Just One Before I Die ~ Excerpt

JustOneBeforeIDieRevzinx300pxI am a 64-year-old man wearing a T-shirt that says Just One Before I Die under a Chicago Cubs jersey bearing the name and number 10 of Ron Santo, a Hall of Fame third baseman who died in 2010. His successor, Kris Bryant, has just fielded a routine grounder and thrown the batter out at first, and I am sobbing uncontrollably.

The crowd on Clark Street stretching for blocks outside Wrigley Field has just seen the sign on the giant red Cubs marquee turn from an 8-7 scoreboard to the words “Cubs Win!” and later to “World Series Champions.” After an audible gasp, tens of thousands of people shout at once and begin jumping up and down and hugging their neighbors, generally strangers. The last time this public display of joy happened in Chicago was in 2008 when 250,000 people in Grant Park learned from a giant Wolf Blitzer on a giant TV screen that Barack Obama had been elected president. The last time the Cubs won the Series was 1908, pre-Wrigley (it opened in 1913), so well pre-marquee.

The noise is now deafening, a massive rumble punctuated by the odd “Yes!” and “Go Cubs!” and good-natured expletives. There’s a guy up a light pole swinging a giant white flag with a big blue W in the middle. There’s a huge cheer as the original of that flag is raised above the scoreboard at Wrigley, the traditional signal to the Wrigleyville neighborhood of a victory. This night it stands out against a cloudy sky, seemingly buoyed by an ocean of noise and tears. …

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