The last time two Great Lakes teams played each other at the World Series was in 1945. It's with great pleasure to have none other than long-time Waterkeeper friend and supporter, Dave Bidini writing for us as this exciting Great Lakes series unfolds. Here is his second article for the Great Lakes World Series.
Last night, the weather over Lake Erie threatened but didn’t arrive until the end of Chicago-Cleveland, Game Two. Still, anyone who was watching could feel what the crowd at Cleveland’s ballpark felt: cold breezes coming too soon; storm clouds hanging there like an angry parent waiting for an explanation; gluey frost dimpling front lawns; and ice nearly glazing the streets.
Worse for the Clevelanders, they had to drag themselves through the mess on their way home from a loss that left them wondering whether the magic, luck, strength, timing and good fortune of their post-season run had escaped like a backyard hound with the gate open. Blue Jay fans wouldn’t have believed it if they hadn’t seen it with their own eyes: a bullpen knocked around like a squirt at karate camp; the Cubs hitters exacting the kind of patience and level-approach the Jays’ hitters never could; and the Cleveland pitchers finally showing their seams.
There’s an inverse lake vs ocean bias that those who live on the Great Lakes possess – why can’t border lakes be sunny and warm and postcard-pretty like the Pacific or Atlantic or other bodies of water that stretch south where it’s warm? – and, the truth is, north-easterners, as well ballplayers, have to fight through late fall Great Lakes times in order to have fun doing anything.
Cleveland’s team looked like they did not, while the Cubs' looked like they did despite the weather and proximity to the lake. Wins can go a long way to making bad weather seem like it doesn’t exist, but even when it’s 11-0 (or 5-1, last night’s score) in Ohio in October, everyone – ballplayer, banker, bus driver and cook – is still resigned to the ignominy of wringing out one’s fleece after being doused with cold autumn rain. One team sleeps under warm covers, while the other still feels the chill. On to Illinois now, and more of the same.
The only upside of the Great Lakes barometer is that the weather – dramatic, unflinching, tough – has already assumed a poetic quality in this series, reflecting the at-the-grillface nature of battling on the diamond in rugged times. The clouds glower, the rain slashes, and the cold gathers. Whoever wins will have conquered the other not under palm trees or fat suns, but in the bracing wind, which promises to submit a narrative before the series is over, especially in Wrigley Field, exposed to the shoreline of Lake Michigan. At 1-1, who will be affected most is uncertain. On to the next lake. On to the next game.