The outs were methodically counting down Saturday in the Chicago Cubs’ 5-0 victory over the Dodgers in the deciding game of the National League Championship Series. But only methodically. When you are a Cubs fan and it has been 71 years between World Series berths, the outs count down as if Jose Baez had gotten a rare start and was working on a complete game.
Dan Kazmierski, former president of the Green Valley Little League, assistant administrator for Nevada Little League District 2, employee of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services who volunteered to dig people out from Hurricane Sandy — and a dyed-in-the-wool-jersey Cubs fan — was in the sports book at New York-New York with his wife, Teri.
They were anxiously glancing at their watches.
As the Cubs were counting down the outs, their son, Chet, and the Green Valley High School choir were preparing to sing with Mick Jagger at T-Mobile Arena.
“We decided we would stop watching the game when it was time to go to the concert, since it was the chance of a lifetime to see your kid perform with the Stones,” Kazmierski said.
“But as the game progressed, I kept thinking of my dad, who passed away in 2007, and how he missed out on the Cubs’ last World Series appearance because he was busy in the South Pacific during World War II.”
This is something you’d never hear a Yankees fan say, or even a Marlins fan say.
“He always said that since the Cubs had played in the World Series a few times in the ’30s, he figured they’d make it back …”
So Dan Kazmierski did the math as the outs counted down.
“Being die-hard Cubs fans, we figured the odds were greater for my son to make it back to the stage with the Rolling Stones than a guarantee of the Cubs winning.
“We watched the end of the game.”
The Kazmierskis hurried next door after the Cubs turned a game-ending double play. The Stones had yet to “Start Me Up.”
“The song my son and the choir sang was ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’ Saturday night I got all that I wanted,” Dan Kazmierski said.
It was like that for Cubs loyalists all over town, even ones who didn’t sing about going down to the Chelsea drugstore and blowing 50-amp fuses.
Andy Kaye, a former on-air personality at KOMP 92.3 and current lab coordinator for the College of Southern Nevada’s streaming radio station, almost blew a 50-amp fuse when his girlfriend, Yanette, starting getting prematurely giddy when Chicago grabbed the early lead against Clayton Kershaw.
Superstitious Cubs fans know any display of premature giddiness is like stepping on the chalk line between the playing field and the dugout.
“Easy, easy, easy,” said an apprehensive Andy, who grew up at 3731 N. Jansen in Wrigleyville before it was called that.
When Andy Kaye was a youngster, they’d open the gates at Wrigley Field after the seventh inning, and Andy and his buddies would ride their bikes to the ballpark and ask the spiffily attired Andy Frain ushers to keep an eye on them when Billy Williams and Ron Santo and Ernie Banks were up.
When we spoke Sunday, Kaye said he was on his way to mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church to cover the Cubs’ bases against the Indians starting Tuesday.
While Andy Kaye was praying for Jason Heyward to finally get a hit, Kurt Busch, the NASCAR leadfoot from Las Vegas, was explaining to a pit reporter how he and teammate Kevin Harvick had gotten into a skirmish at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch, a longtime Cubs fan who has thrown out the first pitch at Wrigley Field multiple times, was wearing a Cubs cap.
CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! pic.twitter.com/fWA9iFCrpP
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) October 23, 2016
Al Bernstein, the Hall-of-Fame boxing analyst and Chicago native, took to Twitter with ivy-garnished posts about the Cubs reigning onward, or whatever it says on Joe Maddon’s sweatshirt.
I just woke up and, you know, I had his crazy dream last night. Dreamt that the @Cubs are going to the World Series. Crazy huh?
— Al Bernstein (@AlBernstein) October 23, 2016
Ryan Greene, also involved with the local fight game (Haymon Boxing Management), once caught a home run ball off the bat of Las Vegan Tyler Houston in Milwaukee, after the Cubs traded him. Greene said he would go to Phoenix to watch the World Series with his dad.
I told him many Cubs fans are envious.
Steve Greene is a vice president at the company that manufactures Big League Chew. They have been going to Cubs games since Ryan was 4; Ryan went to San Francisco to watch the Cubs win the deciding fourth game of the NLDS.
“I’m hoping we get to see ’em win it together,” Ryan Greene said.
Asked if father and son would have a catch before the game, he chuckled and said it had been a long time since they had done that.
But he didn’t rule it out, either.
I cried. I won't lie. This is amazing. See you Tuesday, Cleveland. #FlyTheW
— Ryan Greene (@ryanmgreene) October 23, 2016
Contact Ron Kantowski at email@example.com or 702-383-0325. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.