10/07/2003 8:19 PM ET
What if the Cubs win it all?
Fans answer the question before the NLCS
CHICAGO -- Maryann Frieling is older than she wanted to say and younger than she ever thought she would feel. Walking inside the main gates tonight at Wrigley Field, she was asked the question that is on everyone's mind as the National League Championship Series against Florida gets under way: "What if the Cubs win it all?"
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
"I'd be worn out because I'd think I was playing the game myself," she said. "I've been watching the Cubs since Andy Pafko wore number 48. And I probably wouldn't live to see this happen again."
The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908. Would it change your very existence if the Cubs went all the way? How would you celebrate? Would you feel like every other fan if there is no longer a need to wait'll next year? What would be your version of the apocalypse? If our dear Marlin friends will please excuse the ruckus, the scene of long-suffering masses flowing into the Friendly Confines simply begged that simple question: What if?
"Life isn't gonna change because of a baseball game, but it would be great for the city," said Dennis O'Keefe, an MLB.com user when he isn't a Dusty Trustee. "I've been waiting 56 years for this. I went to my first game to see Hank Sauer. You know, even if we do win it, I don't think I'd change. Cub fans are funny people. They keep coming back. If they lose four in a row, they come back."
Ted Kauf lives near Wrigley, and he described what could happen: "It's not going to be pretty. Everything's just gonna go nuts. We're season-ticket holders, and when the Cubs won in Atlanta, I had to put my girls to bed and just cry on the couch. I told my buddies at work today -- and they're all (White) Sox fans -- that if we win it all, whenever we have that conversation again, it will always end with 'Whatever!'"
Rachael Siegel: "I'll probably have a heart attack. I'm 26 and I will absolutely fall over." Then she held up her "Squish the Fish" sign and headed for her seat, happy to be a newlywed and probably even happier to be here.
Right beneath the big Ron Santo sign on the main concourse of the main gate, Mark Reiner hawked Game 1 programs with this boisterous sales pitch: "Hey, it's been 95 years in the making!" MLB.com asked him what in the world he would say a year from now if the Cubs are no longer waiting. "Then we gotta come up with a new angle," he said, laughing. "Next year we say, 'Two in a row!' Like the Bulls."
Speaking of the Bulls, more than a few Cubs faithful made a point of predicting that a hypothetical Chicago celebration would be more restrained than you'd think. "It would be a fun few hours, very energetic but non-destructive," said Matt Dunn, holding infant daughter Bridgette as she attended what already is her 27th Cub game. "The city has been planning for it. They're used to the Bulls."
Fred Dahlke said he would spend more than a "few hours" celebrating. "I'd come down here and party for a week," he said.
Gary Kloess added: "We'd just have a nice family celebration." Then he looked forward toward the tunnels leading to absolute heaven on earth and told his two buddies, "Well, this is a first -- Wrigley Field in October!"
"The world will end," said Laurie Guse of Rockford, Ill.
Her father, Tom Guse, added: "When Jesus went up in heaven, he said, 'Don't do anything till I get back from the Cubs game.'"
Chris Romy and Ala Haynes arrived together and said what the Cubs already have done -- winning their first postseason series of any kind since 1908 -- should be inspirational to everyone no matter which team or sport you follow.
"It's about changing your mindset, knowing that nothing is impossible," Romy said. "You can do that, for yourself, for your family, as a nation. That's what being a Cub fan is all about."
Haynes added: "It teaches us that we can live in the joy."
"It's hard to imagine how excited the city of Chicago will be," Tory Ruder said. "It could get pretty interesting around our house as well. My fiancee (Peter Phillips) is a Red Sox fan. He saw them win and told me, 'Maybe I have to root for the Red Sox.' We lived in Boston for a while and now we're here. His first impulse was to cheer for the Cubs, but we would be just a little bit torn, especially if the Cubs and Red Sox meet."
Of course, many Cub fans would tell you that next year is already here. Consider the fan who walked in tonight with a sign that read:
CUBS IN OCT.
TEMP IN HELL = 32 °
Mark Newman is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.