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My Daughter, the Cubs, and a Historic Scorecard

Click for high-resolution version  Illustration: Matt Maldre

The day after my daughter was born, Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter against the Reds. Exactly six months later, Julia would be sitting on our couch to watch Game 6 of the NLCS.

We rarely watch TV with her, so she was absolutely enthralled. Leaning forward on her Boppy pillow, she stared intently as the Cubs shut down the Dodgers in top of the first. When Kris Bryant drove in the first run of the game a few minutes later, she celebrated—and then it was time for bed. Her nursery is right next to our living room TV, so I kept my cheers silent with stand-up fist pumps. (Surprisingly—and thankfully—she did not wake.)

The game was already proving itself to be historic, not only for its circumstances, but because it looked like the Cubs were going to win it by scoring early—and often—off baseball’s best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.

As the game unfolded, I decided I wanted a physical memento. Before the league championship series had started, my brother Erik designed custom scorecards for this series. (He was inspired by sportscaster Bob Costas, who earlier in the playoffs had remarked that nobody keeps score at home anymore. ) I had printed a couple copies just in case. Now I pulled one from my bag and started keeping score, filling it with observations and factoids, such as noting that the Cubs faced the minimum 27 batters, only the second time that has happened in the playoffs.

Julia has never known a losing Cubs team. Most of us are not so lucky. Myself I’ve been a Cubs fan since 1984, and at this moment I’m listening to Harry Caray call the famous Ryne Sandberg Game of that same year. But now with the Cubs having clinched the pennant, I have a scorecard I will always treasure—especially since a drawing of my daughter watching the game sits in its bottom-right corner.

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