By Bob Reinert/USAG Natick Public AffairsOctober 27, 2016
NATICK, Mass. (Oct. 27, 2016) -- First Lieutenant Marissa Spitz has been a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, but the only way she can visit her beloved Wrigley Field during their first trip to the World Series since 1945 is in her dreams.
Instead of feasting her eyes on the lush, Ivy-covered confines of Wrigley -- where she has been a season ticket holder since 2011 -- Spitz will spend the series in the more barren environs of Kuwait, where she is deployed as an Army Reservist serving as executive officer for the 456th Area Support Medical Company out of Somersworth, N.H.
"We are currently deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve," said Spitz, who in civilian life is a research physiologist and project manager with the Biological Science and Technology Team, Warfighter Directorate, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. "The unit's mission is to be a part of the medical assets throughout the area of responsibility and we currently have teams of Soldiers in different locations, augmenting other medical units."
The 32-year-old Spitz, who grew up in Skokie, Illinois, just north of Chicago, joined a group including her brother David that acquired four season tickets five years ago.
"His wait list number was called up in 2010," Spitz recalled. "We decided to go in (on) them together with a few friends, in the hopes that within a decent time period we could see our Cubbies play in the playoffs and World Series."
That time has come, but it finds Spitz nearly 7,000 miles away, watching the games on television at Morale, Welfare and Recreation in the middle of the night. She has yet to find any other fellow Cubs fans.
"So the atmosphere was quiet, which is hard for me because of all of the emotions I have during these games," Spitz said. "I'm hoping with each game, there is more interest and maybe I'll find those other fans somewhere. It's tough at that time because Soldiers in other units typically have PT in the morning, or work night shifts, so if they are watching, it might be in their office or hooch."
Meanwhile, taking her place back at Wrigley in Aisle 233, Row 10 along the right-field line for the first game in Chicago Friday night will be Spitz's other brother, Danny.
"He is just as big of a Cubs fan," said Spitz of Danny, "and I'm really excited that (he and David) will both be there together."
She and her siblings grew up as Cubs fans, of course.
"As a child I remember my entire family loving the Cubs among the other Chicago sports teams, except the White Sox, of course," Spitz said. "The first game I remember going to at Wrigley was opening day in 1994. That day was special because it was my dad's birthday, and a Cub at the time, Tuffy Rhodes, hit three home runs that game."
Spitz's fondness for the Cubs grew when she left for Ithaca College in 2002 and the Cubs made a playoff run the following year.
"I remember watching the games at school in upstate New York with a girlfriend who was also from my hometown," Spitz said. "We cried together when the Cubs lost in the (National League Championship Series). I got more into baseball as the years went on, and especially when I moved to Texas for graduate school."
While she was attending graduate school at Texas Christian University, she and her boyfriend traveled to see three Cubs' games in St. Louis.
"One of his friends worked for the Cardinals at the time, and she was able to get us on the field for Cubs' batting practice," Spitz said. "To see the players that close up and to say 'Hi' to them was an amazing feeling."
It would not be her only chance to walk on a Major League diamond. In Game 1 of the 2013 World Series, when she was an enlisted Soldier assigned to the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, she served as part of color guard at Fenway Park in Boston for the 8-1 Red Sox win over those same Cardinals.
When she's not deployed, Spitz attends as many as a half-dozen Cubs games each year at Wrigley.
"Last season, I was at a game with both of my brothers and another friend," said Spitz, "and we saw Kris Bryant's first ever walk-off home run."
Spitz didn't waver in her support after the Cubs' first-game loss to Cleveland in this year's World Series.
"My outlook definitely hasn't changed, the Cubs are surely the better team in all aspects," Spitz said. "They have more depth in each component of the team, based on my not-so-expert analysis."
Indeed, the Cubs rebounded to win Game 2, 5-1, Wednesday to send the series to Chicago tied 1-1. Spitz won't be there, but she has no doubt that she will someday settle into her seat at Wrigley for a World Series game.
"This team is set up for success for several more years," Spitz said. "I definitely have high hopes for next year and in the years to come. I don't think it will take another lifetime, unless some other curse is bestowed upon the team."