Michelle Martin

Congrats, Cubs

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thank God that’s over. No, not the election, because as I write this, it’s not quite over yet.

I meant the baseball season. More specifically, the Cubs season. Especially the Cubs victory in the World Series, complete with the deus ex machina of a 17-minute Game 7 rain delay, just when the Indians had the momentum. It really was their year.

Walking to work the Monday morning after the Friday parade and rally (“The seventh largest gathering in human history!” Cub fans social-media accounts screamed), it was a relief to see people going to school and work dressed in school and work clothes. Not everyone was sporting “Cubbie blue.” And I like blue.

I even ducked out of the office to watch the parade go by with Tony and Teresa, who has declared herself a Cub fan, like all of her classmates. That’s OK. Frank was a Cub fan for a while. He grew out of it. And if she doesn’t? Well, we’ve always encouraged the kids to think for themselves.

The thing is, I am honestly happy for all my friends and family who are truly overjoyed by their team’s win. Good for them. The Cubs have a great team, lots of young talent, personable players who seem to revel in their fans’ joy. I’ll be surprised if they’re not perennial contenders for at least the next few years.

That my team, the White Sox, was installing its new signage at Guaranteed Rate Field, complete with downward-pointing arrow while the Cubs were busy coming back from a three-games-to-one World Series deficit? Yeah, let’s not talk about that. No wonder ESPN, CBS and seemingly most of the country forgot that this was not Chicago’s first World Series win in 108 years. Was 2005 really that long ago?

If you watched the Sox play this summer, maybe it was.

Maybe that’s the difference between Sox fans and Cub fans. Both teams have had their share and more of subpar seasons, of sudden collapses, of finding new ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The despair of Sox fans (although we prefer the term “realism”) is unadulterated by any of that “wait-til-next-year” optimism that permeates the Cub fan base. For years, we Sox fans told ourselves that the reason Cub fans put up with it was because you all were more interested in passing a pleasant afternoon at the ballpark than actually paying attention to the game. Now you have a team worth watching.

While I wasn’t watching Game 7 living and dying with every pitch, fervently hoping for the Cubs to hang on, I wasn’t rooting for Cleveland, either. I mean, come on, they’re our divisional rivals. And as a matter of civic pride, who wants to lose to Cleveland?

For a fan of neither team, it was a great game to watch.

So congratulations, Cub fans. Your show of faith in your team has been exemplary. Congratulations, Cubs, and thanks for the distraction.