For my second game at Wrigley with the Chicago Cubs, I decided to sit in a substantially different spot. The previous game I chose to be higher up in the stands in exchange for being right behind home plate, my preferred spot to watch a game. For this game, I was 4 rows up from the field but all the way out near the opponent’s bullpen near right field. That spot had a more aesthetically pleasing view of the field but I felt less connected to the action. It’s also much harder to judge balls and strikes than if you were behind home plate.
Jon Lester got off to a shaky start and only really settled in after the fans cheered him out of a jam in the 4th. While not terrible he never really dominated the game and the bullpen had to come in to shut down the Pirates.
While Kris Bryant’s 448-foot home run out of the ballpark could have been the highlight of the game for the Chicago fans, it was David Ross’ home run that really set the place on fire. The excitement of his teammates and a curtain call from the fans tell you how much they love everything he does. This journeyman player in the last season of his career is clearly the heart and soul of the 2016 Chicago Cubs.
In baseball, you can never know for sure how thing are going to play out. The season is very long and a few key injuries or slumps can sink a team but having spent 2 days with the Cubs I can confidently say, this team is the real deal. They are the kind of team that can beat you in so many ways. Yesterday it was singles and walks and today it was the long ball and bunts. It’s also clear that the team and their fans are having a great time at the ballpark. The team has swagger and is generally having fun. Joe Maddon has set up a culture for this young team that is working and he is clearly revered for it. In fact, I saw fans in just about as many Joe Maddon T-Shirts as any specific player.
P.S. In addition to a few Goose Island beers, I decided to try the Joe Maddon Hoagie, when I saw it on the menu board. When they first pulled it out of a fridge I was sceptical if it would be any good but after a couple of bites, it became clear that it was a quality sandwich.