You Will Consult Biff Tannen’s Sports Almanac
Prepare to enter Back to the Future’s future: a 2015 where the Cubs dominate, the boards hover, and the sleeves are very shiny.
By Chris Suellentrop
If you were a baseball fan, and especially if you were this baseball fan, the putatively miserable 2014 was actually nothing short of amazing. The laughable Kansas City Royals—the team I watched win the World Series in 1985 when I was 10 years old, and thus mated with for life like a child bride, only to see my beloved spiral into a self-inflicted quarter century as a mixture of Ray Rice and the hobo who says “It’s!” at the beginning of Monty Python’s Flying Circus—won the American League championship and captured the sport’s imagination for a few weeks in October. It was like Bob Dylan’s return to glory at the end of the 1980s. Or maybe it wasn’t like Dylan. Maybe it was like when the Monkees showed up in reruns on MTV in the 1980s.
Anyway, the point is: 2015 is going to be even better. The Chicago Cubs, a team that has not been to the World Series in 70 years, not since the year World War II ended, and that has not won the title in 107 years (it was 1908, when Theodore Roosevelt was president), are going to win it all. Las Vegas puts the Cubs’ odds at a measly 12–1.
Don’t believe me? I could throw some baseball facts at you about their manager, their general manager, and their left-handed pitching. But the real evidence can be found in the oracle that is Back to the Future Part 2: The Cubs’ 2015 championship in that movie inspires Marty McFly to buy the sports almanac at the center of the plot.
Great Scott! Will new Cubs pitcher Jon Lester adopt the nickname “Mr. Fusion” or “The 1.21st Gigawatt”? Will Wrigley Field institute an “Enchantment Under the Sea”-themed seventh-inning stretch? Could Doc Brown submit the lineup card for Game 1 via telegram from the Old West?
And if the Cubs of all teams can win it all, who knows what else has been foreordained for 2015 by Robert Zemeckis’s unheralded masterwork? Flying cars! Holographic Jaws sequels! Fashions that involve metallic fabrics, ridiculously long sleeves, and mismatched sporting equipment! When the Cubs’ relievers ride a DeLorean—or better yet, a hoverboard—to the mound on Opening Day this April, you’ll know for sure that the fix is in. Bookmakers in Vegas, don’t take Biff Tannen’s bet.
Chris Suellentrop is the founding editor of The New York Review of Video Games.