Linda Isebrand used to go to Wrigley Field with her dad. He'd leave her brothers at home, and father would teach daughter the intricacies of the game. She learned how to keep score during those Chicago summers, filling in the boxes with meticulous symbols and carrying on the legacy of the Wrigley faithful.
Brantt Isebrand, her husband, had a great-uncle who was at Wrigley in 1932 when Babe Ruth called his shot. Brantt still holds a grudge against the Mets for 1969, when the Cubs collapsed in September and the Mets -- 10 games out on Aug. 14 -- completed an 18-game turnaround.
And then there's Sean Isebrand, 16, who doesn't much remember the last time the Cubs were in the playoffs (it was 2008). He was with his family for the Mets' 4-2 victory over the Cubs in NLCS Game 1 Saturday night.
"It's generational," Brantt said before the game. "My son, it's his first time seeing them in the playoffs, so if something special happens and they do it this year, we want to be part of it."
The Isebrands live in Rhode Island now but made the three-hour trip to Citi Field after scoring tickets on a secondary market site. And though they were excited to see their team begin its quest to make the World Series for the first time since 1945, nothing, they said, compares to the Wrigley experience.
"The ballpark is magical," Brantt said. "Out of all the ballparks we see, there's just something special there. I feel like a kid again. It's just a warm, really good feeling."
Added Linda: "It's like good things are going to happen."
The Cubs haven't won since 1908, a drought that isn't exactly a badge of honor, but the Cubs and their fans have worn it well. "It's taught us to be patient," Brantt said, "and not to ever take anything for granted."
And if their time finally has come?
"It would be hard to describe," he said. "I have no idea what that's going to feel like or what that ultimately means . . . but to shake it all off would be great."