10/15/2003 12:22 AM ET
Let's get them Wednesday night
Wrigley Field a sight to behold in October
At least it wasn't the seventh game. Tonight I was invited to a friend's house to watch the game together, and I decided to go. I told him on the phone that I could handle watching a Game 6, but if it was a seventh game, I'd have to go it alone. So Wednesday night I'll be going insane all by myself.
If you didn't know it by now, Cubs fans, here is baseball lesson No. 1: Never, ever, ever call it a day until the last out is recorded. The flip side of this coin is to never give up hope, which all Cubs fans understand well.
The writer Robert Louis Stevenson said, "To travel hopefully is better than to arrive." It is a perfect quotation for Cubs fans. So now we travel hopefully into Game 7. We've waited 58 years to return to the World Series, we can wait another 24 hours. Let's just keep our fingers crossed and hope and pray for the best. One thing is for sure, we'll get the last at-bats.
Tonight's game started hopefully, with the Cubs scoring first yet again. It didn't seem comfortable to have such a slim lead into the middle of the game, but the Cubs added a pair of runs late and looked like they might pull it out and send us back to the championship. We were five outs away this time, with a three-run lead. Sounds a lot like the fifth and final game against San Diego in 1984. I don't recall the exact details, but we were more like eight or nine outs away during that final game in San Diego. So, this is the closest we've gotten in my lifetime, in many of our lifetimes. Five outs.
Jack McKeon was the general manager of the Padres back in 1984 and now is the field manager of the Marlins. Hey Cubs fans, we owe him one! Let's get them Wednesday night.
On the aesthetic side, it is nice to see Wrigley Field in October, when the ivy is turning golden and red. Usually the only people who see the ivy this time of year are groundskeepers and security guards. It truly adds another facet to the incomparable beauty of Wrigley Field. Hopefully, we can play another 10 days or so and see what it looks like in the middle of next week.
One of the sadder Wrigley Field scenes I ever saw was on the front page of the Trib on the first day of the 1984 World Series, which we really should have played in. It was a field-level shot, looking out toward right, I think, and showing impossibly green grass and ivy, under fabulously sunny blue skies. It must have been a warmer fall that year -- no reds or golds yet. The caption simply stated the temperature at what would have been game time. Sad and poetic and bittersweet.
By the way, fans, Bill Veeck planted two strains of ivy on the Wrigley Field walls back in 1937. One was called Bittersweet, the other Boston Ivy. Both are strangely appropriate. I have heard it said that the only justice is poetic justice. Let's hope that's not true Wednesday.
Tim Wiles, a Cubs fan raised in Peoria, Ill., and now living in Cooperstown, N.Y., will share his thoughts as a fan throughout the NLCS.