I will help make a brief departure from Mississippi sports for a little sports self-indulgence. I have been a lifelong Cub fan, back even before the days of Harry Carey.
I drove my wife and two young sons to Chicago this past week to catch a couple of games at Wrigley. I know sports fans in the SEC think they are fanatical, but I have never seen anything like Wrigley in my life. The fans are just off the scale. I am not exaggerating when I say that 95%+ of the fans in that stadium had some sort of Cubbie shirt or hat or headband or something on. Most people had two things. I stopped keeping track of how much money we spent on hats, pennants, t-shirts, etc. At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, there were easily 7,500 people waiting at the gates for a 1:20 game.
On Thursday, we witnessed a rare event for the Cubs this year . . . a loss. Ted Lilly got shelled. The Reds hit 7 home runs. It rained . . . hard. I didn’t care. We had 9th row tickets just above the Cub dugout. My kids got autographs before the game. I drank Budweiser. Some young girls’ singing group did the 7th inning stretch. It was a good day.
Friday, we took the outfield bleacher route for the Giants game. 3rd row in deep left field . . . almost all the way to the wall. It was a scoreless pitchers duel into the 8th. The leadoff batter for the Cubs doubled in the 8th. They then walked Derek Lee with one out to try and force the double play. Unfortunately, they ran into Aramis Ramirez, who hit a rifle shot over our heads and onto Waveland Avenue for a 3-run jack that won the game. Kerry Wood came in to finish the Giants off. Jeff Garland sang “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” and 41,000+ sang “Go Cubs Go” like a bunch of crazed European soccer fans after the game.
It was a great day. Oh, if only Harry Carey were still alive . . . Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!