Saturday, May 07, 2005

The day I became a diehard Cubs fan

Friday it happened. The moment I became a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.

On Wednesday they lost when their relief pitcher walked in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

On Thursday they lost in the top of the ninth when an opponent hit a blooper that the second basemen over ran.

Then on Friday in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded, Cubs ahead by one, and one out, I unloaded my wheelchair to go into the Met to swim.

I paused to listen to the next at bat. Cubs announcer, Pat Hughes: "A sharp liner back to the mound. He throws to first. Oh no, he threw it into the stands...two runs score...Philadelphia takes the lead...I think it bounced of the base runner and into the stands."

Hughes was right. When the pitcher threw to first base to complete the double play and finish the inning, the ball hit the helmet of the base runner and flew into the stands.

I sat in my wheelchair and laughed. This is art, I thought, absurd art maybe, but art nonetheless. The Cubs have turned losing into an art.

I grew up in Minnesota, a Twins fan, and moved to Illinois in 1977. Over the years the Cubs have slowly grown on me but I wouldn't have called myself a diehard Cubs fan.

But at that moment, when I could laugh, recognizing the absurd beauty of that play, one that may never again be duplicated in baseball, I knew I was a diehard Cubs fan.

When they win it's great, but when they lose like that, it's beauty.

Go Cubs.

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