Cubs versus Cardinals Game 1: August 8th
You know you’re at a ballpark where the team is doing good when you arrive almost an hour and a half early and are still not one of the “first 10,000 fans” to get the giveaway. Of course, the Cubs have packed ’em in for years regardless of their record, but let’s just say when I go to a certain National League stadium located in a town known for its pork industry, I know I can show up right at the first pitch and am still likely to get my trinket ala sweat shop production line no problem. But enough about all that.
As I approached the Wrigley turnstiles for the first time in over two decades, it was as though I’d crossed over into a fantasy world. Sure, I get sentimental here and there, but this isn’t just some thirty something being wistful. It was sensory overload once again. There were too many people trying to get to wherever from 56 different directions. I wanted to walk around and check out the park, but it was one of the biggest series of the year and there was no room for doing anything leisurely unless you were already in your seat. With just that in mind, we found our seats with no problem at all.
I grimaced internally as two gentlemen sat in the aisle seats right next to us. They donned zero Cub attire and their hats showed shades of red. That instantly meant they were Cardinals fans to me. As it would turn out, one was a Red Sox fan and the other a Phillies fan and they were very friendly. They just wanted to see Wrigley Field. Can’t say I blamed them.
There was only a smattering of St. Louis fans here and there in the area we sat. The ones that were there were good-natured fans. I saw almost nothing in the way of attitude toward opposing teams’ supporters. The weather was absolutely perfect. The venders never seemed to leave our section. The wait for the men’s room wasn’t terrible. Oh, and there was a great game too. It was baseball heaven.
Before Friday, according to my recollection, I had never been to a Major League game that went into extra innings. I got the best Chicago Cubs game I’ve been to yet (though it’s easy to surpass the other ones). Jim Edmonds continued to ingratiate himself with the staunchest of unreasonable Cub fans with two homers and a diving defensive gem against the rival team that traded him to San Diego. The Cardinals kept it tight as we saw great pitching performances from both sides.
Curoiusly, Tony LaRusa, with runners at the corners and no one out, opted to walk the bases loaded when issuing an intentional pass to the hitless (0-for-4) Kosuke Fukudome which set the table for Henry Blanco to become the hero with his base hit in the 11th.
Instantly I was high-fiving with strangers time and time again. It was as it should’ve been.
I reiterate- baseball heaven.
Game 2 article coming soon…