On November 3, 2016 it happened.
Written by Kyle Magin
More than the players today, who poured their lives into the pursuit of baseball excellence, the Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory belongs to its fans. Why? Why does a victory mean more to a bleacher bums than it does to a bunch of dudes who just put in 162 plus the playoffs plus spring training plus the entirety of their lives to this point? Because true Cubs fans, more than any others, have put in a life of sweat equity into this franchise. They were buying tickets and jerseys and cable packages with WGN and its RSN successors to support this team for decades. These insane people raised their children into the same hopeless fandom that they suffered, one that promised only a nice day outside at a park on the North Side and never October nights or November glory.
It’s for these people, who have been tied to this franchise by proximity, by blood, by poor decision-making, for years and decades and generations, that this win is really for.
This is for my cousin Tyler, who, as a little leaguer in the early 00s, explained to my dad and I, in a most earnest manner, that we shouldn’t make fun of then-Cub Moises Alou for peeing on his own hands before playing baseball. Alou, A Dominican, was practicing the customs of his home country, where urinating on one’s hands hardened them for hitting and protected them from calluses, Tyler told us. Please imagine a very serious child in a baseball jersey explaining this to you, a teenager, and your father.
This is for his grandpa, my dad’s Uncle Lonnie, a Cub fan who died last year at 84 never having seen his team win it all.
This is for my friend Michelle, who has been a Cubs fan since that was a really embarrassing thing to be, and who as a 31-year old probably still draws hearts around her initials + Kris Bryant’s initials on notebooks. Michelle’s recent tweets are a life-affirming storm of emoji in red, blue and the letter W.
This is for my friend Dave. We exchanged baseball-related gifts before heading off to college on opposite sides of the country in 2003. I got a rad Montreal Expos snapback that still embarasses my girlfriend to this day. He, a Cubs fan, got a book of Ryne Sandberg baseball cards I’d collected and had given to me when I still collected cards. Dave’s dad told us he abandoned the game after the strike in ‘94, so I always admired Dave for making his own way into Cubs fandom amongst a bunch of Tigers honks in our Michigan hometown.
For these people, and for the millions and millions more who lived and died without seeing the Cubs win, who spent their excess income and time sitting in Wrigley to see a lot of terrible teams (and Sammy Sosa diving for balls he could have easily glided under) I wish enjoyment of this moment and the days to come.
It’s for you.