But in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Brian Lindeman readily admits that he shed a few tears as he watched the Chicago Cubs — the team he’s loved since he was a little kid — celebrate their Game 7 victory in the World Series.
“Everyone else went to bed, but (10-year-old son) Luke stayed up with me,” said Brian, 44, who lives in Grand Haven Township’s Forest Park neighborhood. “When Kris Bryant threw that ball to Rizzo for the third out, Luke and I were jumping around, we were like the players on the field. We were so loud.
“I even started to cry a little bit.”
Diehard Cubs fans across the Tri-Cities area celebrated as baseball’s “lovable losers” won their first World Series title in 108 years.
And so many others who don’t follow baseball rallied behind the Cubbies. Social media was flooded with people commenting on the game Wednesday night, then celebrating the Game 7 victory, which wasn’t completed until early Thursday morning.
“I think it’s just a great story,” said Brian’s wife, Angie Lindeman. “Even people who don’t follow the Cubs regularly, it’s a great story and people were rooting for them. Our good friend lives in Boston and she’s a huge Red Sox fan. … She said today, not a single person in Boston wasn’t rooting for the Cubs. It’s just that great of a story.”
Brian’s dad was a Detroit Tigers fan, but his grandparents — Grandpa Howard and Grandma Mary — were huge Cubs fans.
“I was the oldest of three boys, and we’d be playing in the backyard, playing baseball, and Grandma would call and say, ‘The Cubs are playing on WGN,’” he said. “We just took to loving the Cubs. My dad was a Tigers fan, and he’d take us to Tigers games, but we’d also go to Wrigley twice a year.”
Brian recalls growing up watching Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg, and listening to Ron Santo on the radio.
“We kind of took a liking to Sammy Sosa, until the whole corking of the bat,” Brian said with a laugh.
“I think part of the reason he dated me was because my sister lived in Chicago, and we used to go down there a lot and stay with her,” Angie joked. “That was when you could get a bleacher seat for $20 or $30.”
This past week has been one the entire Lindeman family will always remember. Seven-year-old Stella proudly has her own Cubs jersey, while 13-year-old Cecelia also cheers for the team from Chicago’s north side.
Brian works as a corrections officer and his alarm is typically set for 4:30 a.m., but because of the way his schedule fell this year, he took some vacation time and has had the past seven days off. He celebrated his birthday by watching the Cubs stay alive in the series with a Game 5 win.
Like many hardcore sports fans, Brian admits to sometimes taking his fandom over the top. An example? He contemplated not watching Game 2 because he needed to change things up. He listened to part of the game on the radio instead.
“After the first night, he said, ‘I’m going to give them better luck tonight. I’m not going to watch,’” Angie said with a laugh. “If the Cubs aren’t doing good, he’ll change his shirt, change where he’s sitting, he’ll stop watching on TV and start listening to the radio. It’s just crazy what these Cubs fans will do.”
While he’s never bought into the talk of the Cubs being cursed, Brian certainly understands the historical significance of his favorite team’s World Series win.
“My grandfather never got to see this,” he said. “I got to see it.”
Aaron Smaka wasn’t about to shell out thousands of dollars to attend a World Series game, even though he’s an avid Cubs fan.
Smaka, who coaches Grand Haven’s varsity volleyball team, did head down to Chicago last weekend, but it was more to soak in the atmosphere.
A stroke of luck changed all that. Smaka used a credit card to purchase some Cubs memorabilia and won two tickets to Game 5 at Wrigley Field.
Smaka posted a picture of the game on his Facebook page along with the caption: “My free World Series seats!!!”