April Hope


April 1991: Pittsburgh

The bases were loaded, and Andre Dawson came up to bat in the top of the ninth.  The Cubs were down 3-0.  I rocked back and forth on the couch and watched anxiously as Dawson dug in. 

“Wouldn’t it be awsome if he hit a grand slam?” I mused aloud.  As soon as I said it, I realized I was falling into my typical routine of willing my woeful team to win. 

The very next pitch, Dawson hit the ball over the left field fence.  We exploded into celebratory high-fives (the Canseco-McGwire bash was uncool by this time I believe).  I felt prophetic.

Much to our dismay, however, the Cubs’ closer Dave Smith went on to blow the save in the bottom of the ninth. 

This game is one of my most vivid memories of being a Cubs fan, and it embodies much of my Cubs experience–a build up of tension and excitement often followed by the familiar scenario of blowing it in the end. 

One day, when I was watching the game at Paul’s house, the Cubs blew a ninth inning comeback opportunity.  The video feed cut away to blackness, yet the audio remained.  We could distinctly hear Steve Stone railing about the Cubs’ play that day.  “These damn Cubs!” 

But my Cubs experience hasn’t been all Bartman and blown opportunities.  There have been plenty of peaks to go along with the valleys.  Win or lose, I always enjoyed watching my favorite player, Ryne Sandberg, play.  I loved listening to Harry Caray.  One time I was watching the Cubs play the Cardinals in St. Louis, and coming back from a commercial, Harry said, “Here we are… back at Busch Memorial Hospital.”  Though he did have his miscues as a commentator, I loved his enthusiasm.  I got to see my first game at Wrigley in the early nineties.  The field was verdant and charged with excitement, and we sat on the first base line near Mark Grace.

The Cubs have given me plenty to cheer about in the past, and I’m sure that this year’s team will be no exception.  My favorite current players are Mark DeRosa, Ted Lilly, and Kerry Wood.  I enjoyed watching Jason Kendall last season, and I was disappointed that the Cubs let him go.  The current roster is strong, however, and they are on the cusp of a great season.

Go Cubs Go!



One Response

  1. I remember that Steve Stone remark. I think it was in the 1990 season. As immature 12 year olds, it was the highlight of our day, for sure. I’m also pretty sure we followed it up with a mean game of fast-pitch tennis ball-baseball in the Seaton grade school parking lot.

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