CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs could clinch the National League Central title on Thursday night.
They have the best record in baseball: 93 wins and 52 losses. They also hold a less proud record: 108 years without a World Championship.
Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, is known around here as the friendly confines. But for generations -- and generations -- of devoted or perhaps delusional fans, it’s been a torture chamber.
The bobbles, brain cramps and bad luck, have added up to more than a century of called third strikes, and crushing losses.
Sure the vines on the walls at Wrigley are nice, but the play on the field has often been less attractive. Who, but the Cubs, could score 22 runs in a game -- and still lose?
Their last World Championship occurred when Roosevelt was president -- Teddy Roosevelt. And while they did manage another World Series appearance, it was 71 years ago and they lost -- supposedly because of a curse -- involving a goat.
So it’s kind of hard to explain people like Richie Gracia.
“This is my holy ground back here,” said Gracia, showing off his backyard.
Gracia is such a fan of the Cubs that he has reverently re-sodded his back yard with actual grass from Wrigley Field -- where a brand new lawn is now taking root, along with the hopes and dreams of Cub fans everywhere.
How many times have the Cubs broken his heart?
“It’s been quite a few times, but I still love ‘em,” he said.
Just hearing the words “the Cubs have the best record in baseball” could send more superstitious fans into a defensive crouch, but not Gracia.
“I really believe this is the year and it’s just gonna make all those years so much sweeter, ya know,” he said. “This is different. This is a new team. This is a new year.”
The Cubs game against the Milwaukee Brewers will be getting under way soon at Wrigley Field. And while the players are getting ready to play, many of their fans are getting ready to pray.