This Old Stub

Posted: October 28, 2012 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

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I’m sure ill hear comments about the title of my new blog but I don’t care and besides isn’t that what they turn into, To those of us who save their ticket stubs from the games we’ve gone too. If I do nothing all spring or summer, I always find a way to make it to a baseball game. Whether its to Wrigley Field or any park, my goal of course is to visit every park in the country but no the Yankees stadium is not the first on my list especially since they tore down “the house that Babe built.” And I’d rather go anywhere than stay in the south side of Chicago. Anyways….I hope you like my new series and maybe you’ll be inspired to reminisce with myself and Big Jack on Sports Time Radio or send me your story and ill blog about it.

Now this first visit to the friendly confines was from this year, which isn’t much for reminiscing about the old days or anything like that but it holds some significance and hopefully we can a look back and say i remember when…..It’s April 2012 and the MLB just stepped on the mound and all March I kept telling Big Jack, how I wasn’t going to to any Cubs games because our savior Theo and his team hadn’t done anything to draw me to pay for tickets. But he knows me well enough that there are some things I just cannot resist and spending 3 hours on a gloomy April Sunday, sitting outside on the North side of Chicago, where you never know If there will be clear skies or violent storms. I wake up extra early or was it that I couldn’t sleep or am I just adding this line for a dramatic effect? Either way, the night before, I print up the tickets and place them on the black granite kitchen counter tops by the back door with my keys on top. My promotional Cubs drawstring back pack…the small kind that usually girls in high school track use….from a bank that is no longer in business has 2 Officially licensed Cubs Poncho’s (I know what your thinking), a pair of Cubs Gloves Scarf and Skullcap, old ticket stubs and a bag of peanuts inside it. I of course double check it before we leave. I put the tickets in there, Lock the door and were gone. Every time we go, my wife loves to wait until we are somewhere on Lake Shore Drive, to give me that nervous look and say, ” Did you grab the tickets???” As my eyes begin to pop out of their sockets, all I can blurt out is, “The Bag” I swear she does this every time. I exit Belmont, turn right on Inner Lake Shore, then a left on Addison and the anticipation begins to stir in my stomach. Apartment buildings, stop signs, the Shell on the left corner. You can see the L tracks, the parking lot I used to park at until the old Mexican guy sold it, across from him is the new parking garage that is also used for the new police station. We’re walking up to the Addison Red Line stop All you hear is “TICKETS, WHO NEEDS TICKETS; PEANUTS, CHEAPER OUTSIDE THE PARK….” The only time I walk fast, I’d run but you know, I hand my wife her ticket and don’t even look back, I’m in the bag check line, my tickets scanned and I’m wishing I could have made to the second game so that I got my 2012 Cubs Magnet Schedule…it never gets old. A deep breath to take it all in….and to our seats section 220-1Row 2, now this is where knowing the stadium comes into play. When looking for tickets, I’m not only looking for the best deal but also location, kind of like buying a house. I’ve sat in just about every section at Wrigley to know what gives you the bet view and pretty much anything behind home plate makes for a great view. Not to mention sitting in the terrace reserved can be beneficial when bad weather ones about. The terrace is covered by the upper deck blocking out the sun and rain but can be a little cooler so dress warm with no sun, especially being in the second row. You’d be surprised but sitting in the middle of a section is going to keep you much warmer. Now the second row brings you much closer to the field but also to the stairs that lead to the concourse. I don’t like to do awhile lot of walking up & down stairs but you always pay for convenience. After grabbing some ood drinks and my personal favorite that I do not ever share, A Super Rope, buy it at the stand & not from the guy walking around.

Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, opening weekend for the Chicago Cubs, looking to not be swept by the future NL East Champions. Stepping to the mound for his first Major League start since 2010, the 6’5″ 225lb, Notre Dame alum and the man the Cubs plan to build the team around, Jeff Smardzija. First up Ian Desmond with a double to Soriano simmering down the excitement of the fans but not putting any hopes down at all on my first look at Jeff. With Danny Espinoza and Ryan Zimmerman flying out and Adam LaRoche striking out. We head to the bottom of the first, Jodan Zimmerman takes to the rubber and David DeJesus, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro, 1-2-3. This pitching duel continues into the bottom of the 3rd when Catcher Steve Clevenger singles to Former Cub, Xavier Nady in left, with Jeff’s first at bat, it’s traditional situational NL ball with the advancement of the runner to 2cd on a sac bunt, but DeJesus lines out to 2cd. The very next inning, Castro singles to center, then steals 2cd base and moves over to 3rd on a pass ball then scores on Alfonso Soriano’s sac fly, sending a wave of cheers throughout the friendly confines and just like that the Cubs take the lead but in the fifth aren’t able to get Bryan LaHair home after his double. Jeff continues to shutdown the Nats until the top of 6 when Wilson Ramos (C) singles to center then moves to second on J. Zimmerman’s sac bunt. After Desmond’s single moves Ramos over to 3rd, Espinosa gets a Sac Fly RBI and were all tied up. But the Cubs answer that run in the bottom half of the inning after Barney’s first double and is moved over to 3rd on a fly out by Castro, Soriano singles to left to score Barney and take the lead 2-1. To lead off the bottom of the 7th LaHair hits his second double of the day but yet again does not cross the plate.
With 7 innings pitched, 6 hits and 1ER Zimmerman is replaced by Ryan Matheus to walk DeJesus but gets Barney to fly out. Then Castro steps up to the plate and sends a rocket to left field scoring David and sending the stadium into a frenzy. Castro then steals 3rd and the Nats decide to walk Soriano then bring in Sean Burnett to finish the inning but he allows a single to center by Ian Stewart, scoring Castro, Wrigley Feild is going nuts and the Cubs are up 4-1 and its looks like they will get their first W of the season.

It’s the top of the 9th with one out to go, Ryan Zimmerman steps up to the plate the final potential out, Ground ball to Short but Ryan reaches on a fielding error by Starlin. Just one more out to go Smardzija has pitched 8 2/3 innings with 4 hits and 1ER, when Adam LaRoche steps to the plate and Home Run to right field and the Nats are down by 1 point and can tie this game up. Dale Sveum walks to the mound to relieve Jeff and bring in the unpredictable Cubs Closer Carlos Marmol. In true Marmol fashion, keeping all Cubs Fans on the edge of their seat walks Jayson Werth. With one out to go, one man on Nady fouls out to Stewart to end the game and allowing the Cubs to raise that W flag for all of Wrigleyville to see.
There’s nothing better than going to a Cubs game and watching them Win and being able to stay as the players take to the clubhouse and sing Steve Goodmans, “Go Cubs Go” with upwards to 40000 people. It’s an experience and that’s what it comes down to, it’s all about experience the team live, Your favorite team, hell any team for that matter. Now this was the Cubs first victory and on my drive home all I could think about was how i knew the start of SportsTime Radio was going to be a winner. Easter, an odd day to debut a sports talk show, but the Big Jack and I couldn’t think of a better day to start our show, it coincided with our favorite sport and that W by the Cubbies just boosted my confidence that day but allows the Big Jack and I do what we are passionate about..hearing ourselves speak! We love bringing our opinion into the sports world and having a platform to do it on. And we get to talk about what we want not just the ” Hot Topic” of the day. For the both of us I thank everyone for the support. Please continue to listen to us and spreading our blogs to your friends.

Side note: sometime during the game, my wife shows me a picture of us, my cousin found us and had a powerful lens and sent us the pic. Nothing like spending Easter Sunday with the fam at a baseball game, well they’re Greek Orthodox, so their Easter was on a different Sunday and they chose that day because after the game, you were able to have your kids run on the field. My wife and I thought about staying…..and then we saw the line. My cousin said her kids had fun but that I would have been just like her husband, more excited than the kids and wanted to run the bases himself. I thought about telling her, No I wouldn’t, but we both know its not true. We’ve gone the last two years on Easter and maybe I’ll have to go next Easter???

@Mantime8

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