The major events of my life are intertwined with the Chicago Cubs. Sad, but true. On the day I was born, they beat Montreal 2-1 On the day I became Bar Mitzvah, they beat San Fran 7-2. On my wedding day, they won at Cincinnatti. When my son was born, they lost 3-2 to Washington. You can’t win ‘em all, right? Especially when we’re talking Cubbie baseball. So actually, I have a pretty decent record when it comes to the team and big days. But I see in my mind’s eye the ball going though Leon Durham’s legs that helped oust the team from the ‘84 playoffs. The movie of Bartman reaching over the railing in ‘03 is replayed in my brain day and night. But so are the memories of days at the ballpark with friends and with family. It’s the pleasure and pain of being a Cubs fan. And in the end, like Harry Caray used to say “You can’t beat fun at the old ballpark”.
Jimmy Greenfield’s new book 100 Things Cubs Fans Should KNow & Do Before They Die is like the Cubs themselves. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes, thought provoking, sometimes just plain heartbreaking.
It seems like every year, a new slew of books come out for the faithful to snap up. Many of them are built around these “lists”. But I found plenty of anecdotes and history that I didn’t know before or that I had forgotten. Back in 1994, Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes hit 3 homers off of Dwight Gooden on opening day. And of course, the Cubs still somehow managed to lose.
I remembered that in 1979, I and my fellow student crossing guards were treated by the school to a game at Wrigley. That game turned out to be the game the Cubs lost 23-22 to Philly.
The ultimate “Thing To Do” in the book is watch the Cubs win the World Series. Well, My great-grandfather never saw one. Neither did my grandfather. My dad hasn’t. And neither have I. Maybe my son will. Not banking on it.