OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Chicago Cubs fans everywhere celebrated the triumphant end to a long wait for a World Series title on Wednesday night, waiting for the last out before jumping up and down and spraying champagne.
Cubs fans in the metro were also pumped up to see their team finally win; many gathering in Overland Park to witness history.
After 108 years of waiting, can you blame them? Most of the fans FOX 4 spoke with waited far fewer years than that, but there was one fan who wasn`t born too long after their last World Series appearance, with quite a story to tell.
Sixty-six-year-old Mike Needleman waited a lifetime for the Cubs to be a World Series winner.
“You have to understand I lived a block from Wrigley Field until I was 7 years old. I was a cradle Cub, I chose a religion much later in my life,” Needleman said.
Three generations gathered at an Overland Park bar to watch Game 7, the youngest celebrating his 3rd birthday on the victorious evening.
Needleman wasn`t a whole lot older than his grandson when his mom started taking him and his older brother to Wrigley Field.
“She knew the guy running the ticket counter there, she used to park us in the bleachers for an hour or so during day games so she could go shopping in the neighborhood while my dad was out at work,” Needleman described.
Sixty years later, his allegiance to his favorite team never wavered.
“When you are a true Cubs fan, this notion of being a loser, or they are not winning so we are going to go with somebody who`s a winner… it never enters your mind,” he explained.
As the Cubs took lead in the first and again in the fourth inning, Needleman watched with other diehards.
“It`s kind of like a little piece of Chicago right here in Kansas City,” said Andy Denekas.
All anxiously awaited to see if the century-old curse would kick in once again.
“It’s literally a dream come true myself like many, many Cubs fans, my goal was that someday I`d like to see the Chicago Cubs in a World Series. Everything since Game 1 has been a bonus,” Needleman said.
But with home run after home run, the Cubs would go on to win its first title since 1908 and the celebration was on.
The Needlemans had already planned a birthday party for that young boy this weekend. The grandfather says he plans to drive to Chicago for the parade on Friday, and be back in time for the party.