CHICAGO: For decades, baseball fans in Chicago have waited and hoped that the Cubs would make it to the World Series.
They have been disappointed since 1945 — the last time the team appeared in the coveted US championship. They have not won one in more than a century, since 1908.
This year, Chicagoans held their collective breath as their beloved team won game after game. Saturday night, they breathed out a sigh of relief, and cheers rang out throughout the city.
The Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to advance to the World Series.
The streets around the baseball team’s stadium were quickly filled with cheering fans, many waiving the team’s signature flag — white with a big blue W — standing for Wrigley Field, The Cubs’ home.
“My grandpa’s been alive for so long, and he’s never experienced this,” said Adam Lewickas, a 31-year-old Chicagoan.
He was standing among a sea of cheering people in front of the baseball stadium. Cars honked loudly all around. People walked up to each other with outstretched hands, giving high-fives.
“You’ve seen tears here tonight. You’ve seen people just so emotional about it,” said Anthony Madrano, 43, also a lifelong Chicagoan.
“I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” he said. “Here in Chicago, it’s just something special. You can’t describe it.”
Ask Chicagoans why it has taken the Cubs so long to reach the World Series, and they will only half-jokingly tell you about the curse of the billy goat.
The legend goes that in 1945, Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, was kicked out of a game because of the foul odor of his pet goat. Outraged, he then cursed the club and declared it would not win another World Series.
The tension in Chicago over the last few days has been palpable, as the city waited to see if the team could finally shrug off its losing streak — curse or no curse.
On Saturday night, fans such as Debbie Mytych, 57, were left in tears.
“I’m just emotional. It’s a very, very happy day,” Mytych said.
In recent years, Chicago has made headlines more for its rampant gun violence and escalating homicide rate. A historic moment was a welcome opportunity to celebrate.
“We need (a victory),” she said. “We get a lot of bad reputation, a lot of bad stories about us, but we’re more than that.”