First, to the news of the day. Yes, one knuckleballer will replace another one when Charlie Zink makes his Major League debut on Tuesday and Tim Wakefield officially goes to the DL. Also, David Ortiz has some tenderness in his wrist today, so he’s getting the day off. J.D. Drew will DH. And Clay Buchholz is still in the rotation. He will start Friday night against Toronto.
So after covering Sunday afternoon’s Red Sox-White Sox game, what did I do? A)Went out for a nice dinner; B) Ordered room service; C) Filled out my expense reports; D) Went to another baseball game.
If you selected D, you are correct. Yes, I could not pass up a busman’s holiday at old Wrigley. It was definitely worth it. I had been there once before as a fan in 1986, when I was 14 years old. It happened to be the same day that the Celtics and Bulls staged that classic at the Garden when some guy named Jordan dropped 63 in double OT and still lost. Full confession. I spent most of the last few innings in the tunnel watching the basketball game on TV. That game was against the Pirates, and wound up being postponed due to darkness. Eck made the start for the Cubs.
Other than that, the only other Wrigley appearance for me was that three-game Sox-Cubs series in 2005, when it was about 120 degrees every game, and the national media contingent was so large that you couldn’t even move in the clubhouse.
I think, overall, last night was my most enjoyable Wrigley experience. I started in the press box, paying my respects to former Red Sox PR guru Peter Chase, who is now running the show for the Cubs and doing a great job of it. Also in the house was Godon Edes, formerly of the Globe and now of Yahoo! Gordon made his debut last night, spinning a couple of typically good stories.
Then, it was on to the stands, where a slice of pizza and a frosty cold beverage awaited. Joe Haggerty of Hacks with Haggs fame took in the scene with me. It was interesting to see and feel how fired up Cubs fans are these days. It reminds me of what it was like at Fenway Park pre-2005. Yes, times have changed over there. Red Sox fans still love their team and love the game. But there isn’t the urgency and the over-the-top passion that once existed. That’s just human nature. The Cubs still haven’t been there.
Wrigley is just a great spot. Is it any better than Fenway? Probably not. But it’s unique in it’s own great way. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who has never gone. It continues to strike me how big a difference there is between American and National League baseball. The NL just flies by with its sacrifice bunts, hit and runs and double switches. The AL is just more plodding, with every batter hoping for a 10 or 12-pitch at-bat. I saw two great catches last night — one by Edmonds and the other by Fukodome. All in all, good stuff, and a nice prelude to tonight — the last of this seven-game road trip.