4-11-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)
It was a short turnaround from the 7:05 game on Tuesday night to the 1:20 game on Wednesday afternoon. I went to bed after midnight, got up at six to go to the bathroom, and couldn’t fall back asleep until seven. When I got up at 8:20 I felt more exhausted than I had at six. I ate breakfast (Honey Nut Cheerios), while watching Tuesday’s Around the Horn and PTI that I had DVR’d. I’m extremely grateful that Alex and Jess have a DVR, and was able to keep my schedule of watching both ESPN talk shows on a daily basis, at least for the time being. It’s going to be different most other places, including at home, since my parents don’t have ESPN.
I was planning on catching the 74 bus on Fullerton over to the Red Line, and taking that up past Wrigley one stop, so I could hit up Byron’s Hot Dog Haus. I was looking to get an authentic Chicago style hot dog before I left, and it sounded like this was one of the places to go. I wanted to catch the 12:04 bus from the Albany stop, and I made it there five minutes early. I went to transfer my bus pass from my wallet to my front pocket, and it wasn’t there. I thought that you could pay cash, but I wasn’t sure, and I wouldn’t have had exact change anyways. I ran back to Alex’s building, up to his apartment on the third floor, got the card from my coat pocket, and tried to make it back to the stop in time. As I turned onto Albany, I saw the bus pulling away from the stop, just 60 yards away; awesome. I wound up just walking along the bus route and caught the next bus, while getting some “exercise”. On the way I took a few pictures, the first being from the Fullerton L-Train stop. I tried looking into who is painted on the side of the building, but I had no luck.
The next is of the Addison stop with Wrigley in the background. People can say what they want about Wrigley Field, but it’s NINETY-EIGHT years old. You can say it’s run down and hate on it for that, but why? Because it doesn’t have all the flashy lights and replay boards as other parks. That’s one of the reasons I love baseball; there are aspects of every ballpark that makes them unique.
Since I cost myself 15 minutes with the missed bus, I decided not to try and make it to Byron’s before the game, and am planning to do so before Thursday’s finale. I got to Wrigley at 12:45 and had a some time to kill, so I walked around the exterior taking it all in and enjoying my “retirement”. This is the view up at the scoreboard from across Sheffield.
I picked up my ticket from the player will call and found my way inside. I made a pit stop at a hot dog stand and ordered a bison dog. By the time I got around to eating it, it was somewhat cold. I had to locate my seat, and by that time the National Anthem was starting. I’m not a fan of stuffing ones face whilst honoring thy country, so I waited. The bison dog was good, not sure if it was $6.50 good, but that’s ballpark food for you. They want to reassure you that it is in fact bison (I’m not sure if I could tell), by sticking it with a little pennant of sorts.
The game started and it looked promising early as the Brewers put runners on the corners with only one out. Aramis squashed the rally by grounding into an inning ending double play. He went 0-4 and is 2 for 18 on the young season. I won’t say that I’m a little worried, but I’m a little worried. He has proven to be a slow starter in the past and picked it up later, so hopefully that trend continues. Early in the game I got a guy who was sitting behind me to take game photo number six.
He was from Greenfield, WI, and was in town for a college visit with his son (and family) at Depaul. I also talked to the guy I was sitting next to, and learned he was friends with Randy Wolf. He said he wasn’t a Cubs fan and was just a fan of baseball, he seemed like a genuinely nice guy. Those of us not in the sun froze our butts off during the game. I don’t know why I didn’t bundle up like I did for Monday’s game. I would argue that it was actually colder for today’s game, even though it was during the day. I think the combination of not being in the sun and a 10 mph wind coming in from centerfield made the difference. At Alex’s place I had; a coat, gloves, winter hat, long underwear, and hand warmers. Of the five I wore/brought… ZERO. I did have the Cubs earmuffs with me, which was the fan giveaway from the day before. I was planning on selling them, but was too cold to try and sell them, and too stubborn/loyal to put them on.
Despite the screen making the shots not as pretty, I was able to freeze the action pretty good due to the sunlight. Here is Gallardo throwing what I think is a changeup. However, MLB.com’s play by play says that Gallardo didn’t throw any changeups to Geovany Soto today. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m almost positive that is Soto, due to the other pictures I took right before and after. And I think it’s a changeup because his pinky is on top, meaning he rotated his arm counterclockwise when he was releasing it. Perhaps MLB/Wrigley Field needs some better pitch detection equipment.
I was really expecting a loss the way things were going, an example would be Gamel’s screaming shot off the right field wall that probably knocked a few bricks loose. It wound up being a single because it caromed off the wall so hard it went right to DeJesus who was playing right field. The Cubs held a 1-0 lead from the bottom of the first into the top of the seventh. Gamel doubled to lead off the inning and a Cubs fan sitting behind me had some words. “He rolls like a f****** caterpillar down the first base line!” he proclaimed. We all got a good laugh out of it, but he didn’t seem too amused. Kottaras, who was getting a spot start due to soreness in Lucroy’s rib cage muscles, followed Gamel’s double with a home run to right. Just like that the Brewers took a 2-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The “uneducated fan” moment came in the BOTTOM of the eighth. A couple of Cubs fans behind me were debating if the game was in the top or bottom of the eighth. One guy finally said, it’s the top of the eighth, they agreed and then stated it again but not too confidently. I turned and told him it was the bottom of the 8th, because the Cubs were batting. He said “oh, i don’t know, I’m not paying attention” followed by “well, they didn’t announce it!” I couldn’t help but laugh. I think he thought it was funny as well, either that or he wanted to kick me in the back of the head for laughing at/with him, but I’m confident it was the former.
I did miss two, yes two (2) pitches at this game. But I have very good reasons for both of them. I missed the 2-0 pitch from Dempster to Gomez in the top of the seventh. A vendor was yelling “HOT DOGS!” and it kind of sounded like “MARCO!”, a bunch of kids were responding with “POLO!”, I glanced over at what was going on and missed the pitch. I also missed the 1-2 pitch from Marmol to Gamel in the ninth. Gamel had pulled a pitch foul that was an absolute ROCKET. It went right over the 1st base dugout and looked like someone may have gotten hurt. I was looking over there and missed that pitch as well.