The 2017 major league baseball season gets underway April 2 as the Chicago Cubs begin the defense of their World Series title against the archrival St. Louis Cardinals (8:30 p.m., ESPN). Here are five memorable Cubbie-related TV moments:
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (Nov. 5, 2016) At the end of “Weekend Update,” three members of the world champs (Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler and David Ross), joined by Cub superfan Bill Murray and dressed as a barbershop quartet, sang a rousing version of the team’s anthem, “Go Cubs Go.” (The players later appeared in another skit, “Surprise Bachelorette,” as male strippers.)
PARKS AND RECREATION (Jan. 13, 2015) The final season of the show took place two years hence, in 2017. In the season’s second episode, Tom (Aziz Ansari) and Andy (Chris Pratt) went to Chicago to catch up with Lucy (Natalie Morales). As they walked around the city, Lucy told them, “Obviously everyone’s in a really great mood now because of the Cubs winning the Series.”
UNCLE BUCK (Oct. 1, 1990) On this spinoff of the movie, Buck (Kevin Meaney) won a contest that let him provide color commentary with legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray (appearing as himself) during the ninth inning. (Caray was also memorably impersonated by Will Ferrell on “SNL.”)
MR. BELVEDERE (Sept. 16, 1989) Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks, appeared in an episode of the ABC sitcom that starred former major league catcher-turned-broadcaster Bob Uecker as sports writer George Owens. The plot had the butler Belvedere (Christopher Hewett) arranging to bring several baseball greats (besides Banks, there was Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson and Johnny Bench) to show up at George’s daughter’s baseball game.
MARRIED . . . WITH CHILDREN (June 14, 1987) The infamous Steve Bartman incident wouldn’t take place for another 16 years, but this episode of the Fox sitcom was eerily prescient: Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal) told daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) that Al (Ed O’Neill) can no longer attend Cubs games because he was banned from Wrigley Field for fan interference, which kept the Cubs out of the World Series.