Dear Family and Friends:
I have never in my life had the opportunity to say, “Tonight the Chicago Cubs may be World Series champions!” Being a born and bred Chicagoan, Northsider even, and having been on this earth a long time, it’s remarkable that tonight might just be the night. Let’s see. The last time the Cubbies were in the World Series was four months before I was born, 1945. The last time they won the Series was two years after my Grandfathers arrived at Ellis Island from Eastern Europe, 1908. I’m sure my grandparents couldn’t have cared less about the great American pastime, but I sure wish my Dad could be sitting next to me watching tonight, along with his best buddy (whom I called uncle) Roy Levy. How many times they snuck away from work on weekday afternoons to catch the last few innings of games at Wrigley Field? Impossible to calculate. How many times my Dad fell asleep watching The Cubs on TV on Saturday afternoons? Also impossible to estimate. I remember once, Cubs playing on TV, Dad asleep in the couch, I changed the channel. Dad immediately woke and said, “Hey. I’m watching the game. The Cubs are up by two.” He was right. He could watch the games in his sleep. Remarkable.
Yesterday the editor of our local paper, Bob Zaltsberg of the Herald Times wrote a column about singer/songwriter Steve Goodman, z’’l. Goodman, a native Chicagoan of my vintage and, I believe, a fellow camper at Union Institute in the early ‘60’s, wrote several songs about Chicago and the Cubs. He’s best known for his “City of New Orleans.” But these days his, “Go Cubs Go” is his biggest hit. Zaltsberg wrote that “Go Cubs Go” is not Goodman’s best work. He prefers “Last Wish of a Dying Cubs Fan.” Also great. But I’d like Bob Zaltsberg to think of this (maybe I’ll send him this letter); how do you measure “Best?” Cub’s fans fly the blue “W” and sing “Go Cubs Go” after every win at Wrigley Field. Two nights ago the Cubs came back to win a squeaker 3 to 2 to keep them in the Series. Afterword, approximately 50 thousand fans stood in the friendly confines of Wrigley and sang it. How many were singing out on Sheffield Ave or on Clark Street is hard to guess. I think when over fifty thousand people join together to sing one of your songs, well, that’s a lot of votes for best in my book.
A friend invited me to watch the game tonight at a local watering hole, Nicks. I can’t do it. For some reason this is a personal thing. I’d hate to be in a crowd if the Cubbies didn’t win (don’t want to use the “L” word), and I kind of want to relish in the moment (like a moment of silence) if they do. I guess that’s not very baseball-like, since the sport is so communal. But that’s how I feel.
So, Steve Goodman. To quote your “Last Wish of a Dying Cubs Fan,” Yes they still sing the blues in Chicago. But not this year and not for this Cubs team. And hopefully tonight Chicagoans and expatriate Chicagoans will hoist the blue “W” and join in the refrain, “Go Cubs Go.” Win or lose, I’ll be singing a solo rendition and be most happy for a great season.
GO CUBS GO!