Today is April 5, 2012! A seemingly ordinary day, but it’s not just any day for me and millions of baseball fans in the United States.
It is Opening Day. Today, rabid MLB fans are taking the day off to go to the first official game of the baseball season, or they are listening to the radio, watching their phones, computers, or televisions to see what is happening with their baseball team.
I am a big fan of baseball, specifically the Chicago Cubs. My love story with them began a long time ago when I would come home from school, throw my stuff down and race to turn on WGN to watch Scooby Doo. Come baseball season, Scooby took a back seat on WGN, with the Cubs receiving preferential treatment. I was bitter at first, being thwarted by a stupid sporting event. But then the ramblings of Harry Caray began to intrigue me, as did Steve Stone’s mellifluous voice talking about this boring game. When I was a teen, it didn’t hurt that Mark Grace was so good to look at either…
Eventually, I grew to enjoy the game and love the Cubs. I grew older and baseball became more and more appealing to me. We live in a world that is constantly racing around us and I find watching 9 innings of baseball (sometimes more) with no time constraints is one of the most wonderful things in life.
One of the interesting things to note about my experience with baseball and the Cubs is that I never went to a game until 2003, when I was 27 years old. My brother would go to see Sox games at Comisky when he was a kid because my Dad (who worked on the South Side for a steel company) would get tickets from work and take him, because as Dad put it, “Baseball is for boys”. I am somewhat grateful because I might have become a Sox fan during my formative years, and that would be a fate worse than death for me (I kid, of course. I will never, ever be a Sox fan. But I do tolerate them and enjoy watching them play from time to time).
So my first live baseball game in the “Friendly Confines” was the day after the Cubs clinched the National League Central Division in 2003. It was an amazing weekend, not just the day of the game. I was asked which day on that weekend I would like to go (it was a birthday present from my friends who were horrified I had never been to a game in Wrigley) and I chose September 28th because I had to work my company’s inventory on the 27th. The night of the 27th, we didn’t get out of inventory until almost 6PM and the game was still going on. I rushed to my friends’ house in time to see the Cubs clinch! I will never forget the pounding of my heart leading up to the last out and the tears of utter joy that welled instantly after the score was final.
The next day, I put on my Cubs jersey, hopped in my car, picked up a friend who was coming with me and drove my giddy self down to Clark and Addison. It was an amazing day. The happiness at seeing my Cubbies live, eating a churro, watching Ron Santo’s number being retired and raised on the flag pole just a few rows in from of me was just wonderful. The only down side was the Cubs lost (they were saving the usual starters for the Post Season).
We all know how that season ended. My tears of happiness turned to tears of sorrow. But my little heart continues to beat loudly for the Cubs and for baseball. I have my shrine of Cubbiness that is mostly packed away to be moved but my mini shrine at work remains. My traditional Cubs Opening Day cupcakes are on hiatus also because as I am in the process of moving, I had no eggs to bake with. Regardless of what happens today, baseball is back again and there is a fun song playing in my head, my heart and is my ringtone until the end of September…
“Baseball season’s underway!
Well you better get ready for a brand new day!
Hey, Chicago, what do you say!
The Cubs are gonna win today!
They got the power, they got the speed,
To be the best in the National League!
Well this is the year and the Cubs are real
So come on down to Wrigley Field!
Baseball time is here again!
You can catch it all on WGN!
So stamp your feet and clap your hands!
Chicago Cubs got the greatest fans!
You’re singing now!
Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today!”
-The late Steve Goodman