So I did a little pre-season Facebook trash talking with my friend Heather, a die-hard Yahnkee fan, in advance of last weekends visit to the new Yankee Stadium by the Cubs. I should never talk trash, because it never works for me, and I apologize to the Cubs for the fact that my doing so led them to drop both games, the 2nd by a painful margin. But having won their division two years in a row, and with all predictions that they’ll do it again, the Cubs are actually a solid prediction for success this year. Heather pointed out to me that The New York times predicts the Cubs to defeat the Yankees in this year’s World Series. But I shouldn’t say that, or I’ll blow it for them.
Still, it’s hard. There are probably fewer teams that take more crap than the Cubs. Their 100-year championship drought is the biggest monkey on the back of any team in baseball (so screw you Indians and your measly 60-years!). Last year’s pre-election SNL special is a good example, watch this debate bit and keep an eye out for Cub-fan Bill Murray’s question. Or this headline from this weeks copy of The Onion, Cubs To Continue Tradition Of Playing Baseball. Ouch!
Well, as I sit here at home, Cub flag flying outside in the dark, watching the Cubs winning 3-0 in their season opener against the Astros, I invite all detractors to just keep it coming. I had very high hopes for last year. Now I’m thinking, maybe this year. And failing that, I’ll repeat baseball’s timeless refrain, ‘Wait until next year!’.
Update: Cubs win their season opener, 4-2.
While digging among our sports gear to find my daughter a frisbee, I found a baseball that took me back in time, 31 years and 5 days, to a Thursday night little league game, when I was 11, at which it was given to me.
I was no stand-out as a little leaguer. I had my moments in the outfield, catching a pop-up here and there. But my greatest defensive contribution was probably my effective chatter (hey-batta-batta, schWING!), while on offense my Eddie Gaedel size strike zone put me on base with a walk much more often than my bat ever did.
But on this particular Thursday night, I had a fine sports moment. My team, the Orioles, had a one run lead going into the final inning. There were two outs and the Phillies had a runner on third. The batter hit a fast grounder that might have been an easy game-ender, had it not got past our first basemen. But it did, and it instead rolled to me in right field (the traditional position for the most skilled little leaguers, naturally).
It would have been understandable to hear a few sighs from our meager crowd of parents, looking at the prospect of extra innings should the runner on third score and tie the game (were there more runners on base? I don’t remember, let’s say there were and two runs would have meant a loss). The play was at home, and I made the throw to our catcher ‘Tank’, and it somehow got there in time and on target. The runner was out at home, game over, Orioles win 11-10.
In the dugout, the coach asked the team, “Who gets the game ball?”, to which they responded in unison, “Casey!”. In recent years I’ve re-discovered a love of baseball that I haven’t had since those days as a little leaguer. From my five or six years of little league baseball, there are only a few such memories. This was one of the best.
We’re here with Jay and Carolyn, and the Cubs are up 5-0 in the top of the 2nd. We’re hoping the predicted thunderstorms don’t arrive. Thanks TJ for the tickets!
Update: The Cubs won, 7-0, and the rain started coming down hard only after the game was over. Thank you weather gods, for allowing the ‘W’ flag to fly at Nationals Park for the first time.
Jennifer and I have joined my office mates for our first visit to Washington’s new ballpark, Nationals Park. This is the kickoff for what will be a big week of baseball, as we’ll be coming back twice this weekend to see two of the three games when our Cubs come to town. But tonight, we’ll ‘root, root, root’ for the home team Nats.Update: The home team lost, but the park is beautiful, and getting in and out via Metro was a breeze.
Update 2: Thanks to ESPN mobile, we were able to watch the Cubs earn their 10,000th win in an exciting extra inning finish. They are only the second franchise in Major League Baseball to reach this milestone. We can’t wait to watch them get wins # 10,002 – 10,004 this weekend in DC (sorry Nats).
A Friday night in April, hot dog, peanuts, beer, ladies night… it’s baseball time in the Carolina League, and we’re watching the Potomac Nationals beating the Kinston Indians here at Pfitzner Stadium in Prince William County, Virgina.