#698: The Cubs vs. The Fightin’ TBDs

October 12th, 2016

On Oct. 11, 2016, the Chicago Cubs clinched their second consecutive NLCS berth after a pulse-pounding comeback against the San Francisco Giants.

And due to my stupid fascination with the days of hats and suits, I’ll miss the first two games.

From Oct. 15 to 17, I’ll be in a Superliner Roomette aboard the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle so I can visit my sister.

For months, I have been longing for this trip. Solitude, a bit of a breather from rush rush world of tweets and Trump, and a chance to dig into the ever-growing stack of books I get into for a few chapters then put down for months at a time.

The train has no wifi and I have no smartphone. Heaven.

But who knew heaven would come during the one time I really, really want to watch sports?

Although my desire to travel in the most hat-and-suit-old-timey fashion possible has petard-hoisted me pretty neatly, my sister and I will be entrenched at whatever Cubs bars Seattle offers from game three onward. I’ve heard good things about the Iron Bull and if the Cubs should — knock on wood, kenahora, no whammy no whammy — go to the… next level, I’ll be back in Chicago by the time that starts.

But one step at a time. According to MLB.com, the Cubs will face “TBD” in the National League Championship Series, which I assume either means the Tampa Bay Rays went back to their original name or that Twins pitcher Tyler Blinn Duffey is taking everyone on by his lonesome.

As the Cubs ready themselves for a series against either the bicyclic strong guanidine base Triazabicyclodecene or 1940s Sri Lankan jurist Tikiri Banda Dissanayake (the internet is a wonderful resource), a bit of warning for the non-Cubbie out there.

It’s going to get gross.

It’s going to be gross and obnoxious and oh-so-dudebro. If even a non-sportser like me can cackle with joy at a late-night win and rework vacation schedules to stare at a screen, you know the popped collar set is going to be unbearable.

The North Side will be packed, the testosterone and shots will flow and, win or lose, at some point you’re going to hear every single person in a bar scream at once. Even if you’re not in a bar.

Enjoy if you can, hide if you must, but in either case, prep. Gird your loins for the onslaught of Cubbie Blue as Chicago readies for TBD.

As for me, I’ll miss the first bit. I’ll be trundling through a Great Plains midnight, staring through an observation car window at more stars than I’ve ever seen.

Talk politics with me at “How to Steal an Election,” a booze-fueled tutorial I’m running with Atlas Obscura and the Room 13 speakeasy a week before the election. Swill craft cocktails while I take you through decades of COMPLETELY LEGAL voter manipulation in Chicago and elsewhere. Fun, civics and the best damn Old Fashioned I’ve had in years. Tickets are going fast.

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