What a great trip to Chicago in spite of the crappy game we saw against the Reds on Thursday but the Cubs came back on Friday beating the Giants 3-1 in a thriller. As I mentioned in the last blog my dad and I went along with the Hohokams on their annual trip, which meant we saw two games at Wrigley Field (last Thursday and Friday).
Hey-hey, I’m at Wrigley
Those two games were vastly different experiences for us and not just because of the outcomes. In the Cubs 12-7 loss to the Reds we were in the center field suite, it’s a nice set-up with lots of room and fantastic catered food and drink. The trouble is you are in this hermetically sealed room with no feel for actually being at a ballgame and no outside seating. It’s more like a small bar with a great view but you can barley even hear the 40 thousand plus fans when they cheer after something exciting happens. Sure we stayed dry when it rained that day but I felt disconnected from Wrigley Field and the fans. The fact that the game lasted three hours and fifteen minutes and the Reds blasted Cubs pitchers for 7 HR’s didn’t help.
A day earlier we were in the hermetically sealed black box
After Thursdays black box experience Friday was like being at another completely different ballpark, we had seats in section 122 behind home plate slightly towards the first base side. I looked at the starting lineup for the Cubs on Friday and saw Daryle Ward, Reed Johnson, and Mark DeRosa manning the outfield with Marquis the starting pitcher and was a bit apprehensive, then remembered the Cubs were facing the Giants. The game was a pitchers duel with Jason Marquis shutting down the Giants, the Cubs didn’t break thru until the 8th when Aramis Ramirez hit a game winning 3 run HR. The game was even better for my dad and me because we sat for one inning in the first row behind the Cubs dugout; (courtesy of a friend of the Hohokams) those are simply amazing seats. We were also treated like kings over at Bernie’s Bar before the game, a huge thank you to all those who made that happen.
A-Ram as seen from the front row
A-Ram takes a curtain call after 8th inning HR
The other hero of Fridays win Jason Marquis
If you’ve never been to a Friday day game at Wrigley, put it on your list of things to do in life, it’s baseball meets Disney World. I know all games at Wrigley are special but Fridays just rock! This was my dad’s first time ever at Wrigley; he’s a fun loving guy from Irish American roots who has been known to bend an elbow on occasion. For him Wrigleyville was as if he’d found Shangri-La.
I’ve been to many of the bars around Wrigley but hadn’t been to Murphy’s Bleachers so that was a must this time. We stopped into Murphy’s prior to Thursday’s game only to hear the song “Friends and Family” playing on the sound system. While it certainly is a cool song and one Cubs fans can relate to, it has special meaning for me as my cousin Tracy played guitar in the band (Trick Turner) that made and recorded the song. Several years back I put the song on a mix CD that gets played at Hohokam every spring training. Murphy’s is a very cool pub and much bigger inside than it looks from the outside. At Murphy’s we met and chatted with some very nice ladies who had come to the game with there senior center, they had tales about bringing the kids to “ladies day” back when and were keen on swapping other Cubs stories.
Murphy’s Bleachers after Thursday rain
Pops and I got the chance to go on the field prior to Thursday’s game as the Hohokam group had their photo taken; I had one of the Hohokams take a shot of me and my dad on the field. That day ended up being a gathering of many of the Hohokam Stadium spring training crew at Wrigley as Stadium Manager Dave Dunne and Hohokam organist George Kiefer along with me and about 25 Hohokams all were in attendance. Robert Brinton the Hohokam Groups newly elected “Big Ho” (how’s that for a title) talked with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly on WGN about spring training during the 3d inning of Thursdays game. Len Kasper was gracious enough to mention that we were at the ballpark and that my dad was attending his first game at Wrigley. The excitement and level of electricity in and around Wrigley was unbelievable, especially sitting in the stands on Friday…you just knew that one of the players was going to come through and the Cubs would win it.
Pops and me on the hallowed Wrigley sod
So here we are at the All-Star break with the Cubs sporting the best record in baseball (tied with Angels) with Soriano due back soon and Rich Harden in the rotation…it should be one hell of a second half. Being a Cubs fan the optimism is always somewhat guarded but I’ll tell you what, I plan on being back at Wrigley to see the Cubs play this October! Enjoy tonight’s Cubs game…er…uh…I mean All-Star game. T
Took this shot of Mike Fontenot while sitting in the front row