This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© doesn’t touch on issues in the world of sports that often.
But today I feel compelled.
I’ve spent all week sleep deprived, as the Chicago Cubs have been playing games on the West Coast, and those don’t begin until 9:05pm Central time. And the way baseball is played these days, only one of the past four night’s games has ended before midnight my time.
So, baseball has been on my mind.
They’re playing the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend. L.A. is the home of my daughter and her family: my son-in-law, and my two grandchildren.
My 7-1/2 year old grandson lived in Chicago for the first four years of his life, and somehow caught Cubs fan-itis, following the team on TV when available (and his mom and dad say it’s okay) and on line.
Last time we were together, he showed me how he logs into MLB.com on his Mom’s Macbook to get the latest scores and stats, and he grabs the L.A. Times sports section first thing to study the box scores. And his interest and enthusiasm, especially for all things Cubs, re-ignited mine. It doesn’t hurt that they’re off to a terrific start this season.
As I reflected on baseball, an enthusiasm that waxes and wanes for me, but which was a lifelong enthusiasm of my father, and which my older son inherited, and now, apparently, my grandson, I had this thought.
Most everyone who follows baseball in the U.S. knows about the Cubs. They last played in the World Series (that misnamed sporting event that only recently expanded its borders beyond the parochial U.S. into Canada [and has since pulled one of the two teams back to safe harbor in Washington, D.C.]) in 1945, before even I was born, and last won the championship in 1908, 100 years ago.
As I instant messaged a business colleague this afternoon the chat got around to weekend plans. some of my grandson’s Cubs fanaticism came out, as I described the fact that the entire L.A. extended family is going out to Chavez Ravine Saturday afternoon to watch the Cubs play the Dodgers.
My son-in-law grew up in L.A., and as that family is about evenly split between Dodgers and Cubs fans, it should be a rowdy afternoon.
As I described some of this while IM’ing my colleague, who works out of Boulder, Colorado, but comes from St. Louis and is a rabid Cardinals fan, he was ragging on me pretty good about how great it is to be a Cardinals fan, and how sad to be a Cubs fan.
The Cardinals indeed have had much more championship success over the past century than the Cubs — it would be impossible not to, actually.
He commented how sad it was that my grandson was growing up to know the perpetual futility and disappointment that is the lot of rooters for the Cubs.
I beg to differ, Mr. Cardinals Fan. We work together to support software, he on the technical side, and me on the end user side. The software has been a continuing challenge to support for the six or so years he and I have been doing this.
The pressures and stress of the constant emergencies we face, caused by the built-in shortcomings of the product that are his responsibility to maintain, have actually impaired his health, as he’s pretty much a one-man band on the technical side, and the software just isn’t a consistent performer.
I told him (kidding on the square) that my experience as a Cubs fan has prepared me well to support this particular software, whereas his Cardinals fandom has not at all prepared him for the constant disappointments he and I both face trying to figure out how to keep the tool available to the enterprise.
Further, while I wish only blue skies and sunshine and happiness and good health and prosperity to my children and my grandchildren, I strongly believe that being a Cubs fan will be for them a more realistic preparation for the inevitable roller coaster ride that is our real world.
But, that brings us to this year. It’s the one-hundredth anniversary of the last year the Cubs won the championship. The catchphrase “Tinker to Evers to Chance,” the double-play combination of that particular Cubs era, is one that still resonates in parts of my home town.
They’re actually playing very well so far this year, and it could be that this is the year that they stay strong and win it all. It would only be right, after 100 years.
So, MUDGE, what’s this Brigadoon thing?
It tells the story of a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though to the villagers, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night. The enchantment is viewed by them as a blessing rather than a curse, for it saved the village from destruction. According to their covenant with God, no one from Brigadoon may ever leave, or the enchantment will be broken and the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever. Two American tourists, lost in the Scottish Highlands, stumble upon the village just as a wedding is about to be celebrated, and their arrival has serious implications for the village’s inhabitants.
Not the greatest musical of Lerner and Loewe (that of course would be the later My Fair Lady), but entertaining enough.
They made a movie of the show, of course.
A village that appears one day every one hundred years. A championship that hasn’t been seen in Chicago for 100 years. So, yr (justifiably) humble svt has perhaps coined a phrase. You read it here first!
Is 2008 the Cubs’ Brigadoon year?
Probably not. After all, this is a Cubs fan you’re reading.
But, even bitter, pragmatic realists entertain their sorry dreams.
It’s it for now. Thanks,