Song, by Steve Goodman from 1983, spinning a ripping-good yarn expressing the last moments of, as the title suggests, a dying Cubs fan, and his final requests. It can be counted among the many (albeit lesser, perhaps) traditions that help us die-hard Cubbie fans start another season filled with hope (until, usually, early July).

As I understand it, the song was first heard on WGN, an AM radio station in Chicago - I believe it was on the Roy Leonard show. Steve was in town for a concert the previous evening, and had actually debuted the song the night before. Nevertheless, the real debut, in essence, was that fateful day when he and his guitar presented the following gem near and dear to my heart, and to a great many Cubs fan:

By the shores of old Lake Michigan
Where the "hawk wind" blows so cold
An old Cubs fan lay dying
In his midnight hour that tolled
'Round his bed, his friends had all gathered
They knew his time was short
And on his head they put this bright blue cap
From his all-time favorite sport
He told them, "It's late and it's getting dark in here
And I know it's time to go
But before I leave the lineup
Boys, there's just one thing I'd like to know

"Do they still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around
When the snow melts away,
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy-covered burial ground
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"

He told his friends "You know the law of averages says:
Anything will happen that can"
That's what it says
"But the last time the Cubs won a National League pennant
Was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan
The Cubs made me a criminal
Sent me down a wayward path
They stole my youth from me
(that's the truth)
I'd forsake my teachers
To go sit in the bleachers
In flagrant truancy

"And then one thing led to another
And soon I'd discovered alcohol, gambling, dope,
Football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis.
But what do you expect,
When you raise up a young boy's hopes
And then just crush 'em like so many paper beer cups.
Year after year after year
after year, after year, after year, after year, after year
'Til those hopes are just so much popcorn
For the pigeons beneath the 'El' tracks to eat
He said, "You know I'll never see Wrigley Field, anymore
Before my eternal rest
So if you have your pencils and your scorecards ready,
I'll read you my last request"

He said, "Give me a double-header funeral in Wrigley Field
On some sunny weekend day - no lights
Have the organ play the "National Anthem"
and then a little 'na, na, na, na, hey hey, hey, Goodbye'
Make six bullpen pitchers carry my coffin
and six groundskeepers clear my path
Have the umpires bark me out at every base
In all their holy wrath
It's a beautiful day for a funeral,
Hey Ernie, let's play two!
Somebody go get Jack Brickhouse to come back,
and conduct just one more interview
Have the Cubbies run right out into the middle of the field,
Have Keith Moreland drop a routine fly
Give everybody two bags of peanuts and a frosty malt
And I'll be ready to die

"Build a big fire on home plate out of your Louisville Slugger baseball bats,
And toss my coffin in
Let my ashes blow in a beautiful snow
From the prevailing 30-mile-an-hour southwest wind
When my last remains go flying over the left field wall
I'll bid the Bleacher Bums adíeu
And I will come to my final resting place,
Out on Waveland Avenue

The dying man's friends told him to cut it out
They said stop it that's an awful shame
He whispered, "Don't Cry, we'll meet by and by
Near the Heavenly Hall of Fame"
He said, "I've got season tickets to watch the Angels now,
So it's just what I'm going to do
But you the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs,
So it's me that feels sorry for you!"

And he said, "Ahh Play, play that lonesome losers tune,
That's the one I like the best"
And he closed his eyes, and slipped away
What we got is the Dying Cub Fan's Last Request
And here it is

Do they still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around
When the snow melts away,
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy-covered burial ground
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

Now, as a brief editorial, I have never understood exactly why he referenced the singing of 'na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, Goodbye' in a song about the Cubs, because it's a tradition of the Chicago White Sox, not the Cubs. But, aside from that, it's still a nice little tune. And, really, you don't have to be a Cubs fan to enjoy it. A Cubs detractor will probably enjoy it just as much from a more "anti-Cub" point of view.

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The lyrics above are used w/ permission of Steve Goodman and Oh Boy Records, much to my personal delight (and I've got the email to prove it!). Also, a sizable word of thanks to both arieh and Teiresias for helping making this post possible, and a quick genuflection to Halspal for being my first cooler (which sounds really fruity, but is nonetheless true).

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