Baseball is not the quintessential American sport. Americans have been obsessed with time. Making the trains run on time. Opening and closing Wall Street stock trading on time. Punching a clock. The Atomic clock. We are a society of time.
Baseball is the only team sport not measured in time. And since cosmologically speaking Time does not exist (only SpaceTime does) Baseball is the only cosmologically pure sport.
But baseball has its own limitations, and for seventy years Chicago Cubs fans have continually bemoaned the passage of "time without a world series appearance" or TWAWSA.
But no more. The Chicago Cubs, beloved losers of millions of fans who ended every fall with the cry of "Wait until next year" have to wait no more.
The Cubs are in the World Series.
Say it again. The Cubs are in the world series.
A baby in the North Side of Chicago, born after world war two, is now a retired old man or woman. They have gone a lifetime without a team to root for in the fall classic. Eyes now rheumy with a lifetime of disappointment.
It wasn't always this way. At the turn of the past century, the Cubs were a powerhouse. And in one famous published poem, a Giants fan lamented the inning killing double play of the Cubs great infielders Tinker, Evers, and Chance:
The Cubs have been close before. Famously in 2003 the Cubs were five outs away (and up 3-0) from a World Series when a fan interfered with a fly ball that would have been the second out in the inning.
After the fan incident, the Marlins scored a run, and with a runner on first Miguel Cabrera hit a ground-ball to Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez. An inning ending and pennant saving double play was at hand. But Gonzalez booted the ball and the Marlins went on to score eight runs and the Cubs went home to wait out another cold, winter, the spring and summer and fall lost in one nightmarish half of one inning.
Fast forward to Saturday night. Einstein famously said the lord does not play dice with the Universe. But the almighty does have a sense of humor and history. You just need to pay attention to see it.
Cubs up 5-0. Top of the eighth. The Cubs once again that magic five outs away from a world series appearance. The Dodgers have a runner on first. Could this be the beginning of another nightmare?
Cub closer Chapman on the mound. Pinch hitter Howie Kendrick at the plate. On an 0-2 fastball, Kendrick hits a sharp grounder to second... Time slowed for those Cub fans who have endured so much.
Oh but for one more appearance of Tinker, Evers and Chance, now ghosts of an era long lost. Absent their return, anyone but Alex Gonzalez who booted the Cubs out of their last chance at a world series.
Old men prayed. Little boys grabbed their mitts; little girls flipped the ball their parents gave them.
And they all watched...
Javier Baez, the steady second baseman snared the grounder; he flipped it to shortstop Addison Russell who nipped the bag at second with his foot and made a steady throw to Rizzo at first for the double play.
Inning over. Five-outs-away-jinx done. Tinker to Evers to Chance lives!
As do the Cubs in the world series in 2016.
Baseball is timeless and cosmologically pure. It isn't our game. It's harmonic with the Universe when it's played the way the Cubs turned the double-play Saturday night in the cold October night at Wrigley.
It's a sin to pollute these pages with any reference to another league where their players brutalize their children and wives and the owners look the other way. So other than posting our survivor pool we won't.
See you in court.