The moment finally has come: A celebration a long time coming
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This one is for Ronnie and Ernie and Milt and Gentleman Jim and all the departed Cub souls of yore who never saw it happen.
It’s for the current players and their families and Cubs management and can-eating goats everywhere.
It’s for executive chairman Tom Ricketts, who walked through the upper deck in the fourth inning and was mobbed with joyful high fives as he moved along.
But most of all, it’s for Cubs fans here and beyond, the ones on this earth, up in the air, out in the ether, in family rooms, sick rooms, the living and the spirits who waited 71 years for their beloved team to make it once more into the World Series.
Ding-dong, half the witch is dead!
The Cubs have won the National League Championship Series, moving to a place they haven’t been since 1945.
A World Series crown? We’ll get to that after this feat sinks in.
Bring on Cleveland and their Indians and that hideous, politically incorrect mascot Chief Wahoo, who is to gentle Clark the bear as a hatchet is to a butter knife. Yes, you have suffered Indians fans, and welcome to the final showdown. But the Cubs have suffered more. And their fans most of all.
The moment Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler led off against Dodgers lefty ace Clayton Kershaw with a ground-rule double that bounced over the brick wall past the Dodgers’ bullpen, you knew something was up.
Maybe it was true that Kershaw doesn’t do all that well in cold weather.
There was a large hanging sign fans brought, with a statement that might have been offensive a generation ago, but now is part of manager Joe Maddon’s T-shirt lexicon. It read: “Kershaw — Please Try to Suck!’’
When you chase a guy like Kershaw after taking a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning, you know it’s your night. No more sixth game blues. No more five outs from anywhere. Come on out of hiding, Steve Bartman! Enjoy this! Life is good, pal!
It’s impossible to look at the Cubs future without drifting into the past. Call it sentiment, call it shared yearning, call it the bonding of so many years.
But those hard-luck 1969 Cubs with Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo and Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Don Kessinger — this is for them. Even for Don Young.
This is for the 1984 Cubs of Rick Sutcliffe, Bobby Dernier, Jody Davis and Steve Trout, who had their hearts cruelly broken by the Padres in the NLCS. This is for Leon Durham. That ball that went between your legs? Forget about it!
This is for the 1989 Cubs and the 1998 Cubs, and, of course, the 2003 Cubs of Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Sammy Sosa, et al. — the “five outs away’’ team. That’s all gone. All washed away.
“Shout,’’ that joyous gospel/rock tune came blasting out of the PA before the Cubs started batting in the eighth inning. The fans sang along and the stadium swayed. That’s a scary feeling, people, an ancient structure like this rocking from delirium.
Before the ninth inning Eminem shouted defiantly: ‘The music, the moment, you own it!’ and again the building quaked.
The last out came and the Cubs’ gloves went flying into the air in ecstasy.
As the Cubs ran around the field in joy after the 5-0 win, waving to the fans still packed postgame at Wrigley Field — if anybody left early, I’m not aware of it — it was just a shocking sight. It’s just hard to believe. You know what I mean.
This one goes out to lifetime fan Bill Murray, who would have been here were he not in Washington, D.C., receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
It goes out to Steve Goodman, the troubadour who died young, and, like the rest of us, never knew Cubs success. It goes out to his family and his late mom, Minnette, the 4-9, 90-pound dynamo who was as sweet and spirited as any Cubs fan anywhere.
It’s there for the 2007 and 2008 Cubs, great teams that couldn’t make it out of the first round.
As everybody sang “Go, Cub, Go,’’ Goodman’s anthem to possibility, sang it once, then sang it again after the trophy presentation, and the white “W’’ flags flew, it was, indeed — at last — all good.
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