A Night In Wrigleyville

It finally happened. One hundred and eight years, it took that long for The Cubs to win the World Series. That was the longest drought in any American sport. So when I heard that the Series was going to game seven, I canceled all plans, called off of work, and made sure I got to Wrigleyville to witness history.

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This year marked the one hundredth year of Wrigley Field’s existence. Funny to think that the last time The Cubs won the World Series their home stadium wasn’t even built yet. Everything surrounding the area is solely Chicago sports oriented. That being sports bars, memorabilia shops, among other things catered to Cub’s fans. Unlike the South Side team, Wrigley has a village that is just as iconic as the field itself.

A few stops on the Red Line and I was there, in no way prepared for an emotional roller coaster that was game seven. I had been to Wrigley many times in my life, but this time was incredibly different. It was dark and chilly outside, it was strange because Cubs fans don’t normally have baseball in November. I arrived two hours before the first pitch to meet up with a few friends, one who even traveled across the country to see his hometown team make history. We didn’t do much catching up with each other as we were too infatuated with the game. Making our predictions, who will make the game changing play, that sort of stuff. There was plenty of tension there as well, every fan with the faint idea in their head, “what if they lose?”

The game still hadn’t started yet. We grabbed a cup of coffee to stay warm and awake, because we knew it would be a long night. We scanned for the best bar, not to drink at because those cover charges were ridiculous, but to to stand outside of one with a big enough television to be seen out the window. The place to be was Nola Pub on North Clark St. It didn’t take long for a mob of what looked like hundreds of people to pack in the streets standing on the tips of their toes to get a peek at the action.

It was honestly the second best place to watch the game (the first being right there in Cleveland). Never before has a baseball game been so exciting and full of twists and turns, it was too much to handle at times. Cheers roared with every strike, out, hit, run. Eventually when it hit extra innings, the crowd was silent. Up until then we thought we had this game in the bag, but that faint idea found its way back into our head, “what if they lose?” The cheers turned into attentive stares as everyone stood anxiously not knowing what would happen next.

The stakes had been high from the very beginning of this series. Two teams with arguably equal grounds to play on. Both worthy of the title. It was like Balboa vs Creed. Each team had taken a beating, and in the beginning it appeared as if the Cubs had been defeated. But this wasn’t Rocky, this was Rocky II. Chicago still had plenty of fight left in them.

It was the bottom of the tenth, there were two outs with the winning run at bat for Cleveland. When the grounder was hit to Bryant at third, the crowd collectively took an audible inhale. “Is this it?” everyone thought to themselves. The moment played in slow motion for every one of the hundreds of fans standing outside that pub. The ball slowly reached Rizzo’s glove, and the cheers returned.

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It was something you would see at then end of a movie. Hundreds of people celebrating an unthinkable victory, screaming, jumping, singing “Go Cubs Go.” A party lit up in every corner of Wrigleyville. This was something no one in Chicago had ever experienced before. We had The Bears in ‘85, Bulls in the ‘90s, White Sox in ‘05, and the three Stanley Cups for The Blackhawks, but The Cubs have been dry for one hundred and eight years. Fans old and young, near and far, had never been able to say that we were world champions in our lifetime. All we can hope for now is that we don’t go another one hundred and eight years without a win. So Cubbies, try not to suck next year. (Nathan Junkroski/CoS Student)

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