This is a public call to anyone who has no rooting interest in the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs.
This year, we need you to care, and here is why:
If the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, the movie Back to the Future II, released in 1989, will have predicted the future.
This would be the most important sports story of all time, for more than one reason.
The Cubs are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Because of the new rules allowing for two wild card teams, the Cubs will play the Pittsburgh Pirates for a one-game play-in contest Oct. 7 in Pittsburgh.
Should the Cubs advance past the Pirates, win a divisional playoff series, win the league championship and then win the World Series, it will be the first time the Cubs have won a World Series since 1908, 107 years ago.
Yeah, OK, big deal. What matters is Back to the Future II.
For those who have not seen the movie (and, really, please explain yourself if that includes you), Marty McFly uses a time machine to fly from 1985 to 2015 to save his future children. This is the sequel to Back to the Future, which saw McFly travel from 1985 to 1955 mostly on accident.
In one of the early scenes from 2015 (depicted from 25 years prior to that year, of course) a huge 3-D video screen sitting high above downtown Hill Valley shows a sports report.
“Sports Flash’’, the screen reads. Then, in single screen shots, the words “Cubs”, “Win”, “World Series”, “Sweep”, “Miami”, and finishes with “Way to Go Cubbies.”
It is that moment, when an old man tells McFly he wishes he had a time machine so he could go back to spring and place a bet on the Cubs, which is the motor that runs the rest of that episode in the trilogy.
And to the nitpickers who say “The Cubs can’t beat Miami, because there is no Miami team, and the Florida Marlins are in the National League anyway” I say ‘phooey’. You try predicting the future and get all the details correct.
The scene is interesting from many perspectives. Robert Zemeckis, the director of the film, is from Chicago, born in 1952. He would have been 37 in 1989 when the Cubs – with Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe and Andre Dawson on the roster – won the National League East Division only to lose to the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship series 4-1.
That is the closest the Cubs have been to the World Series since their famed collapse in 1969 when they let an 8 ½ game lead slide and finished seven games out of first place in the N.L. East.
Being from the Chicago area, and a huge fan of the first Back to the Future film, I saw the movie in a theatre in the suburbs and when the Cubs scene appeared, it got a huge laugh. And applause. The movie came out about one month after the Cubs were eliminated from the playoffs, and Cubdom has a very long memory anyway.
For the fans of 1989, 2015 was only 26 short years away, and they were willing to hope that the dream of the future film would come true.
AND IT CAN!
There are other details Back to the Future II got correct. Marty’s self-tying vacuum Nike shoes have been invented, biometrics allow people to protect homes and offices with eye and fingerprint scans. Google-glass type eyewear and blue tooth technology are all predicted.
But of all those inventions, the wackiest suggestion to come out of Back to the Future II is that the Cubs would one day win the World Series. After all, since that 1989 film, the Cubs have only been to the playoffs four times. They have not won the World Series since around the time moving pictures were invented.
But they are back in this year, and a Cubs win solidifies Back to the Future II as the greatest futuristic film of all time.
As if we didn’t already know that.