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So it's Root, Root, Root for the Cubbies!

One way to watch a Cubs game: Put a replica of Sammy Sosa's boombox in your home. Turn it up full blast and leave for the day.
(Note: this is really Sammy's boombox in the Cubs clubhouse. We included this picture just to tell you that.)

How the typical 2003 Cubs fan watches a game at home:

Preparations needed:
• Begins by putting Wrigley Field atmosphere in living room: Purchases beer and snack food sold at the classic ballyard (Old Style or Bud/Bud Light for beer; peanuts, licorice rope or cracker jack for snacks; Goodyear tire byproducts for hot dogs). Drapes Ivy on curtains. Imitates the scoreboard and manually changes the channel rather than use remote control. Drinks five beers before the first inning. Brings in local college sophomores with no idea what baseball is, but are fully aware that they look hot in a tank top.
• Buys newspaper. Ignores the news, politics and business sections and heads straight for the sports section.
• Cubs fan doesn't need to know what's going on in Liberia. He's a Cubs fan: he wouldn't understand even if he did read it.
• Checks the standings. Did the Astros win last night? The Cardinals? Any chance those scores could be a misprint? Perhaps those games occurred in alternate universe, and you're reading some sort of strange other-dimension newspaper.
• Pours through the Cubs stories, immediately seeking out the strange Dusty Baker racism quote of the week. "Baker said he prefers to shop at Jewel because they're butchers cut meat in the more 'black prefered' style."

Turn the pregame on:
• Listens intently as your announcers – likely the venerable Steve Stone and the strangely pre-pubesent looking Chip Caray -- provide the keys to the game: Solid pitching, yes. Patience at the plate, certainly. No fielding mistakes, of course. Chip has facial hair, surprising.
• Stands for the singing of our national anthem. Millions of brave men and women died fighting for this country. The least you can do is stand.
• But don't sing along.
• And resist the temptation to drink beer to get through the anthem, no matter how long it feels.

The first pitch is thrown:
• Feel the buzz, that-anything-can-happen excitement of the first pitch.
• Temper your emotions as the opposing team hits it out of the ballpark: it's only 1 to 0,
• It's only 2 to 0.
• 3 to 0. There's no "only."
• Resist temptation to go back and read Liberia story.

Bottom of the First Inning:
• The Cubs mount a comeback: A single. A walk.
• Two men on, no one out, and Slammin' Sammy Sosa is up to bat! One of the greatest home run hitters in the history of baseball: More 50 homer seasons than anyone but Ruth. Ahead of Ted Williams on the all-time homerun list. He'll tie up this game!
• One out.

Top of the Third inning:
• Have you ever actually watched a baseball game all the way through?
• It's pretty boring, isn't it?
• Seriously, it's just repetition. Nothing really happens. A pop up, a strike out, a line drive. It all looks the same, doesn't it?
• But Cubs fan is devoted to this game because there's the chance the Cubs could win. And if the Cubs win today, and then the next day and the next and put a streak together, well, then by God it's time to buy World Series tickets! And your imagination sends you into a frenzy: suddenly you're standing in line on a cold October morning with thousands, no millions! of other fans just hoping to buy a seat no matter what the cost to anywhere in the ballpark, even if that means five grand so some sherpa can hike you to the upper deck where a telescope to see the view of other telescopes watching the game. But that won't matter, because you'll be there to see, to feel it, to just maybe behold the Cubs taking the World Series. To be surrounded, hugged and wrapped in that electricity. That once-in-a-lifetime-I-was-there-can-you-believe-it-I-understand-the-meaning-of-life-euphoria!
• 6 to 0.

Bottom of the Fourth inning:
• Sammy swings and we have flight! Sammy hops! The ball is screaming, it's frightened, it wants to come down—it's never been this high before. Baseballs weren't designed to survive in this kind of altitude! Nevermind the cork. Sammy is still our hero, our superman with the "S" on his chest who can do anything, just with a wave of a bat like it's a toothpick he will take us to promised land.
• 6 to 1.

Bottom of the Fifth inning:
• The ultimate Cubs killer, God, must be in the bathroom because the Cubs put runners on and now there's a double to the gap, and two runs score! Let's keep this going! Rally! Rally!
• God is back. Double play.
• 6 to 3.

Bottom of the Seventh inning.
• God gets a phone call. The Cubs charge. A solo shot. 6 to 4. A walk. A double. The runner scores. 6 to 5.
• We can take the lead: man on second. No outs. A walk. Another walk. Bases loaded! No outs!
• There is no wait till next year! We can come back from anything. This is our year. We come back from this, and I can begin standing in line tomorrow for those World Series tickets.
• Sammy's up, the "S" on his chest glowing in the afternoon sun. He can break the game open with a swing.
• Strike one. But that's cool to wave at a pitch thrown into the stands. It happens to the best of us.
• Strike two. Don't know why you were swinging at a pitchout, Sammy, but hey, maybe you're trying to strike fear into the pitcher. "If I can get close to hitting a pitchout, just think what I can do when you throw a strike."
• The pitcher throws a strike. It's right down the middle…
• One out.
• Alou's up! Alou is our new he...
• Two outs.
• Lenny Harris?

Top of the Eighth inning.
• Still anyone's ballgame: 6 to 5. One run is so easy to score.
• But God is back, and he is angry. But God, no, why you'd put the devil on the mound for the Cubs?
• Pitch after Antonio Alfonseca pitch comes dangerously close to being within three feet of the strike zone. A walk. A single. The nation pleads for a strike. Congress calls an emergency session: the government votes to pull Alfonseca. A special rider is added: ship him to Guantanamo for three terrorists and a player to be named later.
• Baker doesn't hear about the vote. One run scores.
• Alfonseca looks horrible, looks disgusted at himself. There is only so much suffering one man should be asked to take. And Alfonseca must be pretty sad, too.
• The camera falls on Dusty Baker. Surely he will take Alfonseca out. But Dusty looks like he's listening to a Bob Denver song.
• Another run scores.
• A walk. A double. Two men in.
• Oh look: a re-run of Three's Company is on. It's the one where Mr. Farley comes up with the name of Jack's Restaurant. "Why are you guys having such a problem naming Jack's bistro!?" and the episode ends.
• Just classic.
• Oh hey, remember the episode — and boy this must have been late in the show — where the critic comes into Jack's Bistro, and the antics and the mishaps, and the critic eats two bites of Jack's food? Two!
• Another run scores. Somehow, just standing there, Alfonseca gains another five pounds.
• And Jack writes that angry letter telling the critic to get bent. Two bites! But he wants to take it all back. So he tries to slip into the office to get it back. Hijinks ensure—the very definition of hijinks ensue. And Jack gets caught red-handed trying to steal the letter. And there's that moment of dread—Jack's gonna get arrested!
• God is laughing. He is up in heaven, wearing a Cardinals jersey. He is a fat, balding God that worships Skoal tobacco and wonders why he made cigarrette butts inedible.
• But the critic, see, that's what he does at a restaurant he gives good reviews to: He eats just two bites.
• Two more runs score.
• Stupid fucking critic.
• Stupid fucking God.

Ninth inning:
• Been meaning to index my CD collection for awhile now, but should it be done alphabetically or chronologically? If it's alphabetical, is it by album title or singer? Same question for chronological.
• Do I need watermelon at the store? Maybe I should make a list.
• 13 to whatever.
• Seriously, just fucking whatever. Just fucking nevermind. You stupid fucking team. How could you blow this fucking goddamned game? You stupid motherfuckers.

Tomorrow's an afternoon game:
• Yeah, but I gotta work so I'll be listening to it on the radio.

 

 

-Brandon Stahl

 

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