Words did not have to be expressed as emotions told much of the story Wednesday night at Taste Chicago restaurant when the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Cleveland Indians 8-6 in 10 innings in Game 7 seven of the 2016 World Series.
Owned by actor Joe Mantegna and his wife Arlene, the eatery at the corner of Verdugo Ave. and Hollywood Way has become a gathering place for fans of Chicago sports teams since it opened in 2003.
The restaurant was at full capacity to see the Cubs win the World Series for the first time since 1908.
“I’ve been a lifelong Cubs fan and my father is a White Sox fan, so we don’t talk baseball in the house,” said Meghan Kiely. “I’ve been waiting a very long time for this. My best friend died yesterday and he’s a huge Cubs fan and I keep praying he’s up there helping us win this. We’ve gone to so many Cubs games together, that’s why I’m on the verge of tears. We need this and we’ve needed it for so long.”
Pastor Steve Colangelo also fought back tears after the end of the game.
“I’m just thinking of my dad and wishing he was alive to share it,” Colangelo said. “It doesn’t even feel real yet. It just doesn’t feel real. But it happened and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of guys. They believed in themselves. Some fans gave up, but the diehards who stuck it through got our reward tonight.”
Another Chicago native said he has remained a Cubs fan even though it has not earned him points with his relatives.
“My mom grew up like eight or nine houses from Comisky Park,” said Raymond Johnson. “As I grew older the babysitter said she couldn’t get me to sit down, but at 1:20 she was able to get me to sit down and watch. I was never a White Sox fan, I was always a Cubs fan. All my cousins are upset at me for being a Cubs fan. I’m the only Cubs fan in the family. This means the world to me. There’s a lot of Cubs fans that have been laughed at. There’s a lot of fans that switched to White Sox fans because they thought the Cubs would never do it. To be a loyal fan, this means the world.”
Jean Stanko lives in the Great Chicago area and was visiting her daughter locally.
“There will definitely be fireworks tonight,” Stanko said of her neighborhood. “We’ve been waiting for a long time. It is very special. The whole city is behind them.”
Chris Armas, who moved to California from Illinois seven years ago, spoke of his own emotions.
“This is amazing. Growing up my dad used to take me to the games Wrigley and I always followed them,” Armas said. “We just kept believing and then this year. This place (Taste Chicago) is definitely a home for Chicago fans. I’m so glad they have this place. You go in there and you get that Wrigleyville Chicago spirit.”
Colangelo also offered some additional thoughts.
“When you think of 108 years, that is five generations without a World Series. Most of us grew up watching the Cubs on the old black and white TV and some listened on the radio. Cubs fans run in generations and right now I’m the second in four generations of Cub fans. All the family members including the ones that are no longer with us there will be a lot of tears.”