I was born in 1991 (It was a cold and stormy nig… wait never mind).
Which means my baseball fandom really began in the early 2000s, when I was old enough to chose obsessions for myself. Fortunately, when it came to baseball, my family’s preference was no different than mine,
And like many Americans, the 1998 home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire was my first big dip into MLB. But, I was still only seven years old at the time, and my fandom hadn’t yet reached it’s obsessive, nerdy meniscus.
That, as it turns out, would come five years later in the 2003 postseason.
That postseason is known for a million different reasons – the Cubs blew a 3-1 NLCS lead over the Marlins, the Cubs and the Red Sox were both surprisingly in the postseason at the same time, and some guy named Steve Bartman was unfairly blamed for something he didn’t really cause.
But amid the flurry of terrible memories (which includes getting yelled at for throwing my hat at the family lamp and knocking it over at the conclusion of Game 6), lies the happy one of the following game-tying home run from then-Cubs’ ace and former Rookie of the Year, Kerry freakin’ Wood.
For me, nothing beats this moment:*
After losing a heartbreaking Game 6 at Wrigley Field (that was the Bartman game), the Cubs had their backs against the ropes in Game 7 of the NLCS. And, after allowing the Marlins to score three runs in the top of the first inning, well, let’s just say the momentum wasn’t favoring Chicago.
And then bam, the Cubs 26 year old starting pitcher, pitching in the biggest game of his life, hits a massive home run to tie things up. I remember the moment so clearly, the adrenaline must have left a mark on my brain. And to this day, I’m certain that was the moment I became a Cubs fan for life.
Of course, despite taking a 5-3 lead the very next inning, the Cubs ultimately blew the game, losing 9-6, and the rest, as they say, is history.
*Well, maybe one thing:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 3, 2016