Some people have said that I don't care about the Cubs winning because I love Wrigley Field and its history, and the assumption is that I love that more than I love winning.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I live and die with this team, and mostly die, of course, in seasons like this.
This post isn't going to be about the Cubs and whether or not they should have a new manager and who it should be, or who they should trade by July 31. Those are important, absolutely. But they are topics for other posts and other diaries and other days.
Today, I read this terrific piece by Jayson Stark, in which he reminds all of us -- much as I did myself a year ago with the "Why Are We Here?" post (and if you haven't posted your own story there, you should) -- why we all love this game so much and its history and lore.
Yes, winning is important. Winning is what we all want. The Cubs haven't won, and we all know that. But there are other things about baseball that you and your children can enjoy. Be a child again, as Stark wrote; he was referring specifically to the last day of Tiger Stadium in 1999, but the theme is universal:
You don't notice that torch being passed. But then one day, that torch is flickering in front of your eyes, reminding you that what you just witnessed hadn't happened since April 23, 1936, when Goose Goslin did it.
Which is when you turn to your grandfather and ask: "Who was Goose Goslin?" And he knows everything about him worth knowing. Still.
Somehow, that explains why these places where baseball is played aren't mere stadiums. They're national historic landmarks.
They bring our memories back to life. They bring our grandfathers back to life. They connect these games and these players to the plot lines of our own lives.
Maybe that explains why we care so much. Why we care about these games. Why we care about these players. Why we care about these places where all they do is play baseball in front of our eyes.
My dad took me to my first baseball game when I was not quite seven, in the summer of 1963. It sparked a lifelong love affair with the game and with the Cubs. Eleven years later, in 1974, I took my grandfather to a game at Wrigley Field; he had always followed baseball and the Cubs, though not as passionately as I have. He told me then that he hadn't attended a game in person since he lived in New York, at Ebbets Field in 1933. I think that game together meant a lot to him; I know it did to me. I have passed the love of the game and the Cubs to my own son in the very same place I had it passed down to me.
That's why Wrigley Field is important. And that ought to tell you why Wrigley Field isn't the reason the Cubs haven't won.
Get good players and good people behind them. That's what'll win. It really is as simple as that. And WHEN the Cubs win -- in Wrigley Field -- generations of men and women who have passed the game down through their families, will smile and cheer, knowing they have a common thread connecting the generations.