Ok so I lied, I haven’t been here in a couple of weeks. I have however been to several Cubs games, all of which they lost. I headed to the home opener, the day after the home opener and then this past week I got to attend the 100th anniversary of Wrigley party. All of these experiences were amazing; despite the fact that I may be bad luck for my dearly beloved Cubs.
I was ill prepared for the home opener weekend. I brought a fairly warm Cubs hoodie but no jacket or gloves, and let me tell you it was cold, like really really cold. My Aunt, yes Auntie E flew in from Jersey and met me at Midway. The weekend was fantastic despite the Cub’s loses, we headed to Rick Bayless’ restaurant, Frontera Grill and it was excellent. Really great authentic Mexican food, I’d recommend it to anyone, but I’d also recommend making a reservation, as it is super popular.
Opening Day at Wrigley was something to see, it seemed that no one in the vicinity of Wrigleyville had a job. We arrived to the stadium early and the streets and local bars were filled with fans, t-shirt salesmen and scalpers. We stopped in for a few beers at the Goose Island of Wrigleyville which was as packed as the street outside, wall to wall people, barely a way to catch the bartenders eye, but it was great being around so many brothers in arms for opening day. In through the main gate of the stadium, make a right, and climb the ramps to the 400 section, right next to the Wrigley Rooftop is my section, 416, one of the best in Wrigley, if you believe the recent Tribune article that is. I swear to you over the course of two days at least 5 foul balls were hit in the vicinity of my seats. They really are great, awesome view of the city, the field, and some great neighbors and great beer guys; I’ve gotta say hats off to Gary and Don the beer vendors of the section, especially Don who for some insane reason was wearing shorts! Despite the loss and the ridiculous cold, so cold I couldn’t finish all my beers, which is pretty much insane, it was a great day; but then again any day at Wrigley is.
Game 2 of the first homestead looked like the day would be milder on the cold front, and it was, but about a half a degree. It was sunny and pleasant enough down on the street but the wind kicked up something nasty by the 3rd inning and we were hiding out and not finishing beers again. Once again my Cubs lost because, why wouldn’t they, I only spent an ass-load of money on season tickets, why win when I’m in town fellas?
As for the 100th anniversary of Wrigley game, it was amazing. I went home to Jersey for the weekend before and flew into Chicago the morning of the game. My friend Sara, let me crash at her place and she accompanied me to the game, She’s good people, a Cubs fan and lives in Wrigleyville so once I got to her apartment it was about a 4 block walk to watch the game. We headed over early enough to get free Chicago Federals jerseys. The Cubs played the Diamondbacks, both teams wore old school Jerseys, the Cubs sporting the Federals logo, and most importantly I am very happy to say that every ball player on the field was wearing their pants correctly! This was a huge deal for both Sara and I, because apparently I’m not alone in my hatred of ball players who wear their pants long…it’s just silly looking and sad. We saw a ton of the greats take the field for the start of game ceremonies including Fergie Jenkins, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo’s grandkids and several former Chicago Bears as Wrigley was once their home as well. Oh and did I mention the bi-plane fly over after the National Anthem? Yea it was kind of awesome, I’ll up-load the video.
The Cubs started really strong, Castro made a diving catch to start of some great defense. Samardzija again pitched spectacularly, he took it to the 8th inning and the Cubs were up by 3 runs when as usual disaster struck. Strop went in to pitch, he pitched poorly and the strike zone got squeezed by the ump, after a couple of walks, loaded bases, a ball hit directly at the second base bag that then popped up off of it, and a sliding attempt at a catch in right field which Ruggiano injured himself trying to make I knew the game was over, as did everyone in my section. The cubs lost in the most dramatic way possible, but maybe they had to, as it was all very familiar for Wrigley’s 100th birthday.