On Wednesday evening, we said good-bye to the 2015 Chicago Cubs, the latest we’ve ever bid the north-siders adieu in a calendar year, but that didn’t make things any easier for those who have suffered through elimination in ’84, ’89, ’98, ’03, ’07, and 2008. I felt bad for them, and then I made it about myself.
Poooooooooor Cub fans.
Poooooooooor Cleveland fans.
You know what though? It’s just a game, and while we love it, we shouldn’t lose sight of that fact. The players make a lot of money, and sports, in general, make money hand-over-fist. They do that because we pay to be entertained by the games. It’s a lot like the movies, except the joy and anguish we experience at the theater doesn’t stay with us for days, you know, the way the games do.
Back to the Future: Part II lied to us
You buying that? I sure as hell don’t subscribe. By now, I’m sure everyone is well aware that October 21, 2015 was the day the 1985 characters from the first installment of the Back to the Future franchise arrived 30 years into their future. I’m as aware as anyone, as I prepare to attend a theme party about 15 years in the making this Saturday. So, of course, we watched what Robert Zemeckis envisioned yesterday’s world would be like. We did so on digital media, a bonus of technology developed a few years back, from “Digital Copy” discs that accompanied our Blu-Ray box set of the trilogy.
The beginning of the movie is basically a series of jokes about what the next 30 years might have brought to the world, and how much of 1985 would be outdated by then. We didn’t quite make it to flying cars, dehydrated Pizza Hut, or Jaws 19, but we’re far beyond scenes in window screens, fax machines, and printed newspapers. And while, most Pepsi isn’t going to set you back $50, that Pepsi Perfect promises to fetch quite a bit more.
Today’s news was supposed to feature the beginning of the slamball playoffs, Queen Diana’s arrival in Washington DC, and the Cubs taking down a Miami baseball team to sweep the World Series. Well, Slamball is a real thing, the late Princess didn’t outlive her mother-in-law, and few months after Diana’s tragic death, not only was there a team in Miami, but they won it all. In fact, that Miami team has once the whole shebang twice, while the Cubs have a lot of years between them and their last World Championship in 1908.
The joke there was clearly about the contrasting viewpoints of people in the present tense of 2015 being intrigued by the Cubbies finally getting it done, to the point of congratulations somewhere in California, versus Marty’s amazement with the existence of a team in Miami. While Chicago wasn’t quite the 100-to-1 shot the movie said they were, they are a far cry from what they were when the 2014 season, and in a good way.
Instead of being pissed that it didn’t happen, fans should rejoice that they got to carry the storyline beyond the regular season and three rounds into the post-season. Remember, this was a third place team that sent the first and second place teams in their division to the golf course, while they got an honest crack at the Mets and were a step closer to the World Series than Pittsburgh or St. Louis.
Mark Grace was Taking Care of Business
We didn’t actually see the World Series in Hilldale, just the reporting of what happened in their fictional world. Twenty-five years ago, we actually put them on the field in Anaheim against the Angels. Mark Grace actually hit a home run that Jim Belushi broke out of prison to catch, and the most unreal thing about that premise was the Cubs playing the Angels in the Series. Down the road a few years, Gracie would hit a World Series bomb, in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, which his Diamondbacks would win in 7 games.
The Rookie of the Year bests the Mets
So, a kid breaks his arm, it heals, and the catches the eye of the Cubs brass when he throws a home run back at Wrigley. Preposterous? Perhaps, but no more unrealistic than the Cubs sweeping an American League team in Miami, right?
The Cubs rival in that flick was the Mets, and why? It’s because we were in the days before interleague play and there was no one exciting enough from the National League back then, so they went with New York’s JV squad. Of course, the kid loses the magic right before the big inning and manages to get it done anyhow. Kids movie send viewers home happy.
Actual Cubs make adults cry in their beer. We actually get to see Mr. Henry Rowengartner later in life, crying to his single high school friends about getting nothing more than head from Tara Reid. This is the adolescent sex-comedy equivalent to how Cleveland fans ultimately feel seeing the sorrow of Chicago fans.
We get it, the Cubs mean more to most of them than any other sport, if not thing, in the world. Still, I’m left to think about the last thirty years, which saw the Bears win a Super Bowl, the Bulls win six titles, and the Blackhawks take home three Stanley Cups, even if we disregard the White Sox winning the World Series in 2005.
At least we got the best of the sports movies.
A Major League Hit
I like a lot of sports movies, and I think there are a lot of good ones. Even the bad ones have their moments, but not the sequels to Major League. Remember The Titans, Hoosiers, Miracle, and BASEketball are among my favorites. Kevin Costner movies don’t do it for me, though Tin Cup has its moments. However, Major League is all the way there for with timeless adult humor and, of course, my Cleveland Indians.
There actually ended up being a lot of real life parallels from the 1989 flick. We ended up getting our speedy lead-off Willie Mays Hayes-type in Kenny Lofton, our beleaguered power-hitting outfielder in the form of Albert Joey Belle, and our ultimately unlikable third basemen in Jim Thome. Just imagine the graffiti clean-up on a Roger Dorn statue.
However, while the big screen gave the team that beat Miami, Jim Belushi, and Tara Reid’s sexually predatory high school boyfriend World Series wins, Cleveland still got shit on, with the sequel revealing that magic playoff clincher against the Yankees was followed up by an excruciating sweep at the hands of the White Sox. Screw you, Hollywood.
Your movies may lie to Cub fans, but you do a number in telling my hometown the truth. Cleveland can’t catch a break on either side of the camera.