! But, that’s just a prediction.