Life in the Afternoon
Unlike Ernest Hemingway’s poignant parlay into the world of non-fiction, mine hath not the slightest utterance of death today… unless, of course, you consider the thousands of Cub fans who felt stabbed through the heart after their sloppy loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For today was a celebration, not only for the Redbirds’ ultimate triumph, but also for good company. Indeed, dear readers, I have friends who don the Cubby blue, like one soon-to-be-wed Adam Marshall — talented author of Our Man In Los Angeles — who was crazy enough to arrange for 22 Cub fans and one Cardinal fan (me!) to stake our claim amongst the bleacher bums at Wrigley Field on what may have been the most beautiful day of the year.
My first stop was to pay homage to the wondrous artwork to the right, found at the Addison Red Line stop, depicting heroic Hall of Fame icons Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith in a too-close-to-call play at second base. I scrounged through the melee of already drunk Cub fans and snapped this amateur photo, hoping it would bring me good luck.
Dear readers, I have been going to Major League Baseball games my entire life and I have never, ever caught one ball, be it foul, fair, or B.P. Never.
Once inside the cathedral dump also known as Wrigley Field, I went straight for the beer man, bought myself a cold one and swarmed through the slew of drunkards to find an open seat. Entering to an onslaught of “F*** your mother”, “Go back to St. Louis”, and “Cardinals su<k”, I did my very best to make sure my Bud Light did not spilleth over. While perfecting this baseball ballet, I noticed the crowd around me take to a chorus of oohs and ahhs, duck and spread. I looked up and there it was: a ball coming straight towards me at a rifling speed. With no time to react, I simply stuck my chest out, felt a thump, looked down, and in my left hand was a baseball!
After 30 years, folks, I finally caught one.
A Colby Rasmus batting practice homerun at Wrigley.
And my beer did not spill one drop.
And it was, if you consider sloppy defense good. In fact, Cardinals left fielder Chris Duncan put on a clinic of how not to play the position. Then again, so did Alfonso Soriano. And in the end, Duncan’s bat powered the Redbirds to a win.
Of course, no Cub game would be complete without crying; and Milton Bradley came on late with the bases loaded, looked at six straight pitches without swinging the bat, then whined like the spoiled brat child he is before getting tossed.
Cards win. Cubs lose. I live.
Oh, and those crazy bleacher bums oft known to take an afternoon dip down the urinal trough? They were out in full force. There were a few tiffs and tussles, some skiffs and struggles. They were loud. They were obnoxious. They were obscene. Business as usual… like this clever diva who scribbled out some nonsense on a piece of cardboard and passed it off as truth:
Apparently she was too intoxicated to realize that the Cardinals won the game… or the fact that Wrigley Field’s peanuts are quite savory and that any Redbird would be a fool to not at least try them… just once.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.