For some, even five days later, it still hasn’t sunk in. The Chicago Cubs are the World Series champions. I had the fortunate, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cover everything about this team’s magical run for Chicago Patch.
I was in Wrigleyville during Game 3 of the World Series, the first Fall Classic played at the North Side ballpark since 1945. I was also in the neighborhood - dead center at Clark and Addison - when the Cubs recorded the final out of the clinching Game 7 and in Grant Park during the parade and rally that totaled an estimated 5 million attendees. That’s good enough for seventh on the list of largest gatherings in human history and by far the largest ever in the United States.
As a lover of all things Chicago, it was an experience I’ll never forget. Interviewing the fans and taking photos and videos proved to be a fun experience. One I would have likely been a part of even if I wasn’t working at the time.
Our coverage at Patch started before the World Series. Our Chicago team had several Cubs-related feature stories, background information and editorials about the team.
We all found out just how special the Cubs are to so many people.
The Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908 was a big deal for Chicago, and I know Northwest Indiana had its good share of celebrations as well.
Being a loyal White Sox fan, serving a news person in the middle of this historic Cubs win was riddled with mixed emotions. I was thrilled for my city, yet still jealous that this wasn’t taking place on our side of town.
I’ve given Cubs fans plenty a hard time, participated in the back-and-forth banter. I will still point out it was the White Sox, not the Cubs, who broke the city’s 88-year World Series drought and did it in a sweep.
While there were far more people at the Cubs parade this year than the White Sox’ in 2005, the one 11 years ago had more brooms.
A regret I’ve always had is that I didn’t take part in the White Sox celebrations 11 years ago other than watching the games from home. I didn’t go to the parade, out to Bridgeport the night they won or was anywhere in the vicinity when they hosted their first World Series game in quite some time.
But for the Cubs? I was at the center of their universe during their most special moment.
City pride always comes before the crosstown rivalry rivalry for me. I was rooting for the Cubs. I also rooted for them in 1998, 2003 and 2015. I love Chicago, this is a Chicago championship, a Chicago championship in our nation’s pastime and one that has only happened here twice since 1917.
I also must admit, the most significant Chicago championship of all-time. It changed the world. The number one ongoing story in sports - the Cubs’ curse - is over.
I’ve always considered myself a news junkie and lover of all things Chicago. So baseball loyalties aside, it was an honor to be a part of the largest gathering in Chicago history, the biggest story in sports history and something that - albeit short lived due to other events that took place in the city that very weekend - united us all.
Some White Sox fans might not admit it, but most of us were rooting for the Cubs and felt a sense of joy for our friends and family members who have waited for this their entire lives.
In a city that is dealing with an ongoing race battle, violence in its neighborhoods everyday and the longtime existence of segregation, for one week we were all united.
I’ve always admitted that while I root for the White Sox, the Cubs are always the more juicy story. I knew they were an institution, but it wasn’t until covering this playoff run when I realized the depth of this fan-base.
Cubs fans are one of a kind. As the number of years grew without a championship, so did the team’s number of fans. It was almost like the more ways they found not to win a championship, their popularity would rise.
It’s the opposite of bandwagon/fair weather fan syndrome. And no team in any sport has the family stories associated with the Cubs. No one cried more tears of joy for any championship ever than when the Cubs won last week.
They are a magical team, and I’m proud they belong to Chicago.