CHICAGO — John Dankanich’s plan for the World Series this week is a busy one: After the Chicago Cubs staved off elimination by beating Cleveland, he planned to drive home to Alabama from Wrigley Field, take his son trick-or-treating on Monday, watch Game 6 on Tuesday night and then get back in his car to drive to Cleveland to see Game 7.
He has already bought his ticket for a Wednesday night game he is positive will happen.
“They’re going to win and I’m going to Cleveland,” the 38-year-old engineer said Monday as he drove south to Huntsville after attending Sunday night’s 3-2 win by the Cubs that trimmed Cleveland’s Series lead to 3-2.
After years of waiting to see what new and exotic way their team would fall short — something the Cubs invariably seem to do, whether it involves a black cat, goat or a fan in the stands — Chicago fans are a decidedly confident bunch this fall.
As chants of “Cubs in Seven” reverberated around Wrigley on Sunday night, fans said they firmly believe the Cubs will become just the sixth team in Major League history to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit. Never mind that they would also be first team to do that since the 1985 Kansas City Royals and the first to do it by winning Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
“This is the year to believe, this is the year of miracles,” said Marilyn Hnatusko, who was at the game in which the Cubs beat the Dodgers to get into the World Series and then attended Game 3 of the Series last Friday.
Hnatusko said she can’t afford to go to Cleveland but within minutes the game was over, 74-year-old Barry Rosenthal was already thinking about getting a ticket and trying to figure out who he could stay with.
He hadn’t worked out many details on Sunday night, except for one: “I am planning on going up there, yes,” he said.
By Monday, it was becoming clear that Rosenthal and Dankanich will have plenty of company.
Cameron Popp of StubHub said that about 27 percent of the tickets being sold on the website for the next two games are associated with Illinois ZIP codes. And many expect some empty seats at Chicago-area workplaces the next couple of days.
“They’re working on their coughs today,” joked Ed Koenig, a longtime fan who won’t be making the trip east to Cleveland, but suspects many fans will use their best sick voice with their bosses, hang up and head to Cleveland.
The Cubs won at least three games in a row 16 times during the regular season and they will have to do that to win their first Series since 1908.
“They can do it because they’ve done it,” Bock said.
No matter what happens, fans say they already see this season a lot differently than they those that followed the Cubs’ collapse in 1969 that kept them out of the World Series. And they say there won’t be the bitterness and anger they felt in 2003 when the Cubs came within five outs of reaching the World Series before collapsing after a foul ball ricocheted off the hands of a fan named Steve Bartman.
“Last year we got swept by the Mets (in the National League Championship Series) and this year we made it to the World Series,” said Dankanich, a 38-year-old engineer who grew up a Cubs fan in Indiana. And, he said, if they don’t win in Cleveland, “next year is ours.”