INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A call for Cubs crazies rang out over Twitter as the club announced it would chose 20 fans to help present World Series rings to the 2016 championship team.
A pair from Central Indiana made the cut, as 86-year-old Erv Schreiber of Indianapolis and 48-year-old Tom Wakefield of Brownsburg will join the team on the field before Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers in the ring presentation ceremony.
"When you think of the number of people that would have sent in (entries), what chance do I have?" speculated Schreiber.
"If you ever want to know what faith hope and patience looks like," he continued, "you're looking at it. I'm a Cub fan. That should tell you."
"I literally thought they were just pulling a joke," said Wakefield, looking back on when he found out the Cubs had chosen him. "I'm not Erv, I'm not 86 and waiting for this thing to happen. So I kind of look at it (as) I'm gonna represent the average Joe."
From the average to the most long-suffering fans, every fan was nominated for this honor. Tom's wife Melissa helped put together his video while grandson Paul Schreiber was the brains behind Erv's.
"Kinda Willy Wonka odds of winning," said Paul, "but I felt like with Grandpa's story and his history, I thought the source material was pretty rich."
Even a quick glance around Erv Schreiber's home will prove Paul's point. A signed Cubs Ron Santo jersey hangs on his wall, as do multiple pictures of Wrigley Field. A replica of a brick at Wrigley marked by his name sits alongside family pictures of trips to the north side of Chicago for games. Perhaps the most unique souvenir is a Cubs champagne bottle from 1984, when the team fell to the Padres in the NLCS. Erv saved the bottle for 32 years before popping it open last November upon the Cubs win.
Though I write "popped," Schreiber says there really was no pop to the aged bottle, but he wouldn't let that stop him.
"Put it up to our lips and said 'Here's to the Cubs!' Man, that tasted like pure vinegar. But we did it! It was the Cubs winning the World Series."
Instead of collecting a new piece to join a collection, Schreiber and Wakefield will next be giving one away: A ring to a champion, on the grass at Wrigley Field.
"I hope I don't throw up quite frankly," laughed Wakefield. "No, it's gonna be amazing. Obviously, I've been to Wrigley Field before, but to go down to the field and to meet a player or a coach, and quite frankly I don't care if it's the water boy. I'm there."
"I can just imagine," added Schreiber, "what Kris Bryant, or Javier Baez, (Kyle) Schwarber, young fellas that've witnessed this in their introduction into the Major Leagues, what must be going through them?"
He paused ever so slightly, just enough for a smile to creep on his lips, before continuing.
"I have a slight feeling I know what it's about."