Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

There’s almost nothing like a Game 7 in the World Series

Oh. My. God.

Not only are the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, but they’re playing Game 7 of the World Series. Just when fans thought all was lost, they won Games 5 and 6 against the Cleveland Indians to force a Game 7.

True baseball fans love Game 7s. If nothing else, they stave off the boredom of winter for a least a few days. Who wants to watch a sweep except the victors? They’re boring for everyone else.

But Game 7 in the World Series? It’s like making love in slow motion. The post-season is weeks of build-up. The first six games of the World Series are filled with moments of drama and intensity. Game 7 is three hours of pure excitement. And that last out? If it goes in your favor, it’s a sense of relief and elation like no other.

And even if you lose Game 7, you know you put up a good fight.

There has only been 36 other Game 7s in World Series history.

The Cubs and Indians have played only one other Game 7, and they both lost. For the Cubs, it was in 1945, the last time they played in the Fall Classic, and they lost 9-3 to the Detroit Tigers. For the Indians, they lost 3-2 to the Marlins in 1997; it was the Indians’ last appearance in the Series, too.

That means one team will not only win the World Series tonight, they will vanquish their Game 7 sorrows.

Of the 37 Game 7s including tonight’s, 18 have occurred in my lifetime. Four of them go down in my memory banks as mind-blowing.

  • 1987: No Twins fan worth her salt would ever forget this one. I was a college student at the time, and there’s no better excuse to skip class than to watch the games at a downtown bar the night before get a little tipsy. It was the first World Series Championship for the Twins when the Twinkies beat the Cardinals 4-2 in Game 7.
  • 1991: Easily one of the best baseball games in history, the Twins beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in 10 innings when Jack Morris went the distance. Now, in an era of pitcher specialists — long relievers and middle relievers and closers — Morris’ accomplishment is a feat we probably won’t see again. I was living in Ohio at the time so I enjoyed having the right to gloat among Cincinnati Reds fans.
  • 1997: I watched this game with great interest, but I wasn’t rooting for the Indians then either. I spent the entire series on a road trip using up vacation time before taking a new job, and I watched every game over a plate of nachos in a different bar. It was an awesome way to make vacation last longer. And it was the Marlins first championship, so it was particularly sweet.
  • 2001: I was a fan of the Big Unit (pitcher Randy Johnson) when he played for the Seattle Mariners and manager Lou Pinella so therefore I was a fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks when he was traded there. To watch pitcher Curt Shilling with his bloody heal start his third game of the series and then to watch Johnson, normally a starter, come in as a reliever — wow! The best part was watching Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera melt down. I still hate the New York Yankees. So this game was pure joy.

I’ve got to believe tonight’s game will be similarly memorable. If it’s not already obvious, I’m rooting for the Chicago Cubs because a) I live in Illinois, and b) I’m a Twins fan so rooting for the Chicago White Sox is out of the question; rooting for the Cleveland Indians — who play in the same division as the Twins — is similarly loathsome.

I’m still a little bit afraid of what might happen if the Chicago Cubs win a World Series, which hasn’t happened in 108 years. Seriously, it’s gotta be a sign of the apocolypse. But still … it would be fun if zombies don’t show up.

Go Cubbies!

Why I love Lou Pinella

This is a sweet, sweet time of year if you’re a baseball fan. Pitchers and catchers start reporting to spring training in February, and that means the Major League Baseball season isn’t too far away.

When there’s snow on the ground and the temps are in the 20s, there’s nothing like dreams of green outfields and warm breezes wafting the aromas of hot dogs and popcorn. It’s glorious.

Pitchers and catchers for the Minnesota Twins, my patron MLB team, reported to camp today. Catcher Joe Mauer is recovering from kidney surgery and Boof Bonser is a question mark in a relief pitching role, but the questions just make spring training all the more exciting. Can’t wait to see what happens.

Ironically, I love baseball, not because of the Twins, but because of Lou Pinella, who is now the manager of the Chicago Cubs, my second favorite MLB team.

Sweet Lou was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 when I became a reporter for the Middletown Journal newspaper in Ohio. I was dirt poor — my annual salary was $13,000, and my new husband at the time was a graduate assistant earning enough to pay his tuition and not much more. So I drove a 1980 Chevy Chevette with bald tires and an AM-only radio. During my 35-minute commute to work every morning, Sweet Lou Pinella was on WLW radio explaining last night’s feats or mistakes. And when I drove home in the evenings, all I could tune in was Cincinnati Reds baseball games.

I watched with amusement and joy as Lou led the Cincinnati Reds to a World Series championship. He was in his first year as the Reds manager, and he could do no wrong. Then, the next year, I watched with amusement and repulsion as rabid Cincinnati Reds fans read Lou the riot act for every mistake the team made. How quickly they forget! The Minnesota Twins won the World Series in 1991, so I didn’t care if Cincinnati won or lost. Then next year, erratic Reds owner Marge Schott showed Lou the door, and I watched his new team, the Seattle Mariners, with great interest. In 2001, he led the Mariners to a major-league record 116 wins.

Then, he managed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and I hoped he could help that young, weakly financed team find success, but alas, no.

He came to the Chicago Cubs in 2007, the same year I moved to Illinois. Oh, joy! Oh, bliss! I could cheer on Sweet-Lou-with-the-firey-management-style, from nearby! Things looked very bad at the beginning of that season, but Lou turned them around. And he was magic last season, too.

Lou Pinella hasn’t been able to lift the 100-year-old curse from the Cubs to bring them to a World Series victory, but if there’s anyone who can do it, it’s Sweet Lou.

I love Lou Pinella. And I love the Minnesota Twins because, like Lou, they have a personality and a fire that isn’t driven entirely by ratings and outrageous paychecks. And I love Major League Baseball because there’s no better way to spend a Saturday than listening to a game on the radio while you doze in the sunshine.

Since I moved to Illinois, I can watch the Twins only when they play the dreaded Chicago White Sox or when they play a featured team on the occasional ESPN-aired game. So I was getting my baseball fix with Sweet Lou and the Cubs. But, my love bought me a portable XM radio system for my birthday in December so now I can listen to the Minnesota Twins every day! And I will catch up with Sweet Lou when the rabid Chicago sportswriters pick apart his every move every morning in the newspaper.

Oh, joy!