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Case Number 04101: Small Claims Court

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Forever Loyal: A Salute To The Cubs Fans And Their Field

MPI // 2003 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Justice Michael Stailey // March 18th, 2004

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All Rise...

The Charge

Being a Cubs fan is a non-fatal, incurable disease!

The Case

October 14, 2003—Top of the eighth inning, Game Six of the NLCS. The city of Chicago has been struck with Cubs fever. In the surrounding Wrigleyville neighborhood, bars and restaurants are exceeding capacity. Wavelend Avenue, which runs along the left field wall, is overflowing with fans armed with rally sticks and chanting "Let's go Cubbies!" The Chicago Cubs are five outs away from going to the World Series, for the first time since 1945. Cubs' wunderkind Mark Prior is masterful on the hill, pitching a shut out, with one out and a three-run lead. Pierre smacks a double. A walk to Castillo. A single by Rodriguez scores the run. 3-1 Cubs. No problem. And then it happens. Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez botches a routine double play ball, igniting a Florida Marlins rally that would cost the Cubs the game and the season. From Section 202, Row 31, Seat 8, 35 years of Cubs' heartbreak comes flooding back to me. I sit stunned. Amidst 40,000 fans, the only thing I hear is the breaking of a million hearts. I find myself unable to leave. Standing against the fence overlooking Waveland, watching the masses disperse, I listen to the chatter of a crowd convinced the team will get the job done in Game Seven. For as much as I want to believe, I know deep down it's over. "Next Year" is not here. Looking back at the now empty field, I pause a moment to grieve. The entire season was one incredible ride. Such is the life of a Cubs fan.

My father was born and raised in the shadow of Wrigley Field, and there are few spots more tranquil and pristine than the friendly confines. More than 100 years of history preserved for eternity in this enigmatic ballpark, nestled in the quaint Lakeview neighborhood. For Cubs fans, spending time at Wrigley is often more cherished than the game being played. We bring our family, friends, colleagues, and lovers. We dine on kosher hot dogs, Old Style beer, Cracker Jacks, and frosty malts. We revel in the smell of fresh cut grass, a breeze off the lake, the sound of the passing Red Line trains, a good game of mound ball, and the unpredictability of Chicago's weather. For three hours, the rest of the world disappears. It's true—our emotions are undeniably and symbiotically tied to the success and/or failure of the team. However, in the end, it's the chance to spend even the briefest of moments in this Eden-esque oasis that keeps us coming back for more.

MPI has done a marvelous job re-packaging two PBS specials and a brief glimpse at the euphoria of 2003, all of which celebrate the Chicago Cubs, the fans, and this classic ballpark.

Inside Wrigley Field (27 minutes, 2001)
This episode of WTTW's Inside Chicago, hosted by WXRT radio's own Terri Hemmert, takes a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of Wrigley Field. For 52 weeks a year, 12–15 hours a day, this garden by the lake is buzzing with activity. Now you have the opportunity to meet some of the people who make it happen. Wrigley is the only park in the majors with a manually operated scoreboard, the first to let fans keep foul balls, the first to raise a win/loss flag letting the city know how the team performed that day, and the only park without posted advertisements cluttering its inherent beauty. Granted, this special is three years old and some of the faces you'll see are no longer with us—the late Arne Harris, Manager Don Baylor, broadcaster and former Cub Joe Carter—but when it comes to Wrigley Field, everything else is timeless.

The Cubs Fan (53 minutes, 1999)
There are few franchises in professional sports that can claim a fan base as diverse, rabid, and loyal as the Chicago Cubs. The team is like an extended family that fans are welcomed into at a very young age. Season after season, series after series, we celebrate with each win and struggle with every loss, always hoping for another shot at post season, recapturing a mere handful of fleeting moments from years past. There are many faces you will recognize here, sharing their thoughts and feelings on the Cubs—from national columnist and commentator George Will and Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Harry Caray to the Bleacher Preacher and the one and only Ronny Woo-Woo. Written and directed by Robert Ray and narrated by the inimitable Bob Costas, this film is a love letter to Cubs fans around the world.

Fandemonium 2003 (9 minutes, 2003)
A collage of sights and sounds, captured in the hours leading up to Game Six of the 2003 National League Championship Series (NLCS)—the night we all thought the Cubs would win the pennant. Having been there myself while this tape was rolling, these moments, now frozen in time, were truly magical.

Presented in 1.33:1 full screen format, the transfer is your standard television presentation, with loads of documentary-style footage from countless archives and personal collections. Utilizing a Dolby 2.0 Stereo track, the sound is suitably appropriate for the material at hand. If you're looking for something exceptional in terms of picture quality or sound, look somewhere else. Nothing in the way of bonus features, but that's not really what this release was geared towards.

If you are a Cubs fan or have one in your life, first of all, I'm sorry. I feel your pain and share your unending optimism each year as Spring Training rolls around. As we prepare for the new season, I cannot think of a better gift than MPI Home Video's Forever Loyal. This disc should be required viewing every March, when "Next Year" finally arrives. Follow it up with a playing of Steve Goodman's "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request," and you're all set for opening day. Let's play two! This court is adjourned.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 94

Perp Profile

Studio: MPI
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Sports
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• Chicago Cubs Official Site

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