Plot points may be revealed below.
Lauren bursts eagerly into her mom, Nessa’s, apartment: they’re supposed to be headed to the Cubs’ all-important playoff game together. But instead, she finds Nessa’s personal care aide RJ. He has no idea where Nessa is.
Lauren is in her 30’s, Chicago born and raised; but she lives in New York now, pursuing a career far from her mom, who recently suffered a stroke. The two used to bond over Cubs games; and though Lauren doesn’t visit much, she’s remained a loyal fan through the team’s never-ending bad luck, clinging to her family’s precious heirloom: a jersey signed by legendary player Johnny Evers. She heads to the game, sure she’ll find her mom there, when she spots a piece of paper: it’s a play that Nessa has been writing. “For my daughter,” the introduction reads, “who I miss more and more each day…”
In a scene from Nessa’s play, we see a young, fast-talking Evers give the jersey to Nessa’s grandmother in 1906. And as the show continues, we’ll see more of the play: Evers, 56, mourning his daughter’s death; and Evers, 64 and stroke-afflicted, declaring his love for his nurse.
Lauren returns frantically: she can’t find her mom. She runs back out, RJ follows her—and while they search, the Cubs lose.
Later that night, RJ carries Lauren home, drunk and bleeding (she had thrown a fit at the cops and lost her shoe). “I bleed Cubbie blue,” she insists, “until the day I die.” No matter how much the team breaks her heart, she’ll keep hoping. Then RJ reveals a secret: Nessa had declared her love for him, and he turned her down cold. Later that afternoon, she was gone. Lauren is shocked. She vows to be a “daughter first,” and move back to Chicago for her mom.
Six months later, Lauren’s learned more about the disappearance: Nessa’s ticket was never scanned at the ballpark. And before she vanished, she withdrew $25,000 in cash. RJ suggests a tough, but honest, possibility: Nessa didn’t disappear. She left, empowered to take charge of her life in the few years she still had. She couldn’t take more heartbreak—from her daughter, from RJ, from the Cubs—so she acted for herself alone. Lauren understands, but still hopes for her return.
She invites RJ to the Cubs’ home opener, though she knows he doesn’t truly believe the team will ever win big again. “We won the first game of the season,” she pleads. “We’re undefeated. This could be the year. Don’t you want to be a part of that?” But RJ is reluctant.
Lauren heads to Wrigley field, takes her seat, and waits hopefully for someone to join her.