Saturday, June 30, 2018

The PERFECT Ending

     Yesterday was likely my last visit to Wrigley Field for a CUBS game. A Cubs game at Wrigley is truly heaven on earth for me. I love baseball, the Cubs, Wrigley, Wrigleyville--I know writing this will bring me to tears, this experience has such a huge place in my heart.
     I say my "last visit" because my friend who lives in Chicago and spoils me wonderfully with so much tourist fun is moving away, and I probably won't make the effort on my own to get to a game. I'm not "shutting the door," but it was important for my experience yesterday to recognize that it may be the last time I am there.
     While my friend went elsewhere to take care of some moving business, I stepped off the train at Addison and headed toward Wrigley. I did some requisite browsing in the souvenir shops. I know that it is not possible for me to be surrounded by too much Cubs paraphernalia. I discovered a mighty-fine Cubs golf bag, and posted a hinting suggestion with photo on Facebook.
     I've been consciously trying to open up more and talk with folks I don't know. So I did that in the Cubs store, striking up a conversation with a woman working there. It was lovely. It turns out that she also is a tax preparer (what are the chances?!?!?!), then she works in the Cubs store during baseball season. So like me, she is wildly excited on Opening Day, because it means the end of tax season is oh-so-close. She talked of how she loves working in the store because shoppers are so enthusiastic and excited to be attending a game at Wrigley Field.
     Pre-game ritual involves at least one beer at the Cubbie Bear bar directly opposite the Wrigley marquee. Temps were in the high-90s, demanding cool refreshment, so that was the next stop. While there, I also achieved one of my Chicago-weekend food goals--the real thing--a Chicago Dog. My friend joined me and around 3:00, and we headed across the street for the 4:05 game vs the Minnesota Twins.
     I used the pre-game time inside the stadium to roam, take photos, and just soak up the place and feel how much I love it and love being there. As I was roaming, I noticed a couple guys talking with an usher about his 2016 World Series ring. Since the Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908, the Cubs organization gave out 1,908 rings following the 2016 championship, so the usher said "everyone got one." How cool is that!!! There are three levels of "fanciness" to the rings, from the players diamond-and-jewel-encrusted ones to very plain. The one in the photo below is the mid-level one, on MY hand!!!

     Mercifully our seats were in the shade, down the left-field side just past third base. It was gross hot and muggy. I kept telling myself that all this sweating was worth it. I told my friend that my ultimate goal of the day was to be singing "Go, Cubs, Go" at the top of my lungs, because that means the Cubs won the game.
     It was my idea of a perfect game. The Cubs were down 5-2 and came back to win 10-6. The Cubs hit four home runs, including a grand slam by Addison Russell. There were errors overcome and great defensive plays made. And I got to sing, the perfect ending to a great Wrigley experience I shall hold in my heart always.
     There IS crying in baseball,

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