I was at the Cubs home opener earlier this week. It was beautiful, Wrigley was packed, the crowd was excited and the Cubs improved their record to 6-1. As I write, Jason Hammel picked off Billy Hamilton at first base, Dexter Fowler has just gotten on base for the 18th time this season, and if they win tonight they will be the only Chicago Cubs team to begin a season 8-1 since the 1969 team who began their season 11-1…let’s just hope the 2016 Cubs don’t run into any black cats.
The Cubs pitching staff has walked only 13 batters over the course of 9 games, meanwhile at the plate their discipline has earned them a base on balls 48 times. They have the best on base percentage in Major League Baseball with .381 and young Mr. Fowler who I mentioned earlier has, out of those players who have started regularly, the 2nd highest OBP (behind the Mets Daniel Murphy) of .559. This is a team to be excited about. These guys enjoy the game, they enjoy the fans, they enjoy each other and they seem to want this as badly as the fans who have been waiting a century want it. The 2016 Chicago Cubs are here to play ball. They go hard, so hard in fact that Kyle Schwarber will end up out for the season after colliding with Dexter Fowler in their victory over Arizona a week ago. While the loss of Kyle was difficult to accept, there is no doubt in my mind that Schwarber will work like a dog to be back as quickly as possible. There is also no doubt in my mind that the Cubs are more than a one trick pony, with the heralded hulk out of commission the rest of the Cubs will need to bring their bats, and thus far…well the statistics speak for themselves.
I was fortunate enough to witness Addison Russel’s first homerun of the season on Monday night. Addison smashed a three run homer in the bottom of the 8th after what began as a very stressful game. I sat waiting for the other shoe to drop as hitter after hitter went down with caught fly balls that would have been home runs with a slight change in the wind, and when that wind is blowing in from the lake, it’s not just the home runs that suffer but those of us in the stands who are bundled up to watch the “boys of summer.” Finally in the 7th Grandpa Rossy saved the day with a line drive single that turned everything around. A friend who lives in Wrigleyville texted me shortly thereafter, as she could hear the excitement from her porch, she asked what had happened and I was thrilled to tell her that number 3 broke up the no hitter with his single. The Cubs rallied late and won the Wrigley home opener 5-3. My palpitations stopped after the score was evened and my heart rate came down slightly after I was back in my hotel, thanks for asking. If loving this team doesn’t kill me nothing will. Then again a good friend also pointed out that it was entirely possible and probable that my soul mate and I were both at Wrigley Monday night, so perhaps even if the team tries to kill me a nice, tall, Midwestern Cub fan will give me CPR and we’ll live happily ever after. Let’s Go!
Shameless plug: buy my baseball tickets…or be my soulmate, your choice.