Tuesday, September 16, 2008
It all started when Mr. Carlson mentioned possibly taken Megan to the game that evening and it grew from there. At the last minute, a few more of us decided to go and we filled the van to capacity at 15, and pulled out of the driveway just an hour and 15 minutes before game time. Which, when you live at least an hour and 15 minutes from the ball park, was cutting it a little close, but with all the events of the day, that was what worked and we were at least on our way. The game was supposed to have been played against the Astros in Houston, but due to hurricane Ike it had been moved - with 24 hours notice - to a 'neutral' park. And so Houston hosted Chicago in Wisconsin at the home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The roads were very clear for the first hour of driving, and we passed, or were passed by, lots of vehicles containing people clad in blue and Cubs jerseys. We also received a phone call informing us that three more friends were en route via a separate vehicle. As we drew closer to Milwaukee, however, all those cars with blue-clad folks started jamming up the roadway and we crept along quite slowly for some time. So we turned on the radio and listened to Soriano lead it off with a home run while we were still on Rt. 94.
We listened to Zambrano throw the first three pitches - all balls - while we sat in line for the parking lot, and we hoped that he would hang in there and get the win.
Finally we had paid for our parking and were being waved by parking attendants down the road, back under the highway, around some winding roads into a very remote parking lot. We turned off the radio, hopped out of the van and walked as quickly as we could back towards the ball park.
The ticket line moved quickly and we were very pleased to get 15 tickets all together! As we made our way through the turnstiles and then up all the flights of stairs, past vendors trying vainly to sell Brewers gear to Cub fans - down the hall to find our section, we noted cheers coming from inside and glancing at the monitors we saw that it was now the third inning, the Cubs were batting, and there were two men on base. As we found our section and walked into the park there was a crack of a bat. We froze on the stairs and turned to face the field just in time to see Derrek Lee's RBI double.
We hurried the rest of the way to our seats and sat down in time to stand back up and cheer as Aramis Ramirez got a base hit sending Lee home to score!
But little did we realize that Seth's first Cubs game would become even more exciting. I think it was around the end of the fourth inning, that the crowd began to realize that there was a no-hitter going on. The game flew by quickly as we cheered each out. We didn't even care if our team didn't get any more hits, we were up by five runs and this time the important part of the game was the bottom of the inning.
Before long, the crowd was rising to it's feet for the last inning. One out - quickly made. A second out. The third batter came to the plate...
The video is about 4 minutes long. The first big cheer is strike one. The second, is strike two. The lulls are the balls, and the craziness at the end is, of course, strike three!
After the last out was finally made, nobody left for awhile. We sang "Go, Cubs, Go!". We cheered "Z" after his on field interviews, we high-fived everyone nearby. And finally started to make our way down the stairs and out to the parking lot.
The walk back to the van took a lot longer than the walk in. Nobody was hurrying, everyone was hugging and high-fiving everyone. There was an extremely celebratory feel - and everyone was family, or so you might have thought! Not only was it a no-hitter, but it was also in a rival's park - and they weren't there and neither were their fans. And for all the Cub fans that were at the game, it had necessarily been a last minute decision to attend, which just added to the fun of it all.
Yes, we were among the last two to decide to go but sure are glad we did! It was Beth's first Cub game, too! We eventually wound our way back to the parking lot, and loaded back inside the van and joined the mass of vehicles winding their way back to the highway.
Mr. Carlson - thanks for the suggestion! I'm quite sure had the game been dull and boring - or even had they lost - we still would have had a great time with our gang, it was just extra special to have gotten in on witnessing a historic win. I did keep my ticket stub... think it might be worth something on Ebay?