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"Are you going to get to the World Series?" a passing lady golfer asked.
"Series?" said Andy. "I hope so. If they get that far. First they gotta win those playoffs."
"They're close now," she said.
Pafko laughed. "We'll make it," he said. "No problem. We'll get there. I wouldn't bet against 'em. No way! They're gonna wrap it up. People have been waiting a long time for something like this to happen around here."
"A lifetime," another golfer said.
A lifetime is a long time for the sufferers who've embraced and cheered the Cubs. Veeck, who was a vendor in Wrigley Field in 1924, when his father was president of the club, was cheering them now almost every day from the bleachers. "The center of my world at the moment is ball games," said Veeck, his aluminum crutches at his feet, next to his battered straw hat. It was Friday, Sept. 14, an overcast day, and the second-place Mets, trailing the Cubs by 7½ games, were in town.
A sheet draped from the upper deck along the leftfield line was flapping in the wind. It said, HAIL MARY, FULL OF GRACE, KEEP THE METS IN SECOND PLACE. GO CUBS. A sign, harkening back to the horror of '69, swayed in the leftfield bleachers: REVENGE IS SWEET.
Veeck shifted in his seat. "Would you like a lamb chop?" he asked a visitor. Veeck had brought a container filled with spiced lamb chops, and a friend had a bag of sliced tomatoes. A tub of popcorn was handed down his row, and he passed it along without indulging. He was holding a beer.
"Why are you out here instead of the grandstand?" a spectator yelled from below.
"Here the beer is colder, the fans much smarter and you can see better," said Veeck. "This is for the people who come to enjoy, to relax!"