The Chicago Cubs had a Post-Season Rally in downtown Chicago, right next to the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza on Tuesday, September 30, 2008. Master of Ceremonies Jim Belushi, a Chicago native, exclaimed “I love this city!” and introduced the famous ballplayers and dignitaries present, including Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was drowned out at one point by fans chanting and singing “Go! Cubs! Go!”
In all fairness, the Governor had droned on for a rather long time, noting that Teddy Roosevelt was President the last time the Cubs made the World Series, 100 years ago, etc., etc., etc.
There was a large plasma video screen to the left of the stage and a highlight reel of phenomenal Cubs plays during the year was shown at one point. We all sang along with Harry Caray (long deceased) who led the traditional 7th inning stretch song of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Later, we sang to the new “Go! Cubs! Go!” song while blue and red paper bits drifted down on top of us from a confetti canon (visible in the picture of the Governor.) All onlookers chanted that Ron Santo belonged in the Hall of Fame.
Jim Belushi, brother of John and a Chicago native, praised WGN and Fox, which carried his television program. An elderly woman in a wheelchair struggled to her feet to sing along with the crowd and told me that she had “been a fan since I was 13.” Bill Hajdys and his daughter Coryan showed up in goofy sunglasses carrying a large sign that read, on one said, “Jesus Was A Cubs Fan” and, on the other, “We’re On A Mission from God,” a reference to a line in the Jim Belushi/Dan Ackroyd film “The Blues Brothers,” which was shot in Chicago.
Mounted policeman Sergeant Kevin Gyrian was there, sitting atop Baldy, his horse, ready to restore order if necessary as part of the Strategic Deployment Unit. Zira Singer’s grandson held a sign next to Kevin and Baldy wishing Grandma Zira a speedy recovery in Lutheran General, where she underwent spinal surgery and then contracted an infection in the hospital.
Nearby a silent man held a sign that read “Obama, Spare My Child.” When asked what the story was, he remained silent. One man in the crowd wore a shirt that read “Quad City Mallards.” At the nearby Corner Bakery a man who appeared to be Amish sat by himself following the rally, quietly eating peanuts from a bag of nuts he had brought and drinking some bottled water.
The weather was gorgeous, and all of the windows in the Civic Center were filled with onlookers, looking down at the Picasso statue, which was decked out in a Cubs hat for the day.