A hot dog, mushed in between two soggy soft buns, fresh out of the container from the guy screaming “hot dogs, get your hot dogs!” The smell of beer & peanuts (the ones you have to crack) & that super hot sun beating on you. Oh the ivy, you can’t forget about the ivy, & the bleacher seats. & of course…the notorious Red line train to make it to the most magical place in Chicago. Wrigley Field. That is what comes to mind when I think of the Chicago Cubs. & most importantly, my Dad. See I am not one of those bandwagon fans, I am a true blue, Cubs fan. Born & raised since 1990. Yes, I grew up on the south side, & yes all my friends were Sox fans, but that never converted me. & I am so thankful that my parents raised me as such.
What comes to mind when I think of Wrigley field are some of the most amazing childhood memories. I will never forget the game where Sosa hit 60, 61, & 62. Because I was there. The crowd literally freaking out over the rival between Sosa & McGuire. It was kinda a joke but all serious when the crowd would rumble in their seats and cause pieces of the ceiling concrete to fall around you. Because when he hit that number 62 home run, the place went nuts, and concrete fell. Half the crowd, including us stayed late to watch him come out and talk to the reporters. He was my all time favorite player. The way he every single time ran as fast as he could out to right field, and the home run machine he was. That’s what comes to mind. What also comes to mind is my dad steady delivering us all types of treats and asking if we were cool enough, full enough, thirsty enough. This to me, is also where my dad became the coolest person in the world. Being at Wrigley Field my dad was in his element, this is where he shined. With him bringing us to the Cubs game brought us a different life outside of our daily suburb routine. This was his way of connecting with his daughters, the best way he knew how, because Wrigley Field is where he held so many of his childhood memories. Although his experience wasn’t exactly like ours….He said they would take the bus, hop on the red line and actually bring in their own pb&j sandwiches to eat, because he couldn’t afford to eat at the stadium. I asked him one game…. “that’s all dad, didn’t you want a hot dog?” He replied, “Oh I always did, but I didn’t care, it was the best time I had!” & that day was the was the day it hit me, the reason why my dad got so excited to take us, was because he was giving us more than he could ever have as a kid when he went. He went all out for us at the Cubs games. Even brought us on the El and everytime we went under the tunnel and back up he’d make this face to get us all excited, and it worked haha! See my dad was born and raised in Chicago, 63rd & Maplewood to be exact, but he raised us in the burbs, so to me the city was fascinating, simply a whole new world. So as a kid when I thought of Chicago, I thought of Wrigley Field with my dad.
To think I couldn’t top the game of Sosa, I did. Joe West who is currently umpiring the Cubs World Series game now, was the ump who asked me to come down onto the field. I will never forget this entire day. We had 3rd row seats behind first base. Well the people never showed up in the front row so my dad insisted we make our way down. There we were, 1st row behind 1st base, me around 11 years old, my dad, and little brother who had to be around 5 or 6 all sitting there beating in the sun as he would pour water over our heads & shoulders, because literally we were frying. I didn’t care though, I was at the Cubs game with my dad, and that was enough for me. BUT then, the unthinkable happened, Joe West looked at me and simply pointed for me to come onto the field. At first I didn’t understand or even think he was pointing at me. So I looked at my dad and then back at Joe who was still standing and pointing at me to come down, which only caused my dad start cheering & screaming yeah get down there!! I walk down and Joe West goes “Now if you give me this? I will give you this….” points to his cheek for a kiss and pulls out Sammy Sosa’s foul ball. (Sosa had just hit a foul ball.) HOLY COW is right. I looked over to my dad and he goes “hold on let me get the camera” and I look up & back at the crowd and it goes wild. So I do as any loyal fan would. As nervous and unsure as I was, I gave him the peck on the cheek and received the ball. The next inning he came back over and signed it for me, and my entire day was made. Didn’t think it could get any better until my brother was thrown the next foul ball, & later was confronted by the kids on the El “wait you’re the girl who was on Tv, you kissed the ump” & there I sat so quiet and proud with the ball in my baseball glove. (Will post those pics soon)
This is why Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs are so much more to me than a baseball team. That place & team holds some of my greatest childhood memories. My dad had season tickets for years so we went all the time. My mom once flung herself over us so we didn’t get hit by a foul ball. The guy right behind me caught it, & my dad showed up minutes later from using the bathroom, asking what he missed. Oh nothing just mom launching herself over Kelly & I to make sure we didn’t get hit. 😂😂 “what? Did you catch it?” The funny part too, as a kid, I didn’t get why my dad always had to use the bathroom, until I turned 21 myself and learned real quick. But that to me is why the Cubs in the World Series means the “world.” This is all my childhood memories being relived once again. Sweet home Chicago is right. And I hope they take game 7, but if they don’t, regardless they have made so many fans lives that much more special right now. History has definitely been made. The Cubs winning tonight would mean that my dad has finally got to see his favorite team since a kid, win. This is what all the loyal Chicago Cubs fans have been dreaming of. It’s not just a title, it’s the memories you made while there with your parents, grandparents, friends, etc. That to me is what this is about. For my dad & and that little girl up there holding the sign.
From a loyal fan who kissed Joe West & no longer eats hot dogs,