CHICAGO: After waiting 108 years, Chicago erupted in euphoric celebration following the Cubs’ historic win of the World Series baseball championship.
The streets around the Cubs’ home stadium Wrigley Field were covered with thousands of jubilant fans, as fireworks lit up the sky. Car horns blared throughout the city, and cheering crowds spilled from bars and viewing parties.
“People have been waiting for this for a long time,” said Stephen Hill, 64, owner of Brendan’s Pub—a sports bar which filled to capacity with fans glued to the tense game that ended with an 8-7 Cubs win in 10 innings.
The Cubs hadn’t appeared in Major League Baseball’s World Series since 1945 and last won the championship in 1908—when Theodore Roosevelt was president.
Local lore blames the Cubs’ losing streak on the “Curse of the Billy Goat,” allegedly placed on the team by a vexed Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, after being thrown out of a game in 1945 due to a foul-smelling pet goat.
The wait ever since has been agonizing for generations of Chicagoans, who stayed loyal even as the team lost more than it won.
Even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—a Chicagoan and a Cubs fan—paused on the campaign trail to root for her home team.
The Democrat watched the final minutes on an iPad following a rally at Arizona State University, her campaign said. After the final out, she and an aide held up a blue and white “W” flag that signals a Cubs victory.
President Barack Obama, who is also a Chicagoan but a supporter of the city’s rival South side team the White Sox, nevertheless offered his congratulations via Twitter.
“That’s change even this South Sider can believe in. Want to come to the White House before I leave?” Obama wrote.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a statement released seconds after the victory, said it held great weight for the city and was “more than a game.”
“It is about the families who have passed down a love for the Cubs from mothers and fathers to their sons and daughters, and from grandparents to grandchildren,” Emanuel said.
Fran Zalewski, 51, comes from one such family and was celebrating outside Wrigley Field with her 22-year-old daughter Susie.
Zalewski’s 93-year-old father, who suffers from early dementia and attended his first Cubs game in 1942, was watching from home.
“He’s been waiting for this all these years,” Zalewski said.
“He said he’s not going out until the Cubs win,” her daughter added. AFP