I asked Jenny to make me three cards. Two were for dispatch and one was for the night superintendent. I wanted to show them a little gratitude for their work. She has a cards and crafts business and has gotten really good at making them.
One of the first days that I worked at Steven’s Tanker, I saw Mike at the dispatch window with a Cubs shirt on. It was quite the oddity since we were right in the heart of Texas. I let him know that my family and I were all Chicago Cubs fans. I wanted his card to have a baseball theme to it. Not knowing much about the other two, I just asked Jenny to go with a Halloween theme. In Mike’s card, I ended with, “PS: May the Cubs Win.” I wish I would have ended it there, but I added in parenthesis (next year). I didn’t know it was still baseball season. I’m not at all into sports. I found out the next day that the Cubs had made it to the playoffs. How I wished I could go back and erase that last little phrase. Now it seemed like it could have been an insult when it was intended to be a little humorous.
The last time I remember watching a baseball game was when the Cubs were in the playoffs in 2003. I remember the disappointment I felt when they lost. I never was into sports even before that either, but since our family and I were Cubs fans, I would pay attention if they got far. Even though the Cubs where in the playoffs this time, however, I still didn’t make time to watch them. I came into work a few days later and couldn’t wait to bring it up to Mike. I got to the dispatch window and exclaimed, “Hey, the Cubs made it to the playoffs this year! How about that?”
“I don’t know, I’m too busy to pay attention to that,” he replied as he shut the window and answered the phone. It wasn’t unlike him to act like that during shift change. He was always overwhelmed and sounded like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown; answering phone calls, clicking on the computer and handing out keys to drivers through the window. I felt bad. I wanted to tell him my regret for the last phrase, but maybe I would have a chance later.
Then the Cubs made it into the world series. I still wasn’t watching any games. I don’t have cable or satellite. I was still keeping track the best I could. I would have to watch the final game if at all possible. It came on a Wednesday night. I have Wednesday nights off, but we have church. It was the final service of a Revival. Our family may be Cubs fans, but more than that, we are church goers; even for the final game of an historical World Series. My father and my brother are pastors. We all went to church at separate churches, in separate States, but we were all following the same game right afterward.
My dad went to our grandpa’s house, my brother Sam was at his church’s parsonage and I eventually ended up at my house. After the service, Jenny and I went shopping for groceries. I tried to find the game on the radio but couldn’t. Jenny suggested it might be on in the restaurant at HEB. She was right. There were two large TV’s. I sat by one of them and watched with anticipation. The Cubs were comfortably up 6 to 3 at the top of the eighth inning. I took a selfie and posted it on Facebook. It looked like the Cubs had what John C. Maxwell calls “big Moe” on their side. He says this in reference to momentum. Then, at the bottom of the eighth, the Indians scored three to tie the game. I was so disgusted, I said, “I’ve seen enough” and left the restaurant to find Jenny. It was just like the Cubs to allow defeat to be snatched away from the jaws of victory. I would never forgive them if they lost this game. I was so emotionally disturbed, I couldn’t think. Jenny tried to get my mind off of the game by chatting about which of what to buy. It didn’t work. I couldn’t think about anything else. This game occupied every cell of my brain.
We checked out and went home. I kept up with the game the only way I could. I downloaded an app and watched the numbers as they updated. I couldn’t get steaming unless I had a subscription so I had the next best thing: the score, picture representations of the batters, and the number of balls, strikes, and outs. I watched intently as each play was updated. I’d switch to Facebook to see what my friends were posting then return to the baseball app.
As exciting as this game was, it was about to get even more exciting. This World Series game was tied at the bottom of the ninth and continued to a tenth inning. As most of you probably know, that’s a rare thing in baseball. According to http://www.hardballtimes.com/beyond-the-ninth-inning/ there is little more than a 9% chance that a game will go into an extra innings. That’s not as rare as I thought it would be.
When I switched back to Facebook again, I saw a post by Sam that said, “Say what?”
I thought, “What is he talking about? Did someone score or what?” I called him up. He informed me that the tarp was being put out because of the rain. Wow! What suspense! I told him, “Well, no matter what happens; at least it was an unforgettable game anyway.” I told Sam I wanted to call either dad or grandpa. They were at the same place anyway, but Sam suggested I call dad because grandpa’s phone was in the other room so he’d have to leave the TV to talk to me. So I called my dad. I figured since the game was on hold, I could share in the excitement over the phone. My grandpa Vic answered the phone. “Oh hey Grandpa” I greeted, with a little surprise in my voice.
“Your dad’s making some coffee so he gave me the phone.” He explained.
“Some game this is hu?” I started.
“Oh, ya” Grandpa replied in a voice only grandpa has.
After some small talk, I talked to my dad. “I don’t like these odds,” I told him. The Indians would get the last inning no matter what.
“We’ll just have to see what happens… Hey scooter, they’re taking the tarps off the field so I’m gonna have to let you go so I can get my head back into the game.” dad continued.
“Sure dad, talk to you later” I replied. Dad began calling me scooter after Scooter Libby was in the news for an indictment by a Federal Grand Jury. It was a play on my first name. There’s nothing like getting a nickname because of someone else’s mistakes.
I sat back down on the couch next to Jenny as I watch intently for the updates to come on my phone. She was watching some of her YouTube shows. The virtual representation of a batter appeared and the game was back in play. The Cubs went onto score two more runs and then loaded the bases. With only one out, it looked like a grand slam was very possible. I checked Facebook again and saw that Sam posted, “Bases loaded and yes, I’d like to supersize that.”
“Well said,” I thought as I pushed the like button on the post. I returned to the baseball app and watched as the batters tried so hard to make that grand slam happen, but those outs came instead.
Now all we had to do was keep the other team from scoring. It was all defense now. My couch has plenty of room, but I’m sure I was only using the edge.
There it was. Confirmation of our collective hopes and dreams. Facebook proliferated posts of congratulations. I called Sam first. “THIS IS THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE!” I exaggerated with a raised dramatized voice. I then called my Dad.
“You know, I knew the Cubs where going to win when you said, ‘I don’t like the odds.'” he shared with excitement. Then grandpa had something to share.
“My grandpa Nutter told me I would see the Cubs Win the World Series in my lifetime.” Grandpa Vic told me. Grandpa Vic had been at the 1945 World Series when the Cubs lost to the Detroit Tigers. He must have been in his twenties then. It had been thirty-seven years since the Cubs won the World Series. Back then it would surely seem very likely that the Cubs would win during his lifetime, but as Grandpa Vic is approaching a ripe age of ninety, those odds were closing in. As we have seen this once in a lifetime (and a half) event come to pass, it looks much more like a prophecy come true.
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