Last night the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. Cleveland was their opponent and they had not won one in 68 years. It was game 7 and it was the kind of game they make movies about. Honestly, I’m already looking forward to the movie!
I stayed up well past my bedtime to see the end. While I am not a Cubs or Indians fan, I’m without a doubt, a baseball fan and last night was good for baseball.
Looking back, I guess I had no choice in the matter of becoming a baseball fan. I grew up on the diamond. My older brother played knothole and my Dad coached the team for 10 years. I was there when it was cold early in the spring and I was there when it was humid beyond belief in the dead of summer. I had my spot right next to my Mom. I remember hoping the field would have a park, but they didn’t always have them. Occasionally a dirt mound would be a good source of fun for awhile. When I wasn’t at a knothole game, I was at a softball game watching my Dad who had played baseball his whole life before old age made him switch to softball.
Beyond growing up watching knothole and softball, I come from a long line of never wavering Cincinnati Reds fans. I don’t remember my first Reds game, which tells me I was pretty young the first time I went.
I’m the girl who knows what a balk is. I’m the girl who loves to see a full count in the 9th with a game on the line. Im the girl who loves seeing a pitcher get uneasy when an excellent base stealer is on first. I’m the girl who loves nothing more than a Kahns hotdog from the ballpark. I’m the girl who went to all three games of a Reds homestand hoping to see Griffey hit number 500. I’m the girl who was maid of honor in a wedding that was held on the morning of Opening Day. Simply put, baseball is a part of me.
My 6 month old son attended his first game this summer. The first piece of clothing I bought for him was a Cincinnati Reds shirt and short set. I bought this knowing the Reds were going to have a horrific season. It was going to be a “rebuilding year”, also known as this is an experiment and we have no idea how it will go, but we’re 99.9% sure it won’t be pretty and lo and behold, it wasn’t pretty. The highlight reel for the 2016 Reds isn’t crazy long, but that’s what is so cool about baseball, every Spring when the snow melts and sun starts shining, it’s another chance to get it right.
The true fans still wear their red caps with pride and root for them regardless of how terrible the season is going. A fan like my Grandpa Max who would be listening to them on the radio in September when they were 15 games out of first place. A man who once said, “why did he have to hit a homerun when all we needed was a little base hit?” Grandpa had so much respect for the game of baseball. I can’t think of baseball and not immediately think of him. I remember turning his tv to the Reds game when he was dying in the hospital. I recall the nurse saying, he probably doesn’t care if that’s on and I told her she doesn’t know my grandpa like I do. That’s what it means to be a fan. It means agonizing in defeat (or defeat after defeat after defeat) so you can savor the victory. Oh the joy of victory.
Cubs fans are savoring the victory and I hope they enjoy it. You all have been waiting long enough.
However, in 150 days it’s Opening Day, Cincinnati’s tradition since 1881 and hope spring eternal. Go Redlegs!