TOP OF THE SEVENTH: INDIANS 7 (4) – 1 CUBS
Kipnis sends a three-run homer into the bleachers. 7-1 Indians.
Things go quiet. Your head falls into your lap.
IN A DREAM—YOU ENTER WHAMMY BURGER, APPROACH THE COUNTER.
Sheila: Hi, can I help you?
YOU: Yes, I’d like a two-run single and a rally starter.
Sheila: I’m sorry, we’ve stopped serving offense but we are on the loss menu now.
YOU: But I want offense.
Sheila: You can’t have it, we’re not serving it.
YOU: So you said. Is that the manager?
YOU: Could I speak to him please?
Sheila: Sure. Rick, there’s a customer who would like to speak with you.
[a young man with a happy smile walks up to the counter]
Rick: Yes, sir?
YOU: Hi. I’d like some Cubs runs.
Rick: We stopped serving those.
YOU: I know you stopped serving those Rick, but I just want a little offense.
Rick: We stopped serving that on October 22nd.
[You place your gym bag full of guns on the counter.]
YOU: Sir, have you ever heard the expression “The Cub fan is always right”?
Rick: (sighs) Yeah.
YOU: Well, here I am. The Cub fan.
Rick: (still smiling) That’s not our policy. You’ll have to order something from the loss menu.
YOU: I don’t want loss. I want runs.
Rick: Yeah, well hey, I’m really sorry.
YOU: Yeah, well hey, I’m real sorry too. [pulls out a TEC-9]
You open your eyes, perk back up into reality.
The end of a five-minute health pause, mandated by Major League Baseball—umpires going aisle to aisle to make sure everyone’s alright. Taking pulses, checking for life.
Then, somehow, bits of crowd energy perk up. The survivors of nuclear winter poking their heads up out of shelters. Pockets in the upper decks, cheering “Lettt’s Gooo Cuuub-bies!”—like the desperate, never-say-never wails of a kid that refused to grow up.
As if the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny could come bring Wrigley Field a win.
But it never comes. That Kipnis home run was all that came.
A guy from Chicagoland. Childhood neighbor of Steve Bartman. Mr. He Who Shall Not Be Named at Wrigley.
He stood there in the box, the bat level on a flat line, holding it steady as if weighing the scales of justice—do you save the hometown, or do you bury the hometown?
Then he brought it up onto his shoulder. Travis Wood gave him a fastball. And the ball went into those bleachers.
Quiet. You can hear the Wrigley PA announcer, and almost nothing else. Kipnis raised like a prom king in the Indians’ dugout. His team shouting, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!”
Cub fans looking down at the price on their tickets. Feeling vomitous. Counting the months on their fingers. We’ll be good next year. But… and they tap their pointer finger. The next finger: November. Then December. Then January… eventually spring. And another season. Then—maybe we’ll be back?
YOU HANG YOUR HEAD AGAIN, CLOSE YOUR EYES. RETURN TO WHAMMYBURGER.
YOU OPEN YOUR DUFFEL BAG.
You just. Want. Your breakfast offense. You reach into your bag.
“He’s got a gun!”
“Just calm down, everybody. Sit down!”
“Everybody just relax and take it ea—
“It was an accident! It’s the trigger.”
“It’s sensitive. It’s okay! It’s a sensitive trigger.”
“Could I please just have my offense?”