Route 66 #1

Route 66 #1
Route 66 Museum

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Chicago Cubs & Route 66: America's Team and Americas Road

Admittedly neither the Cubs Wrigley Field, the White Sox US Cellular Field or the Bears Soldier Field are on Route 66, although the latter is pretty darn close. Chicago is and has been for a long time known as a big sports town, and that is an absolute truth. Not only are Chicagoan's sports lovers, but they are known for their team loyalty, and downright bleed their teams colors.

No case is this more true then with the Chicago Cubs, who on the night of Wednesday November 2, 2016 clinched their first World Series win in 108 years. This 108 year ultimate title drought, is the longest any major sports team (and I mean in any sport) has gone between major victories, and in essence has become part of the enduring nature of who the Chicago Cubs are, and what it means to be a true fan, and bleed "Cubby Blue". To actually win the World Series, and break that 108 year stalemate is simultaneously a victory of the soul and heart of the average Chicago sports fan, and cause to pause and reflect on finding new definition for ourselves in the world of major sports.

You see coming up against the Cleveland Indians in this World Series, I myself was given food for thought on what a Cubs victory would mean, as well as what I had as a Chicago sports fan. You see until June of 2016 with the Cleveland Cavilers NBA Championship, Cleveland hadn't won any major sports victories since the Browns won the Super Bowl in 1964. This fact made me take stock of my Chicago sports fandom, as I began to realize that in the past 30 years we here in Chicago haven't actually had it that bad. My way of looking at it is that the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series win is a culmination of a 30 year cycle in Chicago sports championships, one that started with the Bears winning the Super Bowl in early 1986. In this 30 year period every one of our major sports teams has claimed at least one major championship. Five years after the Bear's Super Bowl victory the Chicago Bulls would claim the first of three NBA championships between 1991 and 1993, and would repeat their "three-peat" title runs again between 1996 and 1998, making the Chicago Bulls one of the greatest teams in NBA history. Seven years later in 2005 the Chicago White Sox, who nearly rivaled the Cubs in time since World Series wins, would claim their first World Series win since 1917. Only five years after that the Chicago Blackhawks would start their near dynastic playoff runs claiming the NHL's famed Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013, and 2015 with things looking good for 2017 as well. You see even though it's been 108 since the Cubs last World Series victory we definitely have not had a 52 year dry spell between major sports wins here in Chicago.

If your not a Chicagoan then your next question probably is; how do the Chicago Cubs play into the psyche of the average Chicago sports fan and their outlook on major sports? To be honest I have no idea why the Cubs represent the heart and soul of the average Chicago sports fan. The Cubs are, and always have been a very special baseball team, perhaps because there is something lovable and identifiable about being the under-dog. I think that's really the true spirit of it all, and in a way why the team itself is identifiable to many outside of Chicago earning the name "Americas Team".

As Spring training has kicked off this year many of us are keeping our fingers crossed that the Cub's repeat their World Series run, and perhaps change that 108 year drought into small dynasty building on last years win. As to whether or not my, or the hearts of many other Chicagoans can take it again, I don't know, but what I do know is I will be wishing them luck in 2017.

If your heading to Chicago for a Route 66 trip keep in mind that Cub's tickets are at a premium now, and you want to buy them as soon as possible to get decent seating. Please also keep in mind seats are going for a lot more than they use to as well, and even a few years ago seats weren't cheap to begin with. Last but not least Wrigley Field is actually pretty far North about 7 miles, of where Route 66 begins in Chicago's downtown however, if your staying downtown there are many public and even private transportation options for getting to Wrigley Field, and trust me ditching the car to travel down there is actually a pretty good idea since parking is at a premium.