Hey, Chicago what do you say ...

I’ve just come inside from an afternoon of living one of my favorite past times: doing yard work while listening to the Cubs on WGN …

The Cubs beat the Marlins for their third straight victory. It’s no wonder I haven’t been able to knock “Go Cubs Go” from my brain for the last couple days.

That and we were down at Wrigley for yesterday’s game

My friend Tom couldn’t use his tickets so he handed them off to us. Up until Friday, it was in doubt whether we’d go. But when the weather forecast came out -- sunny and 60s -- our minds were made up.

So Phoebe woke us up at around 7:30 yesterday morning in her very own special little way. We ate breakfast. Packed up and hit the road down to Wrigley ... Given our success with driving to the ballpark last year and lingering doubts of whether Phoebe would be able to contain herself on a train, we decided to drive it again.

We made excellent time on the road and found a place to park about a mile from the stadium on Addison. I immediately turned the radio to WGN and we caught the first inning -- including Ryan Theriot’s home run -- in the car while we ate our packed lunches and fed Phoebe. Then we dropped Phoebe in her stroller and hiked to the stadium.

By the time we got to the entrance the marquee had the score posted with the Cubs leading 3-0 in the top of the third. Another inning went by before we actually got planted in our seats. Kates had to make a pit stop at the restrooms and I caught Ted Lilly’s RBI double on the monitor as I stood in line with Phoebe to get my customary Mountain Dew in a souvenir cup … Phoebe just sat patiently and quietly waving her new Diego plush doll, which was the promotional giveaway to the first 5,000 children. As late as we were getting to the game, I was pleasantly surprised -- and pleased -- when an usher leaned over and gently handed Phoebe one of the dolls.

We found our seats in the upper deck on the first place side, a place we’ve sat quite a few times now. And Phoebe immediately got herself perched on Kates’ legs. She was bouncing and clapping like a veteran Cubs fan.

I couldn’t tell you more than a few details from the game, other than the Cubs offense was hitting and Ted Lilly pitched well. Since we arrived so late, I didn’t bother getting my customary program and scorecard. I barely caught Derrek Lee’s home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. And Pete Cetera -- nice! -- sang the seventh inning stretch.

But none of that mattered to me. I was totally content just being there with Kates and Phoebe, soaking in a day at the friendly confines, enjoying the weather, the atmosphere and the people around us …By the start of the seventh inning, Phoebe’s excitement had died and she was getting tired. She ended up cuddled up on my lap and wrapped in our Cubs blanket; those three innings with her were the highlight of the afternoon for me.

And there was the Cubs victory, of course. When the Cubs got the second out in the top of the ninth, I popped up from my seat with the rest of the crowd and held up Phoebe as we waited and cheered for the final out. Then the Cubs put the game away, and “Go Cubs Go” started up over the stadium speakers ...

We sang, we danced, and the stadium rocked with an excitement that only those who’ve experienced the tradition know. We were practically singing it all the way back to our car.

* * *

Too bad the Bulls couldn’t carry the excitement through the night. The Celtics finally knocked them off, ending what was an NBA playoff series for the ages

I caught most of Game 1, and I caught bits and highlights of the other games … I was becoming a bigger Derrick Rose fan with every game.

But Thursday night’s Game 6 was a monster classic.

Actually, I play basketball with a group of guys on Thursday nights, and I had hoped to at least catch the start of the game before I left for the gym. But it slipped my mind.

Then, as I was getting ready for bed, I turned on the TV, not expecting at all to see the Bulls and Celtics playing in overtime! Again!

I raced to the living room to share the news with Kates and that my bedtime plans had changed: I was staying up to see the end of this game … But it went into a second overtime! And then a third!

Toward the end of the third overtime, and with Ray Allen scoring his 51st point, it started to look and feel as though the Celtics were getting an edge. And I love Kirk Hinrich, but his mistakes were costing the Bulls … Then Joakim Noah came to the rescue. He intercepted the pass from Paul Pierce and pounded it into the hoop while I shot up from the couch -- not at all like I’d been up since 4 in the morning and badly needed to get some sleep for my next early morning.

The Bulls won the game 128-127. On Friday morning it seemed as though everyone was talking about that game. I was glad I stayed up to watch it.

No comments: