Edo and his sister, Laura, flew in from south Florida yesterday to join throngs of Cubs fans from around the world who descended on Wrigleyville yesterday to watch the Cubs lose to Cleveland in game four of the World Series. That puts the Indians up 3-1, spawning “that old Cubs feeling” we all know and despise.
“I’ve got that old Cubs feeling again.” Edo said this as he circulated amongst Alexis and me and others of his Cubs friends from around the country. Edo used to own the ever-poplular “Edo’s Lounge” on Indianapolis Boulevard in Highland. It was the place to go in the late 1970s and 80s. Alexis used to bartend for Edo, hence the term, “bartender turned attorney.”
Edo then and Edo attracts a crowd. Sue Krajewski, a Munster native who has written for the Enquirer since 1981, flew in from south Florida. So did her brother, Tom Krajewski, a 1977 Munster grad who looks like he can still run up and down the basketball court like he did long ago for coach Mike Copper. Another Mike, Schererville town councilman Mike Troxell, joined us. I hope I’m not getting him in trouble with local Democrats, but I’m pretty sure he was supposed to be at a big party shindig yesterday at 3pm. Instead, he partied with Alexis and me and Edo and Laura and several other ne-erdowells all day in a bar on the north side of Chicago.
It’s difficult to give an accurate portrayal of just how crazy it was yesterday, a Saturday, throughout Wrigleyville. Stools in bars near the field were going for $1,000 a throw. Alexis, Edo and Laura all week were calling around looking for a bar that we could all meet at, and we ended up with Side Tracks on Halsted. You had to get there by 2pm for a 7:08 first pitch. We wound up with seats in this massive bar with hundreds of people jammed into it and there was this huge TV screen and pretty good sound of Joe Buck and Jon Smoltz and Alex Rodriquez and Frank Thomas and Pete Rose, whom Alexis says looks like WC Fields.
So we drank Diet Pepsis for five hours before the game. Daughter Jackie dropped by from her apartment near DePaul, where she studios Biology, and we left the bar after the first inning for a walk to Wrigley Field. I have never seen more cops in one public gathering in my life. They all wore yellow vests, making it look more like construction on the Borman than a Cubs game.
The three of us took a picture like all other Cubs pilgrims to the holyland in front of the marquis at Clark and Addison. Thousands, tens of thousands of people hung around on the streets on this unseasonably warm night. Many of the jam-packed bars had their front windows open. Hundreds more stood in front watching the TVs from the sidewalks. There was a magnificence in the air that you could feel building. An energy force hovered over Wrigley Field itself, with its lights blasting to the sky, and in the busy streets and in the neighborhood streets and in the alleys and even outside Subway restaurants. Alexis asked:
“Why are all those people crowded around the window at the Subway?”
Jackie, who goes to school 10 blocks from 81 home games a year, knew instantly – “They’re watching the game through the window.”
There were so many people, so many drunk, happy people, strolling around that I couldn’t even find a place to piss. That’s how you know it’s crazy. Several times I dipped in an alley only to stumble on a couple kissing and groping or a group of people smoking weed.
I forgot to mention that part. Not only was there this eerie glow to the whole neighborhood from the reflecting of the Wrigley lights off of the low clouds… there was also the pervasive smell of weed.
Anyways, I want to get back to Edo. For 28 years, Edo held season tickets, both as a bar owner and for many years after. He owned them basically until he moved to Florida a few years ago. His bar, Edo’s, was known as a Cubs bar. During any Cubs game, day or night, you could snuggle up to the bar and watch the game with other true Cubs fans, many of whom were surprisingly knowledgeable not only about the Cubs lineup, but about baseball in general.
Edo and his sister Laura both fit the bill as true and knowledgeable. Laura holds Cubs parties almost every night through the summer. As Laura tells it, there’s a few people in her neighborhood of Ft. Lauderdale from Chicago and northwest Indiana. And when there’s a Cubs game they’ll drop by because they know that she’ll be watching the game on their big TV that sits on the edge of one of the inlets. And the discplaced Cubs fans know that they’ll get pretty much the same thing that one could get at Edo’s bar back in the day – true and knowledgeable Cubs fans teetering on every called ball and strike.
My dad’s a true and knowledgeable Cubs fan. So is my uncle Danny. My cousin Luke, who died of leukemia at the age of 19, was buried in Cubs regalia. My dad, Danny, Luke and hundreds of other relatives from this area know more about the Cubs than Joe Buck.
But I’m starting to wonder if there exists a truer and more knowledgeable Cubs fan than Edo Sindicich. And here’s why.
Edo and I were talking Cubs teams from the past as Cleveland went from leading 2-1 to leading 4-1 on the huge screen above our heads.
“I’m getting that old Cubs feeling again,” Edo refrained.
“Come on, Edo,” I said. “You can’t give up yet. I was there in San Diego in 1984. And here in Chicago in 2003. But this team is different. They win games crazy weird and right at the end.”
“I’m getting that old Cubs feeling again, Jim,” Edo said. “I lived it in 1969 and I’ve lived the heartbreak dozens of times since. It’s that old Cubs feeling.”
“This is different, Edo.”
“Is it, Jim? It’s like with bowling. When you’re standing there with the ball in your hand and you gotta have a strike, if you’re a truly good bowler, you roll a strike.
“Good players rise to the occasion in clutch situations. As always, the Cubs, however good they have been during the regular season, are not doing this. They are engendering in all of us, including you, Jim, if you’ll admit it, that old Cubs feeling.”
“Not true yet, Edo. This team has come up with miracle after miracle this season. I refuse to succumb to what you’re calling ‘that old Cubs feeling’,” I said.
“Oh yeah,” Edo said. “Watch this. I’m gonna go out and smoke a cigarette. Cleveland’s coming up to bat leading 4-1 going into the seventh. By the time I get back, it’ll be eight to one.”
“You’re crazy. Go smoke another cancer stick,” I said.
Now, if you fall under the category of true and knowledgeable Cubs fan, you know what happened next. Cleveland’s Coco Crisp got on. And so did Rajai Davis. And the next guy up, Jason Kipnis, who grew up in Northbrook a Cubs fan his whole life, homered into the right field bleachers.
As Kipnis rounded the bases on the huge TV screen – to a depressed and silent crowd in Side Tracks on Halsted – Edo returned from smoking his cigarette. This modern day Nostredamus just looked at me and shook his head.
“There you go, Jim, that old Cubs feeling.”