Growing up playing baseball I was always told, “There is no crying in baseball.” If I got hit by a pitch, rub some dirt on it. If i lost, get over it. If I dove into the left field wall, next time recognize the warning track. I never knew why people said there was no crying in baseball until I saw Penny Marshall’s 1992 hit, A League of Their Own about ladies playing major league baseball while their husbands were off at war. Tom Hanks had a line that became famous the instant it hit theaters. After a girl made a bad play Tom Hanks did what any manager would do and yelled at the girl for messing up. She began to cry and then he said the most famous line in the movie, “Are you crying?! There’s no crying in baseball!”
But I’m writing this post to respectfully disagree with my father, my past coaches, Tom Hanks, and anybody else who thinks that there is no place for crying in the game of baseball.
Last night during the atrocity Fox called a Super bowl halftime show, I was skimming the channels looking for something to forgive my eyes and ears for what they had just seen. I came across ESPN’s renowned series of documentaries 30 for 30. If you have never seen one of these sports documentaries I suggest you watch one, or all of them. I have seen 12 of the 16 that were made and have not been disappointed once.
For those who don’t know, back in 2004 the Boston Red Sox broke an 86 year world series drought and the curse of the Bambino. It was not that the Red Sox won the World Series, it was the fashion in which they chose to get there. In game 4 of the ALCS the Red Sox were on their death bed clinging to life support when 86 years of bad breaks and bad luck was finally washed away. The Sox were down 3-0 in a best of 7 series against their hated rivals, the New York Yankees. Nobody in the history of baseball had ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit to win.The Sox were down 1 run in the bottom of the 9th inning and Mariano Rivera had come into the game. The second Rivera left the bullpen the people of Boston had a shiver run up their spine as they knew that the end was near. Rivera will go down as the best closer in the history of the game because he never lost, ESPECIALLY to the Boston Red Sox. Here is a little 4 minute segment of the 30 for 30 documentary titled 4 Days in October. The walk to Kevin Millar kept the series alive.
The Sox ended up scoring the game tying run in the bottom of the 9th and won by a walk off hits from David Ortiz in games 4 and 5. The Red Sox then beat the Yankees in the Cathedral of Yankee Stadium in games 6 and 7 to close the book on the best sports comeback of all time, the biggest choke job of all time, and the best sports story since Hoosiers.
Throughout this movie there was multiple times I got choked up with how the story played out. Hearing all these people had been through, 86 years of failure, for this one great moment. Pastors and priests who never asked God for anything that dealt with sports begged him for this one moment. Grown men on their knees outside Fenway Park as the Sox beat the Yankees in game 7. The movie also showed multiple elderly people, who had been with the Sox for all 86 years of failure, rejoicing saying, “Now I can finally rest in peace.”As a true baseball fan I couldn’t help but let that get to me. The only other time baseball has gotten to me like that was in the 1999 film, For The Love of The Game as Vin Scully called Billy Chappel’s 9th inning.
I saw an entire city rally around a team who never gave the city anything but broken hearts and the city forgave that team for the 86 years of agony. The Red Sox were like a cheating boyfriend and the city of Boston was the stupid girlfriend who always took them back.
I wrote this story not because I am a Red Sox fan, nor did I write this story to show that I am a wimp and should be chastised for crying over a sport. I wrote this story because I am one of the biggest Cubs fans that I know and unfortunately being a Cubs fan has made me age a little faster. laying in bed last night I was giddy with excitement at the thought that one day that movie would be the city of Chicago and the fans of the Cubs. When the Cubs win the World Series I will forgive them for the times they have wronged me in 1998, 2003, and ’08. I will forgive them for all the miserable rides home after a loss. I will even forgive them for putting my grandpa through the ’69 and ’84 seasons. If the Cubs could win a World Series, just one, I would be content for the rest of my life. Seeing a city embrace a team who has wronged them for over a century would be enough for me to be a happy man for the rest of my days. Throughout the movie 4 Nights in October a common question was asked by Red Sox nation. “Why not us?” I seem to wonder the same with the Cubs, Why not us? What have we done to deserve this pain? Gary Smith said it best in his 2008 Sports Illustrated. “If the Cubs win it all I will cry like a baby and laugh like a hyena for a week.”
Sometimes I wonder why I chose to love teams like the Cubs and Purdue who never seem to win. I think about it though and I like being the eternal underdog. I love never having any expectations. With no expectations there is no disappointment. Call me crazy but I would trade 1 Purdue National Title for the 5 that IU has any day of the week. As would I trade 27 World Series titles for that 1 opportunity to see something done that hasn’t happened in over 100 years.
Like all Cubs fans will say, next year is here and who knows what we are going to get. Pitchers and catchers report to training camp in less than a month and it is almost time to dig out old hats and jerseys. The ivy will turn green and the W flag will fly. The organ will shower Wrigleyville with elegant tunes and the Cubs will once again try to close this chapter in the history books and start a new one. Please hurry though, my Grandpa doesn’t have many “next year’s” left.
Follow me on twitter(DT2332)