Somewhere in between the hubbub over the Lee-Halladay mega-deal, the Tiger Woods reality show, and the announcement of the Chicago-Seattle exchange of disgruntlement, I overheard a sports talk radio segment that had nothing to do with any of that. The host (I believe it was Scott Van Pelt) asked listeners to call in with their favorite sports moments of the decade. I didn’t hear anyone’s responses because A) I had to get out of the car, and B) I immediately began mentally sifting through ten years of sports memories.
It didn’t take long to lock onto the single best moment of the decade, and it was no surprise that it occurred at Wrigley Field. Another big shocker: it was bittersweet.
But there’s no question in my mind that my favorite sports moment of the decade was the seven-and-one-third-inning stretch that preceded the worst sports moment of the decade. Game 6 of the NLCS between the Cubs and the Marlins.
Mark Prior on the mound, tossing a shutout. Sammy Sosa driving in Kenny Lofton with a double in the 1st. Sosa scoring in the 6th on a Dontrelle Willis wild pitch. Paul Bako coming home on a Mark Grudzielanek 7th-inning single. The eighth inning begins, Mike Mordecai flies out to Moises Alou, and the Cubs are five outs away from their first World Series appearance in almost 60 years.
My oldest son was not even a month old. I had just received a promotion at work. I was standing up in my living room watching the Cubs play in front of red ivy at Wrigley, and they were five outs away from the World Series. That was the most excited I have ever been watching a sporting event. It seemed unreal, like my life was being transformed. I could hear Whtiney Houston singing, “One Moment in Time.” Best sports moment of the decade.
And then . . . you know. Horror. Pestilence. Weeping/gnashing of teeth. Whitney’s voice changed to . . . well, it changed to pretty much what it sounds like now. Moment gone. Champagne, unopened. Suckville, population: me.
It’s pretty pathetic that the moment I remember most (and even most fondly) is something that ended in tragedy. Such is the life of a Cubs fan.