Saturday, August 30, 2008


Nice game by the Cubbies yesterday which I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for. It was one of those perfect summer days in Wrigleyville that makes you happy you live in the city and reminds you why you put up with Chicago winters.

I'll get to the game in a minute, but yesterday was the first game all year at Wrigley were I really noticed a different feeling in the air outside of Wrigley. I was waiting on Addison about 30 minutes before first pitch for my wife and I was just mostly people watching and taking in the circus that is Wrigleyville on game day. In addition to the usual suspects: clueless tourists; visiting fans...of which there were a surprising many for the Phillies; drunken 20-somethings still pretending they're in college (I'm 30 now, so I can say that); endless snarled traffic; Cubs security guards making their rounds; even the Hi Guy; there was a surprising number of engaged "serious" Cubs fans. You could spot them in the crowd by that no-nonsense walk and look on their faces while walking up to gate. The walk says, "out of my way, I've been to Wrigley at least 100 times in my life, I just want to get to my seat". The look says, "Oh My God the Cubs are 34 games over .500! I am going to enjoy this with tepid excitement as it's still only August and I've been burned before, but this may actually be the year." It was best described as nervous excitement amongst some of the masses....and it was exciting to see. I haven't seen it since the '03 NLCS and it was kind of like being reacquainted with a long-lost friend.

On to the actual game. Another case of everybody chipping in and sharing the hero responsibilities: Marmol pitching a brilliant 1 2/3 to earn the save and bailing Samardzija out of a jam in the 8th (why was Samardzija pitching more than one inning anyways?) with 0Hs, 3ks and 0BBs; Soriano blasting a monster solo HR to give the Cubs their first and final lead of the game in the was only "measured" at 385 ft, but the wind was howling straight in, so for anybody to hit a HR out was amazing; 4 Cubs being patient and drawing walks from two different Philly pitchers in the 6th to tie up the score (thanks Eyre for walking in the tying run for the Cubs, ironically doing the Cubs the biggest service this year as a Philly. Somehow he then thought hanging out in the Cubs club house and players parking lot after the game was a good idea. I wonder what Charlie Manuel thinks about that?).

It was a game where Harden clearly didn't have his best stuff and I think, had his worst outing as Cub, but still kept them in the game giving up only 2 runs (only 1 earned) in 5 innings. Also, Fukudome made a rare error in RF with a bad throw to the cut off man that ended up costing the Cubs a run. I know he's made other errors this year, but this is the first one I've actually seen. The Cubs did get even by getting a gift run back from the Phillies in the bottom half of the 5th when the Phillies failed to convert a routine DP that would have ended the inning (Isn't that the worst scoring rule in baseball? You can't "assume" a double play, so you can't award an error on an attempted DP where at least one out is made? Really? I can't assume professional ball players will take a routine grounder to the second baseman, flip it to the shortstop covering 2nd and then throw to 1st before Blanco can get there?) But the Cubs kept it all together and still managed to find a way to fly the W flag on top of the scoreboard at the end. You knew it was going to be another low scoring affair with the wind blowing in, and except for Soriano's bomb, it was.

So all in all, a great day.

A few quick side notes about what I saw at the game. I set a personal record for seeing the most number of fake breasts at a Cubs game in my life (and I've been to about 1,000 Cubs games, so that's saying something). And I wasn't even in the bleachers! It was so ridiculous that my wife was even pointing them out to me as we both laughed and all the men around me in section 240 cheered them on. So, to the two women with the implants in the very appropriate Hooters outfits, the men in section 240 would like to say thank you.

I also saw a lady in my isle wearing a Prior jersey. Really? Isn't it time to retire that into your closet or give it to the Salvation Army? Not only was the guy a bust in every sense for the Cubs, but he also screwed the Cubs over by signing for the Padres last winter for less money even after the Cubs showed him nothing but loyalty over the year through all his injuries. I know, it's hard to admit you made a mistake by spending $150 on an authentic jersey with Prior's name on it....I even did it myself as evidenced by my Prior jersey hanging in the back of my closet never to be worn again. (I have since instituted a strict rule: no purchasing of any Cubs gear more than $20 with any active player's name on it. I either go no name at all, or with a classic Cub that has stood the test of time: Santo, Sandberg, etc.) Wearing a Prior jersey to a Cubs game in 2008 basically says, "Hello everybody, I either live in a far away suburb or I am from out of state. I say I'm a Cubs fan, but I couldn't name more than three players on this year's team and I don't know which team is in 2nd place behind the Cubs. But I sure do like to drink Old Style at Wrigley!"

After the game, walking down Sheffield I saw a rather large and muscular, belligerently drunk Cubs fan in a Santo jersey, berating any Phillies fan he saw to the point where if anybody dared to actually reply they might have actually been attacked. For a split second, I thought I was on the South Side outside of "The Cell", or whatever they're calling it these days.

I also saw a super-white-trash, drunk Phillies fan talking smack to Cubs fans waiting outside the players lot for autographs after the game. So many questions ran through my mind as he mentioned repeatedly the past 99 years in Cubs history. 1. Don't the Phillies have more losses than any other professional sports franchise in the world with more than 10,000? 2. You're heckling parents with their kids trying to meet their heroes and get an autograph? What's next, calling kids pussies as they are wheeled out of Children's Memorial Hospital? 3. You live in Philadelphia and you're talking trash to Chicagoans? 4. Haven't the Phillies only won 1 World Series Championship in their 125 year existence which is 1 less than the Cubs have won? 5. You're drunk and not that big, eventually if you keep berating people, somebody is going to kick your ass. (The last one was not a question, but my final conclusion on that guy).

Finally, a correction from my previous post 24. I mentioned that Kevin Mitchell made his famous bare handed catch vs. the Cubs in the 89 NLCS. I was wrong (shows you how the memory shapes things to what you want to remember after a few years). He made that catch in a regular season game in 89 vs. the Cardinals off of Ozzie Smith. Thanks to several readers for keeping my facts straight.


Anonymous said...

prior an absolute bust in every sense of the word? That is a bit of an overstatement. Cubs win the bartman game there is a good chance we put Prior et al up there with the 85 bears. Cubs need to slow down too, I have tix to 9/19.

Anonymous said...

I have season tickets for the Cubs, and have for many years. Many of your observations are precisely why I stopped going to Wrigley and sell my tickets to the Prior jersey wearing fans for ridiculous sums of cash. What is happening in the stands down at Clark & Addison has very little to do with baseball these days. I would love to know how many scorecards are even being sold any more. Why do they even bother? I almost never see anyone keeping a scorecard any more.
Drink up Cub Fans. You are making the beer companies, the players, and me all that much more money. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Whatever....stop drinking the beer, dont have fun...everyone take baseball seriously...why? So what if people have fun and drink and make it a party atmosphere. Christ, for most people they slug it out monday thru friday doin a job they really dont enjoy and yes i know some people love their work. And then God forbid they go to a cubs game and cut loose. Wow they really do suck. Ill take 40000 having fun over 10000 busy scribbling into a scorecard. by the way what the hell do you do with a scorecard at the end of a game? its as valuable as the beer that gets pissed into the troughs at wrigley if you ask me.

Unknown said...

At Saturday's game I was definitely one of the serious "I've been here 20 times already this summer and I just want to get to my seat and see my Cubbies win their 8th in a row" people, but I just gotta talk about this blonde woman in a Pat Burrell jersey sitting right next to the Phillies dugout who tried to start shit every single time anyone heckled any Philly batter. I know some people LOVE their baseball team, but when you're by yourself and trying to start shit with the home fans who easily outnumber you, you're asking for embarrassment. I actually saw this woman trying to fight her way into the men's bathroom to talk back to some guy who was talking shit to her while a Wrigley Field security guard held her back. They can say we haven't won a World Series in 100 years, but they were the first to 10,000 losses. NONE OF US SHOULD CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS ABOUT US CUBS FANS OR OUR TEAM, WE'VE GOT THE BEST RECORD IN THE MAJORS !!!!! GO CUBBIES!!!!