The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets have a history and rivalry going back more than 50 years. Does it still exist?
I can remember my grandfather watching the Chicago Cubs battle the New York Mets in the 70’s and 80’s on WGN. He’d hoot and holler and slap the arm of his favorite “Cub-viewing” chair whenever the Cubs took advantage. With eyes glued to the television watching the game unfold, Grandpa would smoke his cigarettes and say “We can’t let them get the lead…” almost singing it.
“Why not Grandpa?” I asked one day.
“They’ll steal the game, the series, the pennant from us if we don’t pay attention,” he warned. Plumes of smoke trailed in the air from his cigarette like sky writing spelling ‘win’.
He was thinking about the 1969 Mets. That year, the Cubs lost 17 1/2 games in the last quarter of the season. Essentially, the Cubs gave up the pennant to the “Miracle Mets” as they were dubbed. The Mets went on to win the World Series that season.
“It’s always good when we beat the Mets,” he concluded, bringing it back to the present.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune captured the sentiment my grandfather was feeling that day.
"For fans of a certain age who grew up hating the Mets, the Cubs‘ visit to Citi Field this week is must-see TV, no matter their records. Memories of Ron Santo, Gil Hodges and the black cat are rekindled, along with the names of obscure players such as Don Young, Jimmy Qualls and Al Weis."