As a kid growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, I was an oddball. I paid attention to our own losing baseball team, the Indians, but I was a fan of baseball's loveable losers, the Chicago Cubs. Our cable provider carried WGN which back in the good ole days carried every single Cubs game. I would come home from school an the Cubs would be on TV. Like I said it was the good ole days, when every Cubs home game was a day game. For you young folks out there, the Cubs didn't play a night game at Wrigley until 1988.
In my youth, at their best, the Cubs were an average team, but even when they were shit, they still had packed house. Living in Cleveland, back in those days, the Indians were horrible, and so was attendance, so it was easy to fall for the Cubs, they weren't great but they still managed to pack a crowd and energy into their ballpark.
Ryne Sandberg was my favorite player. I know the hitting stats, geeks will argue with me, but to me he was the greatest second baseman ever. His fielding percentage of .989 at 2B is the highest at that position in big league history. He had 20 career errorless streaks of at least 30 games including the record, 123 game stretch. Sandberg taught me the glove was just as important as the bat...Oh, he was a helluva hitter too.
Andre Dawson was a superstar hitter and if you ask me, Shawon Dunston was one of the most underrated Shortstops in the game.
I loved the Cubs and I loved Wrigley. It seemed like the greatest place on Earth. I always said I wanted to live at least one year, in that neighborhood, in one of those building behind Wrigley, where the residents watched games from the roof.
Again, in the good ole days, before Cubs ownership blocked their view and then wanted a cut of the bleachers the building put on top.
As the years went on I got annoyed with Cubs ownership for crap like that, as well TV contracts, which took the games away from WGN making that channel useless to me and having to buy MLB packages if I wanted to watch them. Not holding on to top talent, always rebuilding. I also grew a bit more hometown pride and followed the Indians more and more. I had a girlfriend who's family had season tickets and spent a lot of time in the late 1990's at Jacob's Field.
Then, in 2016 the unimaginable happened....Except much of my youth I imagined it as pitched imaginary baseball games against my parent's garage door. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs would face-off in the World Series.
I thought I would be torn. I thought there would be an inner-struggle between my childhood team and my adult team. But there wasn't much. I didn't care a damn about the Cubs drought. I cared completely about the Indians finally winning.
I love this blog. I too have the same kind of thoughts, the difference is that my team who gave away the house was the Twins.
It is amazing how I am starting to really like Baseball again. The only thing that really turns me off is this big market shit. A small market team cannot enjoy winning for long and that sucks.
It has always been more fun when Pittsburgh, Oakland, Minny, and Kansas City wins.
I really have fallen back in love with the game this year. To me, last season didn't count at all. But the big markets, especially New York and LA, are horrible for the game. Teams like Pittsburgh and Cleveland threw in the towel by June.
I too watched the Cubs play in the day every afternoon, chuckled when the first night game at Wrigley on 8/8/88 got rained out and went to more than a few games at Wrigley in the late 90s but they got corporate and not as fun to root for.
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