This Wednesday will be 21st October 2015 – an auspicious date for those of us versed in the films of the 1980s, for that is the date on which the time-travelling DeLorean arrives in the year 2015 in Back to the Future Part II. I’m not going to go into a list of the predictions for what was then the future that the film-makers got right or wrong, but I am going to focus on a joke that was perhaps lost on British viewers – the bit where Marty McFly learns that in 2015, the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.
The joke is that the Cubs hadn’t, and still haven’t, won baseball’s annual championship since 1908 – the longest not-winning streak in American sporting history. Funny thing, though, because they are in fact in with a chance of winning it this year.
I’ve been following baseball with slightly more than a passing interest over the last couple of weeks. This is not because I needed a major sporting event to follow after England’s embarrassingly early exit from the Rugby World Cup but because, for the first time in over two decades, the Toronto Blue Jays have made it into the post-season play-offs (and it gets better on the Toronto sporting front; over at the football, Toronto FC have made the MLS play-offs for the first time ever).
Victory over the Texas Rangers (the final game was, shall we say, not without controversy) put them into the American League Championship Series, a best-of-seven affair against the Kansas City Royals that is to all intents and purposes the semi-final of the World Series. Whoever wins this will get to play against the winners of the National League – which will be either the New York Mets or the afore-mentioned Cubs.
This is in itself an interesting state of affairs, for none of those teams have won the World Series for over two decades (of the four, the last ones to do so were in fact the Blue Jays in 1993). In baseball terms, it looks as though 2015 is the year of the underdog.