Friday, June 24, 2005
It's off to Wrigley Field
"Not sure I can handle this."
"What's the problem, Mom?" my daughter Patty asked.
"Give me time. I need to prepare myself. Wearing a tee shirt with anything on it is uncomfortable for me and walking through downtown Chicago wearing a Red Sox shirt is something I have to ready myself for," I replied.
"Mom, this is the Midwest. People are nice here."
As it turned out there was no problem. We took the Red Line from downtown Chicago directly to Wrigley Field. There were a few Cubs shirts and a few Red Sox shirts on the train. Everyone was pleasant. This was not New York!
Back in January, Patty, an avid baseball fan and in particular the Red Sox, had told me the Red Sox would be playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. She expressed a strong desire to see a game at Wrigley Field, the second oldest ballpark. The last time the Red Sox and the Cubs had met was the World Series in 1918. Since my money manager is at Harris Bank in Chicago I thought perhaps I could e-mail him. It took me over three months to get the courage to ask Mike if he could get us tickets for one of the games. His response was, "Are you kidding? This is the hottest series in town!"
"OK," I replied, "nothing ventured, nothing gained, but if you happen to come across a couple of tickets somewhere, well, we'd be interested." At the end of May there was a message on my answering machine from Mike asking if I'd checked my e-mail. He had two tickets to the Sunday, June 12, game. It was unbelievable! Patty was walking on air!
Patty and I had flown to Chicago on Saturday morning for our Sunday night game. The plane was full of Red Sox fans. "How did you get your tickets?" was the question most often asked. Later on the train in from O'Hare we met other Red Sox fans. There was a young couple from Pennsylvania with a ten-month old girl in a backpack. They had on their Red Sox shirts and the baby was sporting a pink Red Sox outfit. We later discovered that he was originally from Andover and she was from Maine. Another Red Sox fan on the train was from New Jersey. An off-duty security guard who joined in our conversation wished us luck when he left the train. This was definitely not New Yorkor Boston. This was becoming more and more exciting!
We arrived at Wrigley Field well before the gates opened so we wouldn't miss a thing. We watched batting practice, found our seats in the second row of the upper deck and then went to find food. Since all the tables were full, we asked a couple of Cubs fans if we could join them. Everyone was so congenial. (Well the Cubs had won the first two games.) "Are you glad to get Nomar?" we asked. "And what about losing Sammy Sosa to Baltimore?" They told us they had rooted for the Red Sox in the World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals are their Evil Empire.
Now it was time to find our seats again. We were psyched. After two extremely hot and humid days of sightseeing in Chicago, the weather was perfect for "our" game and our seats were perfect. We were opposite first base and could see everything very clearly from above. Tim Wakefield was on the mound. It was a wonderful game. With Mike Ditka leading, we joyfully sang a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.
During the eighth inning, we were surprised by the strain of "Sweet Caroline" which is always played at Fenway Park. According to the Chicago Tribune, it was played for the many Boston fans attending the game.
We had a fabulous time at Wrigley Field that evening. And the Red Sox won!
© 2005 The Carlisle Mosquito