Dear Tony, Albert, Joel, Adam, Adam, Jason, Cesar, Brian, Aaron, Skip, Felipe, Josh, Troy (yes, even you) and all the rest of the boys,
As I write this, we are all in Chicago. You are all probably (or should be) ensconced in some luxury hotel -- one which, I hope, affords beautiful views of the lake and/or skyline -- getting a good night’s sleep. As for me, I am still wide awake, after watching all the highlights of tonight’s game on three of the four network newscasts, plus a couple on cable. My nose is sunburned from an afternoon in the stands at Wrigley Field. My throat is sore after singing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of choruses of "Go, Cubs, Go!" and my palms are swollen from clapping and from slapping the hands of 20,000 of my new best friends – some of whom, I must add, were wearing red.
But this is not a missive of gloating, oh, no. It is a missive of gratitude. For without all of you, Chicago would not be nearly so joyous a town tonight. It would have been so boring if you’d just lay down and let us rake you over, the way grounds crew rakes the infield. Instead, you played a fine, fine game. I admit, I moaned in agony during the sixth inning, when you, Albert Pujols, and you, Cesar Itzuris, stole second and third, you sly scamps, and then when you, Troy Glaus, capitalized with a three-run homer.
But it all turned out OK! You got the listless crowd to pay attention again, and then you graciously refrained from scoring any more runs, so we could feel comfortable with our one-run lead. Not much, true. Some people in this town may call you unsportsmanlike for not letting Ted Lilly have a no-hitter or even a shutout, but I will defend you to the death!
That was honest baseball, an honest loss.
None of you came back on the field after Jim Edmonds made that final catch -- oh, by the way, thank you for him, too. I can’t say I blame you exactly. Drunken Cubs fans, especially the ones who sit in the Wrigley Field bleachers, are not always the most pleasant lot. Still, next time I see you, I will applaud you.
Thank you, dear Cardinals, the kindest and most gracious of losers, not to mention masters of timing, to give us this loss the one and only day I got to see my Cubs at home this season. If the situation is ever reversed, if you have a shot at the NL Central title and the Cubs are safely out the playoffs, I will cheer for you, too. I may even sing.