For the first time since mid May the Chicago Cubs have won a road series. Just let that sink in for a second. It has been three months of frustration for the beloved and all it took was getting back to back face smackings to finally wake them up.
Obviously this is good news and you hope they can build on it, finally. However, for me, the story this weekend was the Cubs, and Pirates, getting to act like little kids again at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
Watching them, and listening to them, interact with the kids was special and it made me realize that professional athletes are really just big kids playing a game. It is easy to forget that the teams we love to root for are not involved in life and death things, they are playing a game.
The unabashed joy on the faces of the players, along with the unabashed awe on the faces of the kids was fun to see. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, Chris Archer, being asked by a 12 years old, "hey, aren't you the guy that gives up all the home runs?" was priceless as was Archer's response of, "yeah, that's me." You could just feel the pros dragging their inner child out and forgetting who they were for a day.
Watching Anthony Rizzo, Joe Maddon, and Kris Bryant, partaking in the traditional sliding down the hill on cardboard, was pretty cool, so was the Cubs Javier Baez, and the Pirates Starling Marte, fist bumping kids while on deck during the game. Obviously things you don't normally see at a major league game.
Watching the game, it was clear that both teams were having a blast, although the Cubs a little bit more, and I felt this was the dam breaking that the Cubs needed to get back on track. They needed to be reminded that, it is only a game and not life and death. I believe they can now get back to just playing baseball and not worrying about road series wins, and RISP stats, and all the other things that come up when you are struggling.
For all of us, watching our Cubs play baseball is the same experience as it was for the Cubs to watch the Little Leaguers play, big kids watching little kids play a game.