My Cubs fandom can be traced back to memories with my dad

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was in the womb and first set eyes on Wrigley Field.

My first Chicago Cubs game? I was in my mother’s belly. At six months, I was already a die-hard Cubs fan. Don’t believe me? See here. I was hooked on the team. But my first actual time at Wrigley Field came when I was five or six.

Keith Moreland, Ryne Sandberg and Shawon Dunston were all in the lineup that day. Rick Sutcliffe was the man on the bump. No clue if he won or not. Like I said, I was five or six at the time. The popcorn and the peanuts and my lemon chill? That’s what I was into.

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I remember Moreland hit a home run and the Cubs won over the Atlanta Braves. If I remember correctly, it was June – but I’m not 100 percent sure. Still, I walked out with a perfect 1-0 record in the stands … that is, until I went to my second game. But that’s not important right now. I was so excited they won my first game at the Friendly Confines.

No lights on the field and a 1:20 PM start. The seats were maybe three-quarters full. Really, you can’t beat that as your first ballgame experience—an absolutely superb way to see a game.

I say this because my dad, Donald Frank Blazek, passed away on Dec. 6. He was 83 years old and was always the guy who took me to Cubs games – maybe 20 to 30 in all until he got older. He was a great man and I already miss him so much.

Donald, or Don, as he was known, was a Cubs fan wire-to-wire. In 2016, he was blessed with a World Series title – something he’d waited his whole life to see. In 2020, the North Siders finished in first place. The Marlins swept them in the postseason, but that’s neither here nor there. They finished first. That was about the time that he had more issues arise with his cancer.

Two forms of cancer, in fact, but he stayed busy until the end. I spoke to him a week before his passing, and it was a good conversation. I didn’t know it would be our final time speaking, but I’m thankful it was so great. We talked about the Cubs and what they were going to do in the offseason. We said ‘I love you’ and hung up. That was the last time I talked to him. Saying ‘I love you’? As much as we loved talking baseball, that’s what meant the most to me – and always will.

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Don was a great man as an individual and he was a great father to me. We will see you again soon, pops. Rest in peace.