A Cubs Fan's Dying Wish As baseball season opens this year, a lot of people are talking about Bryant Park Project producer Dan Pashman's team, the Chicago Cubs. It's been 100 years since the team won the World Series — nine years before the Bolshevik Revolution.
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A Cubs Fan's Dying Wish

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A Cubs Fan's Dying Wish

A Cubs Fan's Dying Wish

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME")

ALISON STEWART, Host:

Ah, baseball season starts in earnest today, so what does that mean? The Best Song In The World Today is baseball-related. Remember, The Best Song In The World Today doesn't have to be the most popular or have the best groove, but it's got to have a good story. Producer Dan Pashman is here to tell us about it. Hi, Dan.

DAN PASHMAN: Hi, guys. How you guys doing?

STEWART: Good.

RACHEL MARTIN, Host:

Good.

PASHMAN: So, the music you are hearing right now is compliments of Steve Goodman and Jethro Burns, more on Steve Goodman in a minute. But today, as you said, Ali, is the real opening day of the baseball season, and this opening day, in particular, people are talking a lot about my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. That's because this season marks 100 years since the Cubs last won the World Series.

STEWART: Oh, no.

PASHMAN: Yeah. Now, there are a lot of ways to illustrate just how long ago that was, but here's my favorite. The last time the Cubs won the World Series was nine years before the Bolshevik Revolution.

STEWART: That's a long time, Dan.

PASHMAN: Yes, communism rose and fell and the Cubs didn't win a World Series. But you know, I wasn't always a Cubs fan. I actually grew up as a New York Yankees fan, and I converted to a Cubs fan as an adult, which took about five years. And you guys know me. You can imagine that that's not a decision I came to lightly.

MARTIN: No.

PASHMAN: Long story short, the Yankees only consider a season to be successful when they win the World Series.

MARTIN: Yeah.

PASHMAN: And I came to realize...

MARTIN: Well, because they do so often.

PASHMAN: Exactly, high expectations, and I came to realize that that attitude takes the fun out of being a sports fan. Basically, because the most exulted moments in sports come when your team exceeds expectations and they take your wildest dreams and fantasies and make them a reality. If your team expects to do the very best thing that they can possibly do, than you can never exceed expectations.

MARTIN: Yeah.

PASHMAN: There's only satisfaction or disappointment.

STEWART: Or paying more for another player.

PASHMAN: Or that.

MARTIN: Or ticket prices.

PASHMAN: They exceeded all expectations and Cubs mania swept the city, and the Cubs got into the playoffs, and when they just got into the playoffs, we poured out into the street. They had to close down the streets around the ballpark, and we were all out in the street singing and celebrating. We were singing Steve Goodman's cheesy but beloved Cubs anthem, "Go Cubs, Go."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "GO, CUBS GO")

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Go Cubs, Go! Go Cubs, Go! Hey, Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are going to win today. Go Cubs, Go!

PASHMAN: So, at that very moment, there in the street signing "Go Cubs, Go," I realized that I was a Cubs fan.

STEWART: He'd been baptized. He was healed.

PASHMAN: And obviously he could not, and instead, his friend Jimmy Buffet filled in, took his place. But right before Goodman died, he wrote a musical will, of sorts. It's a song that truly, to me, truly typifies the Cub fan's ability to laugh through the pain, and it's entitled, "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request," and here's how it begins.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "A DYING CUB FAN'S LAST REQUEST")

STEVE GOODMAN: (Singing) The dying man's friends told him to cut it out...

PASHMAN: "But if you have your pencil and your scorecard ready, I'm going to read you my last request," and he sings the - and the first chorus is sort of a," do they still play the blues in Chicago?" he asks. And he asks questions, like "When the snow melts away, do the Cubbies still play, in their ivy-covered burial ground?" He blames the Cubs for driving him to drink.

MARTIN: Oh, no.

PASHMAN: And he comes to the end of the song and he wants them to build a big bonfire on home plate and throw his coffin, and he wants his ashes to blow out of the ballpark. And actually, his ashes were scattered over Wrigley Field after he passed away. So, I want to play the last part of this song, after he has described his funeral in detail, and his friends are gathered around his deathbed. And this is The Best Song In The World Today. It's "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" by Steve Goodman.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "A DYING CUB FAN'S LAST REQUEST")

GOODMAN: When I was a boy they were my pride and joy, But now they only bring fatigue To the home of the brave, the land of the free, And the doormat of the National League.

MARTIN: That's nice.

PASHMAN: Go Cubs.

MARTIN: And that is The Best Song In The World Today. Thanks, Dan.

STEWART: Thanks, Dan.

PASHMAN: Thanks, guys.

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