HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Anne Doherty would have loved this.
Or, depending on your answer-in-the-form-of-a-question for the final jeopardy round of What-Comes-After-This, perhaps it would be more proper to say she is loving this.
Her boys, her team, her Cleveland Indians. Playing in a can-you-believe-it World Series. Home-field advantage and all.
And while all World Series are historic in a sense, the one about to unfold over the next week or so will be one that folks will remember regardless of the outcome, thanks in large part to the Curse of the Cubs and billy goats and Slats Grobnik and a century-plus of suffering Chicago baseball fans.
Anne Doherty would relate to that. The suffering. She'd get it.
But she'd more admire the resolve of a team that many didn't give two figs for its chances of playing on baseball's biggest stage.
Not after losing its second- and third-best starting pitchers to injury in the last month of the regular season.
Not after its No. 4 starter stood on the pitcher's mound, dripping blood from a finger mauled in what has become known as the Drone incident.
Not after having to start a kid left-hander a day after losing for the first time in the playoffs and seeing him come through in biggest moment of his baseball life.
Anne Doherty likely would have teared up, reveling in the guts and the grit, the intelligence and initiative, the saavy, and in the end, the success of her team.
Her Cleveland Indians.
For if nothing else _ though there was much, much more _ Anne Doherty was nothing if not a fighter.
She loved sports, especially her Indians and Ohio State Buckeyes.
While one did not miss the annual clash between OSU and That School Up North, her Indians were a summer-long companion, welcomed in the spring and then bid farewell with the first changing leaves of the fall.
The memory is visceral: a red-leather-encased transistor radio crackling with the voice of Herb Score while she tended to her rose bushes in the backyard under a sunset sky smeared in purples and oranges and reds and yellows, courtesy of the rubber plants of Akron, Ohio.
Often, the television was tuned to UHF Channel 43 to pick up Mudcat Grant and Harry Jones calling the games.
Cable made reception better, and eventually,satellite brought all 162 games into her home.
While she shared lean year after lean year with her team, the Cleveland Indians became her companions through some tough years of her own.
Breast cancer was diagnosed in the early 80s, an evil she fought for more than 25 years through the pain and misery of repeated radiation and chemotherapy, continually casting it down, only to see its insidious return again and again.
The Indians were there. Always.
Down the stretch, over her final year or so, they were a bright spot in her day, as she watched her boys, her team, her Indians, from a hospital bed in her living room.
In her final days, they were there with her family in her room at the hospice, and in the end, among the other items she took to her final resting spot was a Cleveland Indians cap.
So, Anne Doherty would have loved this, this team that bucked the odds, that never quit, that overcame time and time again.
This is her kind of team. These are her boys. These are her beloved Indians.
She'd be so happy, so proud.
Wish you were, Mom, to see this, but maybe, just maybe, you can.
And, hell, maybe, just maybe, you pulled a few strings along the way so that we could.