Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Opening Day

Friday is Opening Day at Wrigley Field. I have spent countless hours at that park. Sometimes it was about the game and sometimes it was about an enjoyable afternoon people watching. But most of all it was about spending time with friends and family.

Opening Day was always a bit odd. On one hand, baseball is a sport of hot summer days. But in Chicago, some opening days were a manageable 55F (13C), but there were a few that were an almost unbearable 30F (-1C). It was not so much that it was cold as much as you are immobile for a couple hours. Likely with a wind in your face drinking a cold beer. And for some reason the cold air, a full bladder, and standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow fans in front of a trough doesn't work for me. Made for some excruciating moments. Gotta go, but for some reason you can't.

On the positive side, there is all the pageantry. The fresh hope that this could be the season they go all the way. Seeing the ballpark again after six months of cold weather. Getting back into the gameday routines like picking up a Bar Louie sandwich before going in and grabbing a beer on the way to the seats. The gameday routine is different now than when I was a kid. Back then we would pick up a bucket of pop (soda) at the 7-11 across the street and have nachos with jalapenos around the fifth inning. But instead of frequent visits to the restroom and a red face to match my hair after the jalapenos, now it's a belly and possibly a hangover the next day. As a working stiff the opening day routine involved throwing on my jersey, leaving work early, boarding the el with all the others playing hooky, and moving with the masses to the park. Everyone experiencing that first game together.

There was always an electricity about that first game. Maybe this will be the year.


Anonymous said...

Awww, Frank, you're a Cub fan...Well, you're a pretty good blogger for a Cub fan. ;)
I've seen the video on YouTube. F***in' gross.
The old Comiskey Park had troughs, but I can't say that in all the years I went to games there that I ever saw anyone diving into one.

Unknown said...

dbt, I'll have to look for the trough video at home since I don't have a soundcard here.

Good to hear from you Rich. Yep, die-hard Cub fan. Probably because I grew up within walking distance of the park. I would have been a die-hard Sox fan if I grew up in Bridgeport. I used to root for both teams, but after running into too many disrespectful Sox fans turned me off. Though I still respect my good friends who are fans (lil G). It was a pity since they went all the way last year. Hopefully the Cubs win it this year so the city can be happy on both sides.

Something archaic about the troughs makes me like them over the individual urinals. They are quite efficient as long as everyone keeps their eyes on the task at hand.

Anonymous said...

frank, living in L.A. for six years has softened me quite a bit to the rivalry. It's to the point that I risked being shunned by my father a few years back when I told him if it was the Cubs in the World Series against the Yankees or Boston, I was going with the Cubs because Chicago trumps New York and Boston.
I actually do hope the Cubs win it soon so that the city can get completely out of its "underdog" status when it comes to baseball.

And yes, unfortunately, us Sox fans can be Surly Bastards.

Anonymous said...

We're going to Saturday's Cubs game against the Cardinals. Temps are supposed to be upper 40s F, mostly sunny. Better than a few years back -- it was in the lower 30s and felt like the teens. Someone very close to you said it was colder than a December Bears game. He should know! There's little that is colder than an April Cubs game with the wind coming in off the lake! I think we made it through 6 innings of that cold cold game. I'm still bringing the blanket on Saturday! (Yes, I'm a wuss!) Maybe "next year" really is here! Go Cubbies!

Unknown said...

Cathy, glad to hear of the sweep. Quite a feat. I can't say I'll miss the cold aspect of those first games.

patof, it was really more the luck of being born near something. Is there the same electricity for the first hockey game of the season? I went to three games before the Expos left and was sad that such a vibrant team had been basically forced out the door (by MLB). The upside of an empty stadium was that I changed seats every few innings and was able to see the perspective from all corners of the park.