When I wrote about Steve Goodman last week, I had no idea I’d be standing in his favorite place in the world this week—Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
Steve spent many hours of his tragically short life in the “friendly confines.” And he’s spent time there in death, too: his brother scattered some of Steve’s ashes in the outfield, thanks to a groundskeeper friend. Yes, that last part sounds too good to be true—I read it in Clay Eals’s voluminous biography, Steve Goodman: Facing the Music. But I checked with Steve’s widow, Nancy, and she verified all the details.
I was supposed to be in Houston this weekend, but I changed my plans in the wake of the hurricane. And so while my personalized Cubs jersey sat in a suitcase somewhere back East, I headed off to see the Cubs play the Braves.
The first inning looked rocky, but the Cubbies roared back, taking what seemed like a decisive lead and then adding to it. A good thing, too, because the Braves had the tying run at the plate in the 9th and the Cubs’ closer seemed to forget his job. But the Cubbies won.
Which was the main thing I’d been hoping for. I wanted to hear Steve sing “Go, Cubs, Go!” in the building it was intended for.
And it was amazing. Nearly everyone in attendance stayed—after a nearly four-hour game! If the Mets had an equivalent song, everyone would be shouting the lyrics while racing down the stairwell. Still a community experience, but rather a different kind.
I made a video of the scene at Wrigley yesterday. Notice how you almost can’t hear the opening lines through the crowd noise, but then everyone either gets quiet or starts singing. What a gift Steve left behind for Cubs fans—for all of us.