They were all there last night and the party was long and joyous. The ballpark was dark, the stands were empty, but the field was aglow and overflowing with a century’s worth of Chicago Cubs. To name one would mean to name them all, but that was not what the party was all about.
While the rest of Wrigleyville slept, history took over the Friendly Confines at Clark and Addison, Waveland and Sheffield. “Cubbies” gathered from every nook and cranny of the last hundred years – owners, management, broadcasters, sportswriters, PR people, ushers, cops, ground crews, vendors and nameless others in the Cubs organization who never stopped believing – and the players, all of them, their managers, coaches, trainers, bat boys and the umps (Can’t forget them.).
This “Field of Dreams” was not surrounded by cornfields but by bricks and ivy. For the occasion, someone thought to hoist the white banner with the big blue “W” high above center field and “Cubs Win! Cubs Win!” flashed across the iconic scoreboard. On the field, memories flowed like Old Style. Story after story told and retold the saga of the “lovable losers” who later in the day would try again to win it all. “And this time, THIS TIME, it’s gonna happen!” “Hey, Hey!” “Holy Cow!”
“There isn’t a black cat or a Billy goat in creation that can stop these guys,” one old-timer shouted, getting a roar of approval. “We got the pitching; we got the hitting!” another cried out, cueing a chorus of “Yeah’s.” “And home field advantage! How can we lose?”
The party broke up before dawn, disappearing into the bricks and ivy. Sunrise found the field in perfect shape. Wrigleyville rubbed the sleep out of its eyes, hoping the coming days would not be about business as usual, that the biggest of the “Big Show,” the World Series, was just a playoff or two away.
Déjà vu? Not this time. It is different this year. The baseball Gods have baked a cake with a hundred candles on it, and half of Chicago, at least, and Cubs fans everywhere are waiting for their team to blow out the competition, then the candles, so everyone can have a slice.
That party will be real. The field, the stands and storied streets as well, will be overflowing with jubilation – and relief. And among the crowd – every single one of last night’s partygoers, adding a piece of heaven to the occasion.