Jayne: World Series gives needed lift during election season

By Greg Jayne, Columbian Opinion Editor



Greg Jayne, Opinion page editor

With the election two days away, an election that will help determine the direction of the nation and the entire world while serving as a declaration of the United States’ values — in other words, a vitally important statement on behalf of all Americans — it is absolutely essential that we carefully, diligently, seriously assess the candidates and dispense with all frivolity before recognizing that the only reasonable choice is a vote for …

We interrupt this column to bring you a news alert: The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.

Wait. What? The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series? For the first time since 1908? In a scintillating Game 7 that went into extra innings and rightly has been declared one of the greatest games in baseball history?

The Cubs? The lovable losers who have legions of fans, none of whom can remember the last time the franchise won the World Series? Playing against the Cleveland Indians, who for their own part have not won a championship since 1948? Only one player from Cleveland’s last championship team — 95-year-old Eddie Robinson — is still alive. We’re guessing none of the 1908 Cubs are still around.

Millions upon millions of people have longed for the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series, and the odds are that most of them cannot remember the last time the franchise was even in the series — considering that was 71 years ago. The odds are, also, that at least half them are friends of mine on Facebook. Or so it seems.

So, this is kind of a big deal, and it serves as a brief but welcome respite from a cockamamie election season that has exposed our differences and highlighted the things that are wrong with the United States.

Finally, something to make us feel good, even those of us who are not Cubs fans.

The true reality TV

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, at least for me. I went to college in the Chicago area and, truth be known, during spring quarter of my senior year I spent more time in the bleachers at Wrigley Field than I did in class. Literally. (But don’t tell my kids).

So, although I am not a Cubs fan, there is a deep understanding and empathy for the pathos that engulfs the franchise and its supporters. There is a deep appreciation for the history involved and the demons exorcised by having the Cubs win a world title for the first time since they had Tinker to Evers to Chance and a Hall of Fame pitcher known as “Three Finger” Brown.

Most important, there is a deep appreciation for the drama that was provided by Game 7. Stop me if you have heard this one before (and you probably have), but sports is the only true reality TV. You don’t have to edit in favor of contrived conflict, you have compelling personalities and characters, and you simply cannot concoct a more inconceivable script than that which unfolded Wednesday night over 4 hours, 28 minutes. There were unlikely heroes and unexpected highlights and more twists and turns than a Hitchcock movie.

In comparison with the dystopian vision that has been the theme of this campaign season, it was positively uplifting. It is not as important as a presidential election, of course, but it is infinitely more satisfying, a celebration of the human spirit and of competition, a celebration that was cathartic not only for long-suffering Cubs fans but for anybody who has even a passing interest in baseball.

Is that reading too much into it? Perhaps. Probably. But it sure was fun and it sure was timely.

If the Indians can hit an unlikely home run to tie the game and the Cubs can recover from blowing a late three-run lead, then surely we can get through this election. Because the teams from Chicago and Cleveland didn’t simply play a World Series; they achieved their desired goal to Make Baseball Great Again.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled column.

… And that is why there is only one reasonable choice this election season.