Most people probably have no idea what "Eamus Catuli" means... but if you're a Northside Chicago fan, you have no doubt. Northside Chicago fan? you might say... I'm talking a Chicago Cubs fan.
Last week, I flew to Chicago to join my beloved Cubbies on their last homestand of the year against the Pittsburgh Pirates -- and the chance for the Cubs to win the National League Central Division. Armed with a backpack, raingear, a few twenty dollar bills and a dream, I arrived in downtown Chicago early in the morning to buy my "scalped" tickets to the game. I had already bought some over ebay and needed to connect with the sellers to complete the purchase. It was a colder day, and the sun was peeking out as I sat down at Lou Mitchells, the best breakfast place in Chicago (Milk Duds for the ladies; Doughnut Holes for everyone in line). Lou Mitchells is a drop dead stop for me every time I've been to Chicago for a baseball game... which I think is over 30 trips now since my parents would let me go on my own when I was a senior in high school.
You see, four years ago, I bought season tickets to the Cubs, rented an apartment in a six flat a few blocks from Wrigley Field, and went up most weekends for a Friday-Saturday-Sunday run of baseball. I could write for days on my experiences those two summers.
Anyway, after Lou Mitchells, I headed up on the Red Line (the EL) to the Addison stop - where Wrigley Field was located. It was about 11AM - the game started at 2:20PM. I had a few tickets I needed to sell, so I started out on Sheffield, where most people are looking for tickets, in the front yards of the rooftops that span right field. I was not successful. And then it started raining - hard. I finally sold the tickets, unfortunately for less than what I paid - then my friend Brett, die-hard Cubs fan just like myself, and now a resident of my home away from home, jumped off the EL and we were in the ballpark - for a rain delay.
OK, OK, I'll stop the detail - but one day later - a rainout - a twinbill - a dream - a hope - a gift from the Houston Astros - the 2003 Chicago Cubs were the National League Central Division Champions. The next day, on Sunday, after we clinched the berth into the playoffs, Ron Santo, perennial Number 10 for the Cubs, and now the voice of the Cubs on WGN 720, had his jersey retired. Now you might say big deal? Yeah, right. The Cubs have only retired two other jerseys in franchise history - two fair baseball players (chuckle) named Ernie Banks and Billy Williams. And now Ron Santo. Brett and I were there - 10 rows from the dugout - to experience history and history in the making.
I'm so excited I can't even think. My Cubs finally did it - we have a long road ahead against the Braves tonight, Wednesday, Friday in Chicago (I'll be there again) and hopefully Saturday in Chicago also... This isn't the same as the one game playoff Wild Card berth we got in 1998. Brett and I were there then also.
I know - I'm fanatical. But like Brett's wife has said many times, she would rather us be more fanatical about baseball and the Cubs that other things. Thanks, Robin. I hope my wife someday will understand what lives inside of me regarding baseball.
So there you have it.
Still wondering what Eamus Catuli means? On one of those rooftops across the street from Wrigley, there is a sign that says Eamus Catuli with some cryptic numbers next to it. "Eamus Catuli" is presumably Latin for "Go Cubs!" The cryptic numbers, before Saturday read "AC 145895" and it means The Year of the Cubs then the number of years since the Cubs' last division title (14), pennant (58), and World Series (95). That's right - the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908! Wow... Now, those numbers read "AC 005895" - We hope soon it will read "AC 000000"
A little bit of Cubs history. Enjoy. I know I am - or will!
Here's to AC000000 in 2003!!!