Aftermath of Kris Bryant Walk-Off Defines Cubs Season, Reminds Us of the Past

A lot of you are Cubs fans because you grew up in and around Chicago and they were the closest team. Still more were baptized in the fire of WGN Radio’s blowtorch signal or the wide reach of the Superstation’s TV broadcast. And while there are some who converted later in life, I’d wager that a good portion of you can pull from a vast collection of episodic childhood memories involving your favorite team.

Do you remember getting together with friends in the neighborhood for a little sandlot baseball, each of you laying claim to your favorite player? There’d be a weird moment when one guy wanted to be Rick Wrona, but the game would eventually proceed. And while there was always competition and debate over whether a pitch was actually a strike or whether that ghost runner really would have scored from second on a single, you always had fun.

Those memories all seem so bright. But some of that joy comes out in the wash as you get a little older and the dual-action detergent of time and responsibility serve to bleach out the most vibrant of life’s colors. Unless you’ve walled yourself off emotionally, though, there’s a way to refresh those hues. You’ve just got to embrace the now.

Only by living fully in the present can we truly put the past in perspective and learn to enjoy life as a whole. And the Cubs are a big part of life for many of us. Listen, I know that might sound a little cheesy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. I’ve got so many memories of watching the Cubs with my brother or my friends, of listening to them on the radio with my dad, and those are some of my favorite times.

When the team is playing poorly, you’ve really got nothing but those old memories from which to draw consolation. When they’re playing well, however, you get to establish all kind of new memories while still flashing back to those days of grainy pictures, bad chyron graphics, and Harry Caray forgetting to hit the cough button while ogling women in the crowd.

The broadcast is now in HD, the graphics replete with advanced metrics, and Led and JD discuss the merits of Thuggish Ruggish Bone rather than the bikini-clad women in the bleachers, but watching the Cubs is as fun now as it’s ever been. You can’t help but smile when Anthony Rizzo bear-hugs Eric Hinske or when any number of guys shampoo their batting helmets after a hit.

And what’s more fun that the post-walk-off Gatorade shower?

Wait, I know what’s more fun: watching Pedro Strop run down from the bullpen to shadow Kris Bryant with an exaggerated trot as the rookie hero tosses his helmet into the air. Remember how we played around as kids? That’s what these guys are doing as grown men, and I love it.

When you see the video of Kris Bryant talking about his big home run and how the Cubs are playing, you see him smiling the whole time and you can’t help but smile right along. I’m not necessarily looking forward to the late starts coming up, but I suppose that’s a necessary evil. I guess one advantage of being a grown-up is that I can stay up past my bedtime whenever I want to these days.

And the advantage of being a Cubs fan right now is that I do want to stay up late to watch them.

Back to top button