With Enrique “Kiké” Hernández striking out to kick off the ninth inning, the magnitude of the situation finally hit me – the Dodgers weren’t going to pull it off.
That sentiment was probably shared by many four innings prior when the Cubs had reached the 5-0 mark in the fifth. However, as an ever-optimistic sports fan, I was hoping for some miracle. It’s not like we haven’t seen one before.
A digression: I come from Hawaii, where we don’t have any professional sports team. It’s a unique environment to grow up in as a sports fan. The sports community consists of fans that worship seemingly random teams from all over the country.
For me, my maternal family members hail from the Bay Area – Giants, 49ers and “Dubs” fans. And my paternal family members – all of whom are from Hawaii except my Dad – Dodgers and Lakers fans.
Long story short, I started off as a San Fran fan but saw the light and defected to the South – Dodgers, Lakers and … Minnesota Vikings.
And after years of trudging through mediocrity, especially with the Dodgers and Vikings, I’ve dove too deep. As the Dodgers and Vikings have found recent success, and past success with the Lakers, I find myself disinterested with a sport’s final outcome once my teams have been eliminated from the playoffs.
If you were to ask me who won the World Series in 2000-whatever, there’s a good chance I may have not watched the final games. Even if I had, I have since forgotten who actually went all the way because none of those teams were named the Dodgers. The same can be said for any other sport I follow.
However, as Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz walked up to the plate two thoughts struck me.
The first was the fact that Aroldis Chapman, the fireballing closer whom the Dodgers had traded for at the beginning of the season, was now going to knock us out of it at the end.
The Dodgers passed on Chapman because of an alleged shooting and choking incident with his girlfriend.
The second occurred during Fox Sports’ fairly unique usage of its cameras. Instead of focusing solely on the game, as per usual, the crowd seemed to be the main point of interest. And among those present at Wrigley Field were a plethora of elderly fans.
With the last National League pennant coming 71 years ago for the Cubbies, there’s a good chance that these older fans have never seen their team make it to the World Series. And unless they’ve accomplished the incredible feat of living to 109 and older, they’ve never seen them win it all.
So in that moment, I actually started rooting for the Cubs a little. And by the time Yasiel Puig came up and out, I was cheering for them. (Note: I’m a Puig fan, not a hater.)
For someone who usually stops caring, I have begun to care.
As much as it leaves an ugly taste in my mouth, call me a bandwagon Cubs fan.
I had to wait a game to see if this questionable allegiance had actually formulated or was just a big feeling in a big moment. But watching the Cubs get blown out 6-0 in game one against Cleveland Indians was painful. Looks like I’m officially for the Cubs – at least until the end of the Fall Classic.
The curse is an incredibly cool aspect to baseball but after seeing all those old fans clutching their mitts and closing their eyes in prayer, it’s time for the curse to end and the Cubs to win the World Series.
And for a die-hard fan of a loser, I’ve finally found a reason to keep watching.