Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan: It's Hard for Some Baseball Fans to Get Excited on Opening Day

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan: It's Hard for Some Baseball Fans to Get Excited on Opening Day

Article excerpt

Ozzie Smith recently suggested that Opening Day be declared a holiday. Lots of people around here liked the idea. I wasn't surprised. It's easy for Cardinals fans to get excited about a new season.

Cubs fans are a little less excitable. We're still recovering from 2008.

Maybe you don't remember that year. The Cubs ran away with the division. At the end of the home games, fans would stick around and sing, "Go Cubs Go." I remember the chorus. "Hey, Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are going to win today."

That song was written by Steve Goodman, perhaps better known for "The City of New Orleans," which was, of course, made famous by Arlo Guthrie. Goodman also wrote "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request." That was a less joyous song.

He wrote "Go Cubs Go" in 1984, another great year in Cubs history. Yes, that was the year Ryne Sandberg hit the two home runs in one game off Bruce Sutter. Goodman died four days before the Cubs won the division title that year. A blessing, in a way. In the five- game National League championship series against San Diego, the Cubs won the first two and then lost the next three.

But his song lived on and was revived in 2008.

Oh, what a year that was. First of all, it was the 100th anniversary of the Cubs last world championship. How perfect that seemed. Every 100 years it happens. Preordained. Written in the stars.

It was as if God had flipped a switch and said, "Let's make this the craziest year ever." As the baseball season began, a black man was on his way to winning the Democratic nomination for president. By June, he'd declared victory. In August, he was nominated. By September, he was favored to win the general election.

Now it doesn't seem so odd. We're used to a black president. No big deal. But at the time, it seemed wild, unimaginable.

Another crazy thing happened that summer. Anheuser-Busch was sold. Moreover, it was sold to foreigners. InBev. Few of us outside the beer industry had ever heard of that company. Brazilians from Belgium are trying to buy the company that makes Budweiser? No way!

It happened suddenly. The first offer was made in June. The A-B board rejected it. Then InBev sweetened the deal and A-B accepted it in August. …

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