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A very Merry Christmas for Chicago Cubs fans

By Paul Viau | Dec 07, 2016
Photo by: Barbara Singer AFTER 108 YEARS, IT FINALLY HAPPENED — Christmas came early for long-suffering Chicago Cubs fans, with the team's epic victory Nov. 2 in the 2016 World Series Game 7. Now all the Cubs merchandise is becoming happy Christmas gifts for die-hard Chicago fans across the country.

Original SNL cast member, Garrett Morris, who portrayed Hispanic baseball player and sportscaster, Chico Escuela, often said — “Beisbol’s been berry, berry good to me.”

Although my hands-on participation in baseball ended in junior high school, I had the good fortune early in my advertising career to work on both the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals baseball accounts.

For the Royals, I wrote and produced their radio commercials in the years leading up to their 1985 World Series victory.

Did you know? — The Royals’ color commentator at the stadium (and the man who did the voiceovers for the radio commercials) was none other than Rush Limbaugh. He had not yet become ‘radicalized’ at the time, but I do recall most of his political comments ended up somewhere in right field.

Later in life, not too long after my wife, Carol, and I moved to Miami, ‘The city with a rhythm all its own’ acquired ‘its own’ major league baseball franchise — The Florida Marlins. We were enthusiastic fans — especially Carol, who grew up in the Chicago area and was both a White Sox and Cubs fan.

Carol’s sister, Barbara — also a huge baseball fan and life-long Cubs fan — organized a Marlins’ season ticket syndicate and we bought a full share, giving us seats to eight games per season. Fast forward a few years to 1997, and the Marlins were in the chase for the pennant.

When they ‘clinched’ a spot in the world series, ‘the syndicate” bought tickets and we were fortunate to attend games one, two and six.

When the series went to game seven in Miami, naturally all of the syndicate members wanted the tickets. Carol’s sister Barbara orchestrated a creative, non-partial drawing — placing the names of all the syndicate members on an ottoman, and waiting for her cat, named Scratch, to knock off a ticket.

We always liked Scratch, and she responded in kind by eventually pawing our name to the floor.

We saw the Marlins defeat the Cleveland Indians in Game seven and win the World Series — from the 21st row behind home plate. It was sweet. Sweeter still, I had a contact who got us into the after-party celebration in the tent outside the stadium.

As I said earlier, “Beisbol’s been berry, berry good to me.”

But that was then, and my thoughts are now with the long-suffering Chicago Cubs fans who endured and amazing 108 years without a world series win.

There have been several signs that 108 years would end the Cubs’ drought.

Did you know? — There are 108 stitches in a baseball.

Did you know?  That baseball was designed by the Chicago Cubs first manager and ace pitcher A.G. Spalding, whose Chicago office was  located at 108 W. Madison Street.

Did you know? — Both the left and right field corners at Wrigley Field — are 108 meters from home plate.

Did you know? The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs have offices is Omaha, Nebraska — on 108th Street.

Did you know? — both movies showing the Cubs winning the World Series — ‘Taking care of business’ and ‘Back to the future Part 2 — are each 108 minutes long.

Did you know? In the title and first paragraph of this column, there are exactly — 108 words.

Did you know? Carol’s sister Barbara (you remember, the Florida Marlins syndicate leader) acquired tickets to game four of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field in Chicago, and paid dearly — way more than $108 — per inning.

Which brings me around to the cost of victory for the Cubs. Every Chicago Cubs fan I know has been spending money ‘lefty’ and ‘righty’ on world series memorabilia — balls, bats, shirts, hats, team photos and even pint glasses.

Yes, my son Josh bought Carol two Cubs World Series pint glasses for her birthday. Now, instead of ‘crying in our beer’ about ‘the Cubbies,’ we can lift a glass and toast them again and again — “Go, Cubs, Go.”

By the way, one long-time Cubs fan and friend, Alice Houck of Waynesville — in dollars-turned-baseball terms — is spending/batting about .400 on Cubs memorabilia gifts for friends and family, and about .200 on herself.

And oh yes, I forgot to mention that Carol’s uncle Stas, who lives in Las Vegas, always places a Christmas bet for each of his nieces. This year, Carol’s bet was ‘Cubs to win World Series.’

Her winning $5 bet paid — $108 — We wish! Carol’s actual payout was $32.50.

What are the odds of that?