Chicago Cubs: This club is more than just a team, they are our family


Year in and year out, we all gather around wearing t-shirts, jersey’s, sweaters, and hats that display the same logo we’ve all grown up to admire and adore. And come spring, it was time for the Chicago Cubs to get back to work.

As a child, I remember running through my Grandpa and Grandma Miniel’s house on Flock Ave in Rock Falls, Illinois. A city that was joined by two bridges, connecting to Sterling, Illinois – the place where I was born and raised.

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In an area that was divided between the Cardinals, White Sox, and of course, the Cubs during the baseball season, it was rare for you to get through your day without having to hear those typical comments about how your team ‘sucks’ and it’s been ‘so many years’ since they’ve won it all.

I’m sure my Grandfather heard this quite a bit, but I’m sure it didn’t phase him. When visiting my Father during the summer, before my brother John and I moved in, our Grandpa, Manuel, would wake up early in the morning, have his morning coffee while reading the newspaper and eating a banana or apple.

Us kids, which at the time consisted of my little brother John, our cousins Marieo, Fabian, and Jehovia (just a baby) got up and did what most children would do during the summer.

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We’d either go outside and play or turn the house into our own little playground if we weren’t busy playing Pokemon on our GameBoys. But as soon as it was time for WGN to begin airing Chicago Cubs baseball, the volume on the television went up and were given two options.

Either play inside the house quietly or go outside and do our thing.

Our Grandfather had a recliner next to this giant picture window that was to his right. It looked out to the entire front yard and from time to time he’d turn his attention from the broadcast to see what we were up too.

To make a long story short, I was the only grandkid who would stop running in and out of the house only to sit and watch the game with him. Not to take anything away from my other cousin’s who visited from time-to-time. Asking him questions about the game and cheer with him when necessary.

I can still hear him shouting, ‘Atta boy!’ or ‘How bout that!’ with a biggest smile on his face when someone either made a huge defensive play, hit a home run or when the Cubs won.

Most of the time during the evening hours, my Grandpa would put on his pajamas and head to my Father’s room to play solitaire on the computer. Meanwhile, I’d be on the Playstation playing a baseball game in the same room.

To make a long story short, I was the only grandkid who would stop running in and out of the house only to sit and watch the game with him

The last one he’d watch me play was MLB 2000 and I would always use the Cubs. He would do a little bit of commentary while sitting in the computer chair behind me.

As time went on, my Grandfather began to get sick and weak. Which was weird seeing, because he was the toughest man, aside from my own father, that I had ever met.

Soon after, those days where you could find him sitting in his spot in the living room had come to an end and those days of him doing play-by-play behind me were over.

He passed away on Monday, March 27, 2000, at the age of 73. This is when this team became a member of my family.

Now that I’m a grown man, I’m trying to pass my love of the Chicago Cubs that I inherited from my Grandfather to my niece’s, nephew’s and one day my own children.

Watching these guys through tough times wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t awful at the same time. Only because a huge piece of my Grandfather would come back to me each year.

Both 2003 and 2008 were truly difficult times, but we washed our hands with those years and moved on. Now this year, watching this club glow and finally receiving the attention that they deserve, there’s something deep down that’s telling me that this year is the year the Chicago Cubs win it all.

Which brings us to the postseason. Words can’t describe the feelings that came over me when watching them take down the Pirates, then sending the Cardinals packing on our own turf.

Sitting on the phone with my Father who called me, waiting for Hector Rondon to record the final out of the game. Knowing this crowd would explode, all I could think about was that man who spent his spring and summer mornings getting ready for his Cubs to take the field.

And then this happened, on his birthday.

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