Children of the 70s, like myself, really are quite unique. We’re old enough to remember rabbit ear antennas, but young enough to understand technology (at least at the 30,000 foot level). We’ve seen the evolution from albums (a/k/a records) to 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs to WalkMans to MP3 players to just having a catalog of songs on your phone. A song is still a record to my mom, and I don’t correct her because I miss them a little too.
One of my favorite Christmas presents EVER was a tape recorder. The big, rectangular kind that held a cassette tape. Anyone remember? I loved that thing. I would sit in front of the TV and record the audio from The Dukes of Hazzard, and then I’d listen to the show again the next day. I’d jump up and pause the recording during commercial breaks, then start recording again when the show resumed. It’s how I developed my keen sense of when commercial breaks will be over, a sense that no one in my family trusts today, but it is still as strong as ever.
A couple of years after we moved in to my childhood home on Damon Circle, we “got” cable – all 3 channels of it. Through the wonder of that black coaxial cord, we received WWOR out of New York City, WTBS out of Atlanta, and WGN out of Chicago. WGN always confused me, because it only had three letters. I heard promos for The Space Giants on WTBS that shortened the call sign to just “TBS”, so could I shorten WGN to just “GN”? Always in search of efficiency, but wanting to do things right, I spent time considering this, but there was no Google and really no one to ask. The wonder just had to swirl around inside of my head so, Leah, the kids come about it honest. I slowly let it fade and it doesn’t bother me near as much as it used to, but I’d still like to know the answer.
Having WOR, TBS, and WGN meant that we could watch the Mets, Braves, and Cubs any time they were on TV. Since I was only 8 years old, I could control the TV in the afternoon when my mom was at work and my dad was asleep (he worked nights). Almost everyday, because Wrigley Field had no lights and games started around 1:30, I watched the Cubs play. Dave Kingman, Bill Buckner, Ivan de Jesus – those were my guys! I was a catcher when I was younger, so I watched Barry Foote setup and send signals to the pitcher. I wanted to launch balls in to space like Dave Kingman. I wanted to glide across the infield like Ivan de Jesus. I just wanted to be clutch like Bill Buckner. I wanted to lose a ball in the ivy of Wrigley Field and stand on second base while the fans cheered and hot dog wrappers swirled through the air of that old stadium. It seemed like nirvana to me. I’d watch the Cubs play while I got dressed for my own baseball practice or game. It was my ritual.
I kind of fell off the Cubs wagon as I grew older, but I’m not sure why. Dave Kingman moved to the Mets and, while I could have watched him on WWOR, I never acquired a taste for those blue and orange uniforms. Also, the Mets played at 6:00PM Central, which was the Pam Huff hour in our house. Then Kingman went to the Oakland Athletics, and even the magic of cable television couldn’t make their games come on before my bedtime. Billy Buck went to the Red Sox, and we all know how that ended.
Eventually the old guard left Chicago, and I grew older and just never really connected with Ryan Sandberg (I know, I know, save your hate mail) or Andre Dawson or Steve Stone. Plus, the Cubs couldn’t win a coin flip back then, let alone a 9 inning baseball game.
My mom went to Chicago once for work. I asked her to get me a Cubs batting helmet while she was there. This was before the internet, and before teams sold merchandise outside of their market, so you had to actually GO to Chicago to get Cubs gear – except, the Cubs were so bad that there wasn’t a market for their gear. “I asked where I could buy a helmet, but the guy told me that the Cubs are so bad, no one in Chicago claims them”, my mom told me. “NOT EVEN BILL BUCKNER?!?!” I exclaimed.
I don’t like bandwagon fans. I don’t, but I find myself pulling for the Cubs this postseason like my 8 year old self pulled to Kingman and Buckner. Maybe it is a comeback, or a homecoming. Either way, I hope you Cubs fans of the 90s through today will allow me to dust off my seat on the wagon.
The series goes back to Chicago for game 6 this Saturday.
Hey, Chicago, what do you say!!!
I intended to write about the third debate and the election this morning, but what an absolute dumpster fire. Jack and I watched a little of the debate this past Wednesday night during a commercial break in the baseball game. Jack said, “So, you can vote for a lady who is okay with pulling babies out of their mommas the day before they’re born, or a guy who wants to blow up the world? Those aren’t very good options. I bet a lot of people just don’t vote this year.”
Look, I will pray for whoever wins this election to be the greatest president this country has ever seen. I’ll pray for them to have strength and wisdom and the courage to walk in that wisdom, but wow, what a couple of options we have before us. Just wow.