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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ILLINOIS ADVENTURES: A Day at Wrigley Field


When Ginger and I finally worked out my plan to come visit her in Illinois, there was a short list of things I absolutely had to do. One thing on that short list was, without a doubt, heading out to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. Ginger is a big Cubs fan, and I watched a few games with her as they made their way to their historic World Series win.

While I'm not actively a sports fan (Virginia doesn't have any major sports teams so we tend to adopt more northern ones or stick to family/friend hometowns), I do enjoy watching and learning. And I do have early memories of going to see the Norfolk Tides -- an Orioles affiliate, back when they were the Tidewater Tides -- and enjoying myself. Plus, Ginger is very much a Cubs fan and can not only answer my dumb baseball questions, but also give me interesting stories about the players.


For a start, our seats were pretty great.

It was a little cool out, but not a deal-breaker. We brought our own snacks and water and settled in for however long the game would take... which, Ginger told me, can really vary. But things stacked up pretty impressively for the Cubs early on, and toward the end they were 13-1.

This quickly changed to 13-6 as a new pitcher let several runs in. There wasn't any particular worry about the Cubs losing their lead, but the gentleman a few rows behind us seemed to think all was lost. Loudly.

Keeping my eyes on everything was the hardest part. I noticed that a ball or a strike could go through when I was looking down to grab my water bottle. You're so far removed from the action that it just sort of happens below you without the benefit of constant banter. Thank God for scoreboards, because God knows I can't tell a ball from a strike at that distance.

One thing I forgot from the minor league game long ago, and something I relearned at Wrigley, is that it's very much about The Experience. There are some things about which that would be a lousy thing to say, but it really is. There's a game going on below you with a reliable scoreboard nearby if you decide to turn and chat, occasionally you'll find interesting characters to chat with off to the side, and... yeah, I can't get that one Cubs song out of my head.

And I was asked about the ivy. Yep, it was growing. Not heavy, but it was there.

I'm not sure if I'll ever be hardcore into baseball enough to know every player on my preferred team, how to calculate all the different stats, or why we're booing certain players today. But I'd happily go again.

And maybe. Maaaaaybe try a hot dog from the park next time.