CHICAGO – Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, appeared on the outside as just another night on the North side of Chicago. The bars around Wrigleyville were packed, and there were people milling around the ballpark and neighborhood streets.
However on the inside there was a sense of nervousness and anticipation that their beloved Chicago Cubs - the lovable losers - were on the brink of having done something that neither they, nor the North side of Chicago, have seen able to do since 1908 . . . and that’s win a World Series title.
My son Connor and I made the trek from Crawfordsville in hopes that we could watch the game somewhere and just be in the presence of a couple hundred thousand Cubs fans should our team pull off the impossible, which is come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Series, and win the last two on the road.
As we were walking around trying to find a location to watch the game, a roar came out of the houses around the stadium just about 10 minutes after eight! Dexter Fowler took the first pitch out to dead center to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
We settled outside Wrigleyville’s Sports Corner bar at the corner of Addison & Sheffield. There we met Bill, who was in town for a business trip from Hawai’i and came down to be a part of the festivities. We also met Mike and Laura from Elmhurst, Ill., who were there for the same reason. We lived and died each strikeout, hit and pitch with them all night.
As the game went along, the streets became more and more packed and the energy in the crowd could’ve illuminated the city of Chicago by itself!
We went from probably a couple hundred folks at the start of the game to a couple hundred thousand by the seventh inning! With folks singing “Go Cubs Go” and counting down the outs, the air was let out of the crowd, and left the die hards thinking, “Oh no, not again,” when Rajai Davis hit the 2-run homer in the eighth to tie it at 6.
That all changed in the tenth when RBI singles by World Series MVP Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero gave the Cubbies a 2-run lead, and the streets again were abuzz!
When Mike Montgomery induced Michael Martinez to ground out to Kris Bryant at third, pandemonium set in at Wrigleyville as the Cubs gave all their fans what they yearned for years, that elusive World Series championship!
I’m not sure who all I hugged and gave high-fives too for the next 5-minutes, but there weren’t anyone turning them down! To see the Cubs win the title with a couple hundred thousand of your newest friends is a memory that neither Connor nor I will ever forget!
I’m pretty sure the poor Chicago police officers who were there for crowd control spent the night. I can say I’m proud of them, and all of Cubs fans, that there were no riots, looting or problems, as have plagued other cities.
I’d love to see the Cubs make it back next year. However, I’ll try not to be greedy, I’m just happy to see the title and share that night with my son, which made it even more special.