By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) I’ve attended enough Catholic funerals to know that each has a 50/50 shot of including a reading from 2 Timothy and line 7 from Chapter 4:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Funerals are about the dead but for the living. They’re a time of laughter, tears, celebration and appreciation as an opiate to distract from a burial, to say thanks for having someone in our lives as we say goodbye to some part of them.
The Chicago Cubs won the World Series on Wednesday (he tremblingly typed). It was a culmination of a good fight and slow race ending with a marathon, and the team’s faith never wavered. #WeAreGood wasn’t just Miguel Montero kitsch — it was an understanding of self.
And today those of us that stuck with this team through the few good times and a whole lotta lifelong bad have been rewarded in a flood of emotions that I know I still can’t harness or process yet. But today is also about loss.
We the Cubs faithful have all transitioned from our earthly mortality of Nov.1 — El Dia de los Muertos. Our old selves — fans, players, organization and culture — are all dead. And for that loss we celebrate, remember and thank as we wake up today on Nov. 3, Day 1 of anno catuli 1. The day on my “Shakespearean Insults” calendar on my school desk, a gift from a student, that today says “Out, hyperbolical fiend!” from Twelfth Night. So thank you.
Thank you, Cubs. Thank you to the nerds working on the player evaluation system, Ivy, to the PR people to the vendors at Wrigley. Thank you, Tom Ricketts, for hiring the right people and getting the hell out of their ways. Thank you, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod and all the slick progressive baseball thinkers who sat patiently through the Scopes monkey trial held in the Midwest media while knowing you would change history.
Jason Hammel, John Lackey, Joe Smith, Rob Zastryzny, thank you.
Thank you, Tuffy Rhodes, Glenallen Hill, Hack Wilson, Brant Brown and Hee Seop Choi. Thank you Blanco, Fontenot, Theriot, Bellhorn, Grudzielanek. From Alfonseca to Zuleta, thanks.
Sutcliffe, Berryhill, Walton, thank you.
Thanks to Ced Landrum, because … I don’t know. I just remember being fascinated with your speed for your short Cubs tenure when I was a kid.
Wish you were here, Steve Goodman, but thank you for your great song about the Cubs and maybe for the bad one that I know you would admit today is pretty bad.
Thanks for the eternal wisdom, Draymond.
Shout out to Hector Rondon and Felix Pena and Justin Grimm and Spencer Patton, to outfielder Travis Wood and to Pedro Strop’s crooked cap.
Thank you, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Matt Clement. Thank you, Kerry Wood.
Thank you, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. Thank you so much.
And to you, Mark Prior. And you, Alex Gonzalez. And you, Leon Durham. All the crappy aura around your names and goats and cats and curses and asinine cosmic crap is gone. Forever. And I love you all.
To Gracie and Ryno, Hawk and Lee Arthur. Raise up the Shawon-o-meter, damn it.
Thank you so much, Grandpa Rossy, for being the syrupy storybook tale come to life and living this year with humorous humility.
Thanks you to my children, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez, who are in a constant tug-of-war for my favorite.
Thank you, Wild Thing and Wendell, Randy Myers punching a fan on the field, JoBo and The Shooter.
Yo, Fukudome and Orie and Pie — I see you. Thank you.
Nomar and Jeff Blauser and Mel Rojas. LaTroy, Todd Hundley, all the hated and mercilessly booed Cubs except for Milton Bradley. I want you all at that parade. Every single one of you are loved today.
Jim Hendry and Ed Lynch and Dallas Green and Jim Frey and Larry Himes and Andy MacPhail, come on down.
Hornsby, Durocher, Elia, Zim — we miss you guys. Don Baylor, Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella, we miss you guys more. And even you, Bruce Kim and Mike Quade and Dale Sveum. And I couldn’t be happier for you, Ricky Renteria.
A-Ram and Starlin and Moises and Maddux and Fonzy — you guys are forever.
Sammy Sosa — you should, nay, need to be here. Please let there be a way.
Thank you, Chicago columnists and talkers, who intentionally went ignorant of being told exactly how these newfangled Cubs were going to be done in favor of making the audience actively stupid. Thank you, Internet, for being a permanent tattoo.
Ernie, Ronnie, Billy, Fergie — this is for you so much, because you are so much part of this.
Thank you, Coghlan, Almora, Szczur and Soler. Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Schwarber — these are good days for a long time to come.
Not you, Aroldis Chapman. You can go away forever, and I hope you suck on whatever team takes you next season.
Thank you to whoever got me the Cubs bottle opener with the Chip Caray home run call that literally ceased to work immediately after the win.
Thank you, rain delays and the $184-million pep talks within them that are worth every damn penny.
Shout out to Cleveland. You rock, and your baseball team will get its own soon. In the meantime, ditch your logo and maybe your name, too.
Thanks for the best Game 7 in history. Now let’s never do it that way ever again.
Thank you, Francisco Lindor for being a gem to watch on the field and a classy guy off of it.
Thank you, everything that went bad at times with this Cubs team that still ended up working somehow.
Thank you, baseball.
Thanks, Dex, for coming back and for going deep.
Thank you, fine Christian gentleman MVP Ben Zobrist, for turning savage at the right time.
Props to Mike Montgomery and your first ever big league save.
Thank you, Kyle Hendricks. Thank you, Ryan Dempster for Kyle Hendricks.
And to you, Joe Maddon — your attitude, your culture change and your perplexing postseason moves that almost got you burned in effigy forever. And for your pending statue instead.
Thank you, Jed Hoyer’s Twitter account.
Thank you, Murph and Fred, Boers and Bernstein, North, Doug Buffone, Dahmahneil, Spiegel, Goff, Abbatacola, Holmes, Joe O, Shep, Herb, Tanny, Julie D, Espo, Bernfield, Rosenbloom, Rozner and anyone else who soundtracked my formative years that are still forming on 670 The Score and taught me how to be a rational meatball.
To Len and Pat and Cooms and JD and Brenly and Brennaman and Stoney and Chip and Joe freakin’ Carter and Otto and Vince and Lou and Jack and Harry. You told the prologue, and we are forever grateful.
Steve Bartman, wherever you are, I hope you’re truly content and never need your name associated with any negative silliness ever again. And I hope you continue to exist in the anonymity you have every right to want.
Thank you, my cousin Mike Kelly, and our text message game managing and arguing and insults and trivia contests.
Thank you, Uncle Joe, Uncle Duke and Uncle Matt for being adult oases on a cruel, Sox-y South Side. Thank you to my late grandmother, Margaret Baffoe, for injecting Cubdom into the family.
Thank you, Dad. You are responsible for this, and I am forever grateful and happy it all happened.
Shout-out to everyone that loves the Cubs. We fought the good fight, we finished the race, we kept the faith. The pain is gone. The reputation buried. Now it’s a new day. Our day.
Thank you for that, Cubs. Thank you so much.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.