Thursday, August 02, 2007

At the ole ballgame...

1060West is known as a place where you can receive statistical truths, reactionary essays, and poignant thoughts.

It hasn't been the #1 place in the Cubs Blog Universe to talk about things 'magical'.

The reason for this is simple: Magic is not quantifiable. The men at 1060west enjoy seeing baseball through cold hard facts. We like our OPS, WHIP, and divisional race charts in front of us to prove what is, and what can never be.

Magic is fluffy, childlike, devoid of any substance. The furthest thing from an abacus, pie chart, or table.

Yet, even the hardest/ most traditional / stat-savvy Cub fans know baseball can be a game of bounces. A game of chemistry, mood swings, and bloop singles.

My father and I don't have the best relationship.

One of the few things we can talk about is baseball. The majority of my best moments with my father are usually about baseball. We were together for my first night game, AND first bleacher game back in 1989 when the Cubs took over first place from the Expos.

We cheered Ryne Sandberg back to the playing field on opening day of 1996 at Wrigley.

I remember calling Pops after the Cubs took that miracle fourth game of the set against the Cardinals in 2003. It was one of those 'Can you believe that just happened?' moments. We talked about how similar this was to the Astro comeback in '89, and how DIFFERENT this team felt.

When I came back from Upstate New York for the Atlanta series in 2003, my father came through for me again. My buddies had an extra ticket to Game 5 in Atlanta, but I had no money. I begged my dad to borrow some money. He came through. Pops knew that there aren't many opportunities like this in life.

After Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS, we called each other and had one of those awkward male conversations that every man within a 150 mile radius of Chicago had that day. There was nothing to say. It was death at heaven's door.

Through all of our disagreements on politics, and religion, and all that shit...we're still able to come together for Cubs baseball.

Last night was one of those nights.

I decided for father's day, that my pops and I needed to go to the ole ballyard one more time. We hadn't been to a game together since Opening Day 1996. 11 years. I've been to maybe 40 games in that span.

Anywho, the aura of last night...the playoff feel was reminiscent to the Expo game we experienced in 1989.

My father is a South Side Irish Catholic retired postal worker. To say it's a volatile combination is an injustice. My father once yelled at a man for 15 minutes straight during a Cub/Cardinal game in 1990 declaring that "Ryne Sandberg was God!". 25 years at the post office can make one go insane.

Well, not tonight. Old age has seeemed to have gotten the best of my dad. He was tame, mellow, happy to be at the ole ballyard.

When the Cubs loaded the bases in the 9th inning, the old man turned to me in front of a bright burnt orange moon.

"Take this all in," he said.
"You're not going to get many moments like this."

I'm not 100% sure what he meant. My father has been through the excitement of '67, the letdown of '69, the predictability of '70, the meltdown of '77, the crushing heartbreak of '84, and the devastation of '03...was he saying that THIS isn't going to happen that often? Was he saying I could die tomorrow, and not take in moments like this? Was he referring to lost moments of his life that he didn't fully take in, and realize just how amazing they were? I'm not sure.

But for about 1 minute with Jason Kendall at the plate; I took the whole thing in. I looked at Crumbling Wrigley, warts and all. Was this finally the time for the old park to produce a champion?

I looked at the stoic scoreboard, showing the manual numbers and flags above.

I could see how bright people look on the backdrop of the evening's hue.

I could also see how baseball could bring everything from every corner together for three hours.

And, if you watch long enough...if you watch JUST ENOUGH of those three hour'll get these slow, short, sharp pieces of magic.

The Cubs wouldn't win last night's game, it would be handed to them on a platter by Brett Myers. As Brett bounced another pitch in the dirt, it scooted past Philly catcher Carlos Ruiz.

Nothing happened. The Cubs didn't do anything right. No clutch hits, no close play at the plate, no strikeout. Just a wild pitch.

An unpredictable event colliding with a magical evening.

Throw away your fucking abacus.

No comments: