Here’s what I wrote about the Cubs on Oct. 10, 2015:
“Because I was bored” is the answer to an uncomfortable amount of questions about my childhood.
It might seem strange to those that know me, as I’ve spent a sad amount of my life hoping, lamenting and thinking about my Detroit sports teams, but the Cubs had my heart first.
While my older brothers were going to elementary school for full days, I spent a year in morning preschool. After that, like many American kids, I watched Bozo the Clown on WGN. With a tray on my lap of ham roll-ups filled with cream cheese, I wondered how many buckets I could successfully throw the ping-pong ball into during the “Grand Prize Game.”
But unlike most, I stayed tuned to Chicago’s Very Own for Harry Caray and Steve Stone and day games at The Friendly Confines.
I was a Cub Fan and (as Harry said) a Bud Man.
Andre “Awesome” Dawson was my favorite player, although “Ryno” Sandberg and Shawon Dunston weren’t far behind. I remember Greg Maddux entering the scene, with Lee Smith, Rick Sutcliffe and a young Jamie Moyer (it’s true, he was once young) among my favorite guys.
Even when I went to kindergarten in the afternoons the following year, I could still catch the second half of the games after school. I actually remember 1988 more than ’87, with the addition of Mark Grace and Don Zimmer at manager, and the emergence of a lanky Rafael Palmeiro making the Cubbies an up-and-coming team.
They were still my team in 1989, as Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams joined the party, helping lift the team to a special season that was sure to break the Curse of the Billy Goat, which I innocently didn’t know about at the time. That team lost to San Francisco in the NLCS.
With apologies to Tram, Sweet Lou, and family favorites Darrell Evans and Tommy Brookens with Detroit, the boys playing at Wrigley Field were my heroes for a few years until Cecil Fielder changed things with 51 swings of the bat in 1990.
Going to Wrigley Field for the first time as a youngster is one of the most important early memories of my life.
That’s why it’s easy to climb back on the bandwagon this year, and I’m joining Cubs fans around the world in hoping that this is the year, breaking the more than century-long World Series drought.
Could you imagine?