On the night the Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the 2015 NLDS, I watched the 30 for 30 Four Days in October. I believed that 2015 would be the Cubs year and we were going to break our curse as the Red Sox had done in 2004. As a guy with no Boston connection other than having a speech impediment that causes people to mistake me for a Bostonian, I got choked up watching that 30 for 30 imagining my beloved Cubbies eventually going all the way.
Sadly the Cubs would only play four more games in October as the Mets shut us out. Fast forward one more year and the Cubs successfully made it out of October for some magical November baseball. One of the many thoughts that ran through my head on November 2nd, 2016 other than “Holy Shit the Cubs did it!” was “God, I can’t wait for our 30 for 30.”
There’s going to be a Cubs World Series 30 for 30. There’s going to be many documentaries about he Cubs and their 2016 World Series Championship. But will there be a film?
The Red Sox got an unplanned film involving their Championship seasons in the likes of Fever Pitch. This romantic comedy gem (trust me, it’s worth a watch or at least a free online viewing) starred Jimmy Fallon back when he was still trying to be a film star and Drew Barrymore back when she had only just turned 30 so was still allowed to be in films. Jimmy played an obsessed Red Sox fan while Drew played the career driven “couldn’t give two shits about the team” love interest. Can he love her as much as he loves Johnny Damon?
I won’t spoil the answer, but I will tell you that the movie ends with the Red Sox winning the World Series and the main characters on the field celebrating with the team. The producers assumed the Sox would lose in the playoffs, but when the unthinkable turned into the probable, Fallon and Barrymore were sent to the final game at Busch Stadium. The Sox won and the actors rushed the field. Five months later the film premiered just in time for the 2005 season.
As far as I know there was no romantic comedy starring Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde that used the Chicago Cubs as the backdrop. Therefore, I think it would be fun to guess how they could turn the Cubs historic World Series win into a movie. What will be the final climatic moment? Who are the villains? Who is our hero?
1) Could said hero be Kyle Schwarber? The movie would begin with his billboard home run in the 2015 playoffs only to have the first act end with his season ending ACL injury. Kyle Schwarber’s patience and resilience as he recovers from his injury nicely mirrors the never give up spirit of the Cubs fandom. The cubs dominated the regular season so there is not much drama happening on the field, which would make Schwarber’s sideline recovery possibly more thrilling. Maybe add in a fake romance to boost the story and you’re good to go. Redeye Chicago did a fun article where they casted the players and management. Some of their choices are perfect. Sadly, they left off Schwarber so let the casting search begin.
2) Perhaps the drama is not with the players but the genius behind the curtain. How was Theo Epstein able to break the two biggest curses in sports history? No one writes better screenplay about great men doing great things than Aaron Sorkin. He already did Billy Beane so he is familiar with the baseball world. I would love to watch Theo and Joe Maddon spitting out Sorkinisms.
3) Speaking of Sorkin, his latest film Steve Jobs did not focus on the full life of Jobs but rather centered around three important product announcements. Perhaps the Cubs movie will play like a 3 act play as well. First act will start off at the 1945 World Series loss, then jump to their 1984 playoffs collapse, and the final act will be the 2016 World Series win.
4) Why waste so much screen time on the Cubs’ prior losses? Maybe an intro montage will get the viewer up to speed on why the Cubs were the Lovable Losers. The montage ends with that 2016 World Series fourth game loss at home. Chicagoans empty out of Wrigley Field knowing they are one more loss away from having to wait another year. For the next 90 minutes, the movie takes us inside the locker room, the dugout, the hotel rooms, and the plane rides to show us how this team handled unimaginable pressure to win three in a row and bring home the championship.
5) To narrow the focus even more maybe the film is only about that final game. Like one of those New Years Eve/Valentines Day film, this one is a collection of fans and their interconnecting lives during that fateful seventh game – the family who traveled to Cleveland, the friends at the Wrigleyville bar, the father and son watching the game at the hospital with the dying grandfather.
6) The eventual screenwriter could decide to not focus the movie on one game but rather on one fan. The story will be about a fictional die-hard cubbie who is born on the day of the 1908 championship. Over years the world around the fan has changed, but his faith that the Cubs will one day win never fades. On his 108th birthday the Cubs finally win and he then dies asleep warm in his bed as peacefully as the Titanic lady. The end credits roll and instead of My Heart Will Go On, Eddie Vedder’s (Someday We’ll Go) All The Way plays.
Perhaps there won’t be a film because no movie could surpass the actual game. We will have our eventual Chicago Cubs 30 for 30, but perhaps the greatest Cubs film will remain Rookie of the Year.