This is the year
The Cubs party last week was a huge success.
About 25 guests including my baby brother Bob and oldest brother Bruce, who flew from L.A. to get there, were on hand as we started a replay of Game 7 of the World Series. Rob (aka Gonzo) and Jerry Decker (the Decker of the Fleck and Decker drinking team with a stock car racing problem) were also on hand.
When Dexter Fowler hit his leadoff home run and we all cheered.
By the fifth inning we were 60 strong and moaning as manager Joe Maddon pulled starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks for Jon Lester. The crowd roared as one in delight however when veteran catcher David Ross smacked a dinger off the heretofore unhittable Andrew Miller.
In the bottom of the seventh, I led the crowd in a fearless version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
It’s always been one of my favorite songs. I like the sentiment of let’s go to a game, snack, and forget our worries while we cheer for the Cubs. And it is a song. In fact The National Endowment for the Arts, among others, voted it one of the top 365 Songs of the Century.
Its origins date back more than 100 years when a 30-year-old vaudeville singer/songwriter named Jack Norworth was inspired to write the ditty while riding a New York subway, even though he’d never actually been to a game.
It was 1908, and the Times Square ball dropped for the first to time to usher in the year. Popular incumbent president Theodore Roosevelt ended his second term that year, honoring a promise to the Republican Party not to seek a third stint. He convinced the same party in a backroom deal, however, to nominate his good friend William Howard Taft. His opponent was William Jennings Bryan, an extremely popular Democrat, especially with the more liberal and populist elements of the party. He’d run for the office twice before. Despite a vigorous campaign against the nation’s business elite, Bryan suffered his third loss. Taft won by a comfortable margin in the Electoral College, getting 321 votes to Bryan’s 162. The popular vote was much different, however, and Taft only got 51.6 percent.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Anyway, Norworth saw a poster promoting baseball and wrote the now unofficial anthem of American baseball. He’d go on to write many popular tunes, including “Shine On Harvest Moon,” and actually attend a game, at the age of 62.
During the rain delay, Solon Economist publisher Doug Lindner helped distract the restless crowd with a trivia quiz. And then we all sat on the edge of our seats as Cleveland scored a run in the bottom of the 10th to pull within one run but celebrated with pure jubilation as Kris Bryant tossed to Anthony Rizzo for the last out.
From there, consummate local blues musician Kevin “BF” Burt led the charge with “Go, Cubs Go!”
Sabra and I danced together for the first time in awhile, and we even broke out our signature swing move involving intricate turns and dangerous elbows. It’s quite the feat that has taken years of practice and at least one black eye to master.
Over the course of the evening, about a hundred people came and went. It was really great to see some old friends that I hadn’t seen in a decade or more. It was also great to meet some new people, lifelong Cub fans that came to rejoice one more time. I really appreciate everyone coming and I just want to say one thing more.
This is the year, again.