Long before Steve Wilkos hosted his own talk show, which he has done for 10 years, he was a boy in Chicago growing up right down the street from Wrigley Field.
“I used to flip up the seats and all that, and the first day I had my show, my wife got me cuff links from seats from Wrigley,” the 52-year-old Wilkos recalled on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “She said you came a long way from flipping seats to being a talk-show host.”
So when the Cubs finally won the World Series this year, Wilkos, needless to say, was thrilled.
But it would have felt even better if the Cubs had won it all in his youth.
“It was kind of surreal for me to actually see the Cubs winning,” Wilkos said. “Listen, this is a great team. I met Anthony Rizzo, and I met a lot of these guys in spring training because I threw out a first pitch. Really nice guy. Joe Maddon, great guy. But it’s not as special if it would have happened as a kid. I’m really happy for my son because my son is a Cubs fan. He’s 11 years old. It’s much more magical for a child when your team wins a championship. For me, in 1972, if Billy Williams and Ron Santo and Fergie Jenkins would have won the World Series, (it would have been amazing) – because I was a kid.
“As you get older,” Wilkos continued, “you know this is a business, you know about contracts, some guys are not as nice. When you’re a kid, you only see them on TV. But then when you become an adult, you meet some of these guys and they’re just not very nice. I was super excited, and I waited my whole life for this. But would it have been more special when I was a kid? Yes – and if you would see the joy on my son’s face. Like Tiki says, when you get older and you know this is a business, and guys, they’re not paying for pure joy, it’s about the money. So yeah, it’s a little different.”
That said, Wilkos is happy the 2016 team broke the curse.
“In 2003, that was kind of a hard team to cheer for,” he said. “You had Sammy Sosa, who was just a bad guy. You had Moises Alou. (Sosa), it was (all) about him. I’m not saying any of these guys are bad, but he was a bad hero. Dexter Fowler, I met the guy. He’s the nicest guy in the world. (Jason) Heyward, (Kyle) Schwarber – all of them are just super nice guys. I remember even on that ’03 team, some of those guys (weren’t very nice). These guys that won, I’m really happy for all of them. . . . To be 52 and it finally happens, you do feel like almost like a weight comes off you – because everybody busts your balls (about how they haven’t won it in so long). So it finally happens and everybody’s like, ‘What about this next year?’ I don’t care. I’m going to watch because I’m a fan and I love the Cubs, but they won. And as long as I got one under my belt in my lifetime, I’m happy.”