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Cubs’ World Series win spurs baby boom; meaning of fandom

Some Cubs fans cried like babies in November when they finally saw their team win a World Series title.

Others made them.

I was reading a story last week and apparently some Cubs fans enjoyed some of the bubbly and became all lovey-dovey Nov. 2, when their beloved team knocked off the Indians in Game 7.

So last Wednesday [July 26] was exactly 38 weeks after Game 7 and an average pregnancy is 38 to 40 weeks. Boom! Goes the delivery room! Hospitals reported a spike in births and they’re attributing it to the Cubs winning the World Series.

This isn’t the first time this has happened and it certainly won’t be the last, but this one was particularly special since the drought was so long. A similar thing happened around this time 12 years ago after the Boston Red Sox finally ended their 85-year championship drought in 2004.

What’s going to be interesting to see is when these kids reach school age, especially in the Chicagoland area. Sophia, Emma, Aiden and Mason are likely to be replaced by Clark and Wrigley, Addison and Ivy and Theo and Aroldis. Well, perhaps not Aroldis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t a Ross or “3”, just without the title of “Grandpa” before it. Bryant and Lester also are decent options, I suppose, although I don’t think Rizzo is a wise choice as all I can think of is the Jerky Boys’ character Frank Rizzo and Betty Rizzo from “Grease,” who certainly isn’t the kind of person I’d want my daughter to become.

So I got to thinking about when my son Ryan was born on May 29, 1999.

We didn’t name him after Nolan Ryan, although I’ll admit that I’ll never tire of watching Nolan get Robin Ventura in a headlock and pound away. We chose the name Ryan simply because we liked it best.

Besides, I’m one of those despised Cardinals fans and looking back at their roster in 1999, I just don’t think Placido Polanco, Fernando Tatis or Heathcliff Slocumb would have been fitting names for our Ryan, although I’m sure there are now some 18- and 19-year-old McGwires getting ready for college this fall in Missouri.

Ryan was born in the middle of a Cubs-Cardinals three-game series. Since my wife grew up loving Harry Caray and the Cubs, she said it would only be fair for Ryan to be a fan of the team that won the series.

If that ended up being the case then Ryan would’ve been celebrating on Nov. 2. Instead, he last did that in 2011.

The Cubs swept the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, including a 4-3 victory on his actual birthday with Country Joe West calling balls and strikes.  

Ryan became a Cardinals fan. But, more importantly, he became a baseball fan. I’m just thrilled that he loves the game as much as I do.

I took some heat last year because I wanted some of my good friends and family, who are die-hard Cubs fans, to finally experience the same World Series joy I’ve witnessed three times in my lifetime with my favorite team. I honestly think that some sports fans actually hate their rivals more than they love their own team. That’s sad.

We just dealt with it last week when the Cubs took three of four against the White Sox. I tuned into sports radio and caller after caller complained about the other team. Why?

And then there’s Hawk Harrelson, who lit into Cubs hurler John Lackey after he hit Jose Abreu for the second time in the second game of the series and said, “That’s enough of that B.S. Let’s see which one of your boys is going to get drilled — or maybe you.”

Then, the next day, after he had plenty of time to cool off, Hawk decided to continue his tirade. Let’s just say that there won’t be any Cubs fans naming their son, “Hawk” unless their passion is falconry.

“I was hoping that they would drill his [expletive] big time because he’s an idiot,” Harrelson said. “At that point, the game was not the issue. It was Lackey. He’s in the pennant race. This is a big-boy game. There’s no bull [expletive] here. He’s putting [Kris] Bryant and [Anthony] Rizzo in jeopardy.”

Can’t we all just get along instead of being so hateful?

And I get it. There are great baseball fans, but there are some really bad ones too. When Jason Heyward elected to sign with the Cubs rather than the Cardinals, some idiotic Cards fans turned to social media and attacked Heyward. Sadly, some of it was racial, which made it even worse. I was embarrassed to be a Cardinals fan.

Imagine if you worked for Pepsi but Coke offered what youv believed was a better opportunity. Are you not going to take that other job? Some may not, but why knock someone for doing it?

I think I forget that fan is short for fanatic. For some who have such excessive, single-minded zeal for their team, they become overly consumed. They lose sight of the fact that this is a game, yet also a business, where players are making millions of dollars and enjoying a lifestyle most never come close to experiencing. They yell expletives from the bleachers, they holler at their TVs and they call sports talk shows to spit out their hate. Ugh. Can’t we make love like Cubs fans did, rather than have war against the White Sox?

I used to watch Cardinals-Mets games on WWOR in the mid-80s with my grandfather and I loathed those Mets teams. Wally Backman? Ugh. One night the Cardinals lost a tough one and as an immature teenager, I was overly and stupidly upset. Like one loss in May in a season of 162 games is going to ruin your season, right? And there I was being a baby. I don’t remember his exact words but my grandfather basically told me how you want your team to win and root for them, but don’t let it go beyond that.

For if I did, I’d be no better than those rubes I wrote about earlier.

Sugar Grove resident Chris Rollin Walker is a baseball umpire with an eye for strikes, balls, gerunds and participles. Contact him at

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