For a native Chicagoan freshly landed in Seattle, it's a tough fall to be so far away from my beloved Cubs.
For once, the team is good. Really good. The best they've been in my lifetime, easily. Mariners fans who think they've suffered have nothing on our 100-year World Series drought.
Vedder wrote "Go All the Way" at the request of Cub Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and recorded it during a solo stand at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre last month. It's the sort of beer-raising singalong that Vedder loves, and a true blue pledge of allegiance from the Evanston, Ill., native:
We are not fair-weather but foul-weather fans
Like brothers in arms in the streets and the stands.
OK, that last bit sounds like a leftover from Vedder's days campaigning with Ralph Nader, but the rest is pretty endearing:
Our heroes wear pinstripes
Pinstripes in blue
give us a chance to feel like heroes too.
He's got me hooked, anyway.
"Go All the Way" joins a rich tradition of Cubbie music. In my junk drawer, I've got a worn-out "Cubs Party Album and Rally Starter" cassette tape with "Cubbie Safari," a Beach Boys parody by the actual Beach Boys (honestly). There are Harry Caray's legendary renditions of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." In 1984, Steve Goodman penned the brilliant black-humor "Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" in his last months before dying of leukemia. And Goodman's delightfully cheesy "Go Cubs Go" has been resurrected as Wrigley Field's celebration song after each win.
Vedder's timing was good. The Cubs clinched a playoff spot over the weekend. Their pathetic performance in last year's postseason should give sensible fans reason to temper their enthusiasm. But sensible fans don't stick with a 100-year history of losing. We believe this year's the year.
When the playoffs begin next month, it'll be the only time of the year I regret not owning a TV. Eddie, if you've got a spot on the sofa, drop me a line. I'll bring the beer.