Friday, November 4, 2016

Chicago Cubs' first World Series win since 1908.

And what a game it was.   Coming into the decisive seventh game, tied with three wins each, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians faced off for the showdown.   By the time it ended, well past midnight, the Cubs had finally won by 8 to 7.

Congratulations, Chicago Cubs -- World Series Baseball Champions for the first time in 108 years, having last won the title in 1908.

For a little perspective:   since then we have fought World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the VietNam war, the unending wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and sort of the whole Middle East.   In 1908 there were only 46 stars on the U.S. flag:  New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii were added since then.

The stock market collapse and the Great Depression were yet to be;  FDR's New Deal and Social Security were not even on the horizon.  Commercial air travel, skyscrapers, expressways, movie theaters, television, and the whole digital revolution were way in the future.

Or, get this.   Women wouldn't have the right to vote for another 12 years, when the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1920.  Anyone alive when the Cubs were last world champions is now at least 108 years old, all five of them.

But . . .  back to the game, which was just about everything you'd want in a championship game.   A home run by the first batter up, knocking the fourth pitch of the game out of the park.   Later another Cubs home run by the oldest player ever (39) to knock one out of the park in the seventh game of a world series.  Along with good pitching, stolen bases, off the wall catches -- it all led to a strong Cubs' lead of 6 to 3 going into the bottom of the 8th inning.

But the Indians weren't going to let them have it that easily.   Just four outs away from the game being over, they scored a run, then topped that with a two-run homer to tie the game, 6 to 6.

Then to complicate things, it started to rain.   They rolled out the tarps over the infield . . . and we waited. . . .  But only about 20 minutes.    The score remained tied at the end of the ninth inning, now well past midnight.   But the Cubs came roaring back in the top of the 10th, scoring two more runs;   then the Indians had another go in the bottom of the ninth.   Down to their last out, they managed one run, but that was it.    The Cubs won by 8 to 7.

I'm something of a fair weather fan -- or, really, a watching-with-family fan.   For this game, we followed a family tradition of watching baseball together.  And that's always fun.   It takes me back to fond memories of my father, who was the biggest baseball fan of all, having been a semi-pro player himself in a small, local minor league.   In later years, he habitually watched one game on tv while listening to a different one on the radio.   He knew everyone's batting average and the pitchers' stats, and he could predict what everybody was going to do in any situation.   This was before computers spit out more data trivia than you can use.

For the record, my father would have been 7 years old when the Cubs last won a world series.  His family were farmers, and I'm pretty sure that in 1908 they didn't even have electricity.  So even if there had been television (not for another 40 years), he couldn't have watched, or listened to that game on the radio.

He would have loved this one.   And we would have loved having him there with us -- watching and interpreting the game for us.

And my grandkids would have had the opportunity to get to know their great-grandfather in the best of all possible ways -- through watching baseball with him.


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