My wife is a Cubs fan.
I’m rooting for the Indians.
There can be no greater test of our marital bonds.
Can love overcome battling baseball allegiances?
Alas, there’s no umpire than can make this call.
My darling, treasured wife, Victoria, is a Chicago girl born and raised. Vic’s a South Sider by birth – and should really be a White Sox fan by regional rights – but she headed to the North Side for college, which is where we first met.
After her years at Northwestern University in Evanston on Chicago’s northern border, Victoria moved to Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood (also on the North Side), where loyalty to the Cubs was very strong. Shortly after I moved in with her in the mid-1980s, we took an apartment in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. It was a short walk to hallowed, historic Wrigley Field — the very epicenter of Cubs fandom.
As I discussed in a previous post, the Cubs became my favorite team in the National League during my years in Chicago, and Victoria and I went to many games at Wrigley Field, snuggling under a blanket during the chill of home openers in the spring and enjoying the thrill of pennant races in late summer.
Together we experienced the exhilarating highs and inevitable lows endemic to Cubbie love – especially the bittersweet 1989 season in which Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Rick Sutcliffe and Mitch Williams all made the All-Star game and Jerome Walton was the NL Rookie of the Year. Of course, that team broke our hearts again by losing to the hated San Francisco Giants four games to one in the National League Championship Series.
Love of the Cubs has always been something that Victoria and I have shared – from the time we began dating in 1985, to when we were married on the North Side in 1990, and throughout our long sojourn in Southern California. We suffered together through losing seasons and the horrors of The Bartman Game.
Meanwhile, my wonderful wife viewed my continued support of the Indians in the America League. She paid scant attention to American League baseball anyway. In fact, she’d never been to Comiskey Park to see the White Sox play until I took her to that venerable South Side ballpark during its final season of existence.
She happily supported my trip to Jacobs Field in Cleveland to watch the Indians win Game 4 of the 1997 World Series. In fact, losing Game 7 of that Series in a particularly heartbreaking fashion only strengthened our baseball bonds of mutual misery.
Now comes this moment. A moment I never imagined could happen in our lifetimes.
The Cubs we have loved together are finally, blessedly, in their first World Series since 1945. Yet, as cruel fate would have it, they are playing against my boyhood team, The Cleveland Indians.
And so, this time I must root for my Tribe.
I’ve explained why this must be – but especially with the Cubs down 3 games to 1 at this moment – Victoria is looking daggers at me.
I know love conquers all. But, why oh why, must the baseball gods test our marriage by pitting the Indians versus the Cubs? Why not Red Sox versus Cubs — or Tribe versus Dodgers? Those matchups would not have challenged our three-decade love match.
Tonight, we’ll watch Game 5 together. There is a possibility that The Indians will celebrate their first World Series championship since 1948 amid the history and ivy of Wrigley Field. There is also the chance the Cubs will send this Series back to Cleveland for Game 6.
And if the Tribe wins tonight – Vic might just send me back to Cleveland anyway.
10 Rays of Sunshine…
Election Day 2010 was a dark day for many of us on the side of truth, justice, and the Progressive American Way — but it does no good to retreat into the shadows of negativity. We must continue to move toward the light. In my case, that means warming myself in every ray of sunlight that pokes through the storm clouds. No matter how slender that shaft of heavenly illumination is.
So, in no particular order, here are 10 Rays of Sunshine that are providing me with some light amid the gloom.
1. The Browns Beat New England
It’s one thing for my underdog Cleveland Browns to upset the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints – but for them to lay a 34-14 beat-down on coach Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots is even better.
Belichick was the Browns head coach from 1991-95: the guy who unceremoniously dumped hometown hero, Bernie Kosar, saying the star quarterback was suffering from “diminishing skills.” Belichik’s record with the Browns was a lackluster 36–44, and in his last season the Browns finished 5–11. That same year owner Art Modell announced he was moving the team to Baltimore. Belichick resigned soon after that. Cleveland was without an NFL team – and without room in our collective heart for the coach that presided over the Browns’ darkest days.
So, it was sweet, indeed, when Bill’s celebrated Patriots took a knee on their last play to end the slaughter at the hands of the resurgent Browns. It was heartwarming to see Bill Belichick literally brought to his knees. Ah! Redemption and revenge on the same Sunday afternoon.
2. The Giants Defeat Texas in the World Series
I’ll admit that I’ve never been a San Francisco Giants fan. Something about that catch Willie Mays made in the ’54 Series that crushed my Tribe’s hopes.
Okay, the Giants were still in New York then, but it’s still the same franchise, right?
I’ll also admit that I don’t really care that the Giants have just won the World Series for the first time since moving to San Francisco.
So what is it about the Giants’ MLB Championship that brings me joy? I have two good reasons to be happy about San Francisco whipping Texas this year.
A. I love the idea of San Francisco, home of the demonized Nancy Pelosi, gay marriage, and all things liberal kicking butt on the team from a right-leaning, Neanderthal state led by a secessionist governor
B. The Texas Rangers are George Bush’s team. Poppy Bush was on hand to watch his wretched son throw out the first pitch before Game 4: a game the Giants won 4-0. I’m delighted that the Bush crime family was denied a reason to celebrate – and Dubya got less publicity for his whitewashed, self-serving memoir.
3. Sharron Angle Loses in Nevada
Senator Harry Reid’s 50% to 44% reelection over Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle proves that there just aren’t enough Limbaugh lemmings, numbskulls and racists in Nevada to win statewide office.
Thus, our great nation was spared the danger and embarrassment of six years of Sharron Angle’s lunacy in the upper chamber of Congress.
4. Christine O’Donnell Loses in Delaware
She may not be a witch, but thanks to the sanity of voters in the first state to ratify the US Constitution, she’s not the junior Senator from Delaware, either.
5. Meg and Carly Lose in California
Meg Whitman spent over $140 million of her own money to buy the California Governor’s seat. Carly Fiorina spent a relatively paltry $5.5 million of her own cash in a losing effort to unseat our liberal California Senator Barbara Boxer. It was great to know that my adopted home state could not be bought. (Not this election cycle, at least.)
6. 151,000 Jobs Added in October
The U.S. Labor Department has just reported that 159,000 private sector jobs were added in October, 2010. Factoring in government job cuts — which totaled 8,000 last month — the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. It was the first increase in total payroll since April, and private companies have now added jobs for 10 straight months. We’re not out of the dark by any means, but there’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Unless incoming Speaker Boehner and the wrong-way economic drivers in the GOP House caucus find a way to wrestle the car keys from President Obama and run us back into the ditch.
7. Stock Market Above 11,000
Have you checked your 401K or pension accounts lately? Remember how they looked when Bush’s economic chickens came home to roost? Or when Bush’s economic goose was cooked?
Whatever the poultry metaphor, the stock market bulls have sprouted wings again.
8. McRib is Back
I can’t remember when the McRib went away – but now it’s back. I plan to have one soon, although I don’t know why. The last one I ate several years ago didn’t taste much like ribs, but the barbecue sauce was passable. (Let’s face it. I’ll eat an old shoe if it’s slathered with the right barbecue sauce.)
McRib debuted in ‘81 and went away in ’85. Then, in ’94, the McRib returned as a tie-in with the film, “The Flintstones”. McDonald’s announced in ‘05 that the McRib would be mothballed again following a “McRib Farewell Tour.” At the same time, McDonald’s promoted a “Save the McRib” campaign sponsored by the “Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America.” Very funny. Just not very tasty.
And now the McRib is back again! Somehow, for no earthly reason at all other than it confirms the basic, good-natured naiveté and eager enthusiasm of Americans, I’m glad to see this oddball sandwich back on the menu.
9. Marty Still Alive on “Survivor”
Forty-eight year old, Marty Piombo of Mill Valley, California is my favorite contestant on the current season of “Survivor” – my favorite TV show. This season the series was shot in Nicaragua featuring younger players against older players. So far, the youngsters have the upper hand – but craft, cunning, Machiavellian Marty is still alive – and thus, vicariously, so am I.
UPDATE: Alas, Marty’s flame was snuffed out on Wednesday 11/10 through the treachery of the lovely yet diabolical Brenda. Gotta root for Fabio now.
10. Cleveland Cavaliers Still Winning
Despite the much-ballyhooed loss of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have not collapsed. Led by coach Byron Scott, the 3-3 Cavs currently have a share of first place in the NBA’s Central Division.
If the Cavaliers reach the playoffs without LeBron, ex-Laker star Byron Scott should be NBA Coach of the Year.
So, those are the items in the news that are making me smile. What are YOUR rays of sunshine?
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Filed under Politics, Random Commentary, Sports
Tagged as Barbara Boxer, Bill Belichik, Byron Scott, Carly Fiorina, Cavaliers, Christine O'Donnell, Cleveland, Cleveland Browns, Giants, jobs, McRib, Meg Whitman, Patriots, Sharron Angle, stock market, Survivor, Tea Party, Texas Rangers, World Series