Hey Cubs fans,
It's me and my dad here. We appreciate your nausea, elation, anxiety, and tears as you survive these long baseball nights. Your pain and pride resonates deeply with us and with tons of Red Sox fans who understand how your universe feels right now. As a kid who grew up with no living family members to have ever witnessed a Red Sox World Series win, my Dad always told me "if the Cubs ever make it to the World Series, we're gonna pull for them." We have talked about it in theory for years.
You know the rest. Two teams. Two deserving cities. I even have a few family members living in Cleveland. They're lovely folks and Cleveland is undoubtedly a great town. But on this one you've got our hearts. Actually, this is so much bigger than you. You know it and so do we. The morning after our World Series victory in 2004, the breathless phone operator at the Boston Globe (I was calling to order multiple front page covers) told me if I needed to call back for some reason, I might never, ever, ever get through again. She was getting calls from all over New England, and the world, from countries she had never heard of. All of Red Sox nation was suspended in free floating awe as we experienced something we'd never thought possible in our lifetimes. It bonded us to the people we loved and to those we had lost.
My dad and I have been watching your faces in the stands these last few games and we see ourselves. No other baseball fans in the world know those facial contortions like we do. And then there's your folklore. We know about the goat. We know the cranky guy who brought the goat (and the curse) died the same date (!!!) you made it to the World Series this year on October 22nd. We adore Cubs super fan Bill Murray showing up unannounced to the White House press briefing last week as only Bill Murray could, and for his rendition of the national anthem. On our side we've got Stephen King and The Good Will Hunting guys, but we'd happily trade one of them (and you know which one) for Bill Murray.
And I don't know if you know this about us, but we've got issues. Maybe you do too. In 2003 my dad and I believed we were to blame for our heartbreaking loss to the Yankees because:
1) He wore his Red Sox jersey under his suit early on in the playoffs and grew convinced he jinxed the win by not waiting.
2) On my end, I foolishly committed to ham and cheese sandwiches daily (even when they looked gross) in keeping things consistent as it seemed to help us win. In 2004 I switched to turkey and cheese and have never looked back.
Dad and I know how you feel. And we understand better than anyone how fate can sometimes be cruel, sly and unforgiving. But we also know this:
There is magic in October. There is magic in this young team of yours.
We'll never own Cubs hats nor be able to spout off your starting lineup. But, in addition to your friends and family, you've now got two good-humored (and neurotic) Red Sox fans pulling for you. I'm all grown up now and my dad and I have been watching these games in two states that are a plane ride away from each other. But we are keeping strong the pact we made years ago to root you on.
On game nights my dad, whose heart has belonged to the Red Sox for almost 7 decades, will sit in his same living room chair wearing the same shirt he's worn for all your lucky games. Those who don't get it call that frivolous and ineffectual. We call it love.
Let's do this Chicago.
Shannan and Dad