I was at that disaster they called a ballgame last night at Wrigley Field. I drove 700 miles round-trip, ate at McDonalds twice – okay that isn’t much of a hardship, I like McDonalds – exhausted myself and spent a fortune on gas. And for what? Nothing. That’s what.
Well, not nothing. I did get to attend a playoff game in Wrigley Field. I never in a million years thought I would get a chance to do that. I’m sure this counts as a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was worth it. It was amazing. It was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done.
My sister got the tickets last week and invited me to join her. I pulled the kids out of school and we drove to Chicago yesterday. We arrived at her house mid-afternoon. The kids played with their cousins and my sister and I prepared for battle. The babysitter arrived at 6:30 and we made our way to the El station. There was no way on earth we were going to try to drive to Wrigleyville. That would have been insane.
We had excellent train karma and arrived at Clark & Addison about an hour before game time. Since we had a little time to spare we decided to walk around the park a bit soaking up the atmosphere.
It was great. Everybody was happy, everybody was excited, and everybody was optimistic. There were vendors everywhere selling everything from peanuts to signs saying “Cubtober” and “It’s gonna happen” to t-shirts, hats and stuffed animals wearing t-shirts and hats.
When we turned our tickets over and walked into the grandstands my hands were shaking. I had to take a minute to get my tickets safely into my pocket. We took a few more minutes to walk around under the grandstand. The crowds were huge, but good natured and happy to be there. Finally, after a trip to the main gift shop behind home plate we went to our seats in the bleachers.
The bleachers were pandemonium. They don’t usually assign seats out there; it’s normally general admission. But for the playoffs they do assign seats. However, since this is unusual, not even the ushers always know where you are supposed to be. S and I got sent to the wrong section the first time around, and finally got it right on our second try with our second usher.
I have only sat in the bleachers once before and that was an April game. The only thing I remember about that game is it was freezing. I did not have a good time. I did not want to make that same mistake again, so I wore Tom’s bright yellow parka. Coincidentally, S was also wearing a bright yellow parka. We matched. Isn’t that cute? Our mom was pleased because she thought it would make us easier to find in the crowd shots.
Our seats were fantastic. There are no obstructions and you can see the whole field. Plus Wrigley is so small it feels very intimate out there, and you are right on top of the outfielders.
Wrigley Field looks amazing at night all lit up. It is breathtaking it is so beautiful. I will post my pictures soon. You can see the lights of the skyline off to your right (from our seats) and the grass is almost supernaturally green. Even the lights themselves are pretty.
The crowd was friendly, which was a good thing because they packed us in butt-cheek to butt-cheek. It reminded me very much of being in Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend for those of you who know what that’s like.
Everybody sang along to the National Anthem and I got all choked up. It gets me every time I go to a ballgame. The crowd was cheering and chanting, “Let’s go Z” when the Cubs took the field. And the first inning was amazing. We had the good Zambrano and nobody reached base. He even struck out Manny Ramirez. Manny Ramirez! The crowd was on its feet constantly shouting and chanting all manner of things from the classic “Let’s go Cubbies” to just “Z! Z! Z!” I was already hoarse by the bottom of the first.
Of course in the second inning the wheels came off completely. And that is all I have to say about that. Really, why spoil a perfectly good post?
The Cubs did an excellent job of taking the fans out of the game, but the bleacher bums persevered, at least for a while, singing along with the PA and shouting unkind things at the Dodgers outfielders. We tried, we really did.
So even though the game went to hell in a hand basket I had a great time. I think S did too. But as the game went on she got more and more angry and I got more and more depressed.
After Billy Williams sang the Seventh Inning Stretch we made a momentous decision. We decided to leave. Normally I would never leave a game before the final out. However, we thought maybe, just maybe if we left they would rally and we would miss the greatest single game comeback in postseason history. It was a sacrifice we were willing to make.
Apparently we weren’t the only fans who had this idea because the El platform was mobbed. We decided to get a cab instead. We walked under the El tracks toward the Waveland Golf course and nabbed one. We even made it home in time to see the bottom of the ninth. Oh, goody.
This morning we got up, saw my two oldest nephews off to school and then drove back to Iowa. Now, I am so tired I can hardly type. I think perhaps we will order a pizza, completing the junk food home run derby.