We couldn't have asked for a better day. Sunny and around 80°, not a cloud in the sky. We made it up there with no problem, and it's always fun driving along Lake Shore Drive and seeing Lake Michigan on one side and all the interesting buildings on the other. We found a parking spot not too far away (people rent their apartment parking spots...helps pay the rent, I'm sure) and found a cool little diner where we stopped for lunch. Lots of food for a great price that close to Wrigley Field. I wish I'd paid attention to the name of the place. All I remember is a big red neon EAT as a sign, which I think is usually a good harbinger. (A Silver Squirrel Award to whoever remembers the late 70's song, and the band who played it, in which a tiny little voice says "eat!") Hey, I paid for lunch, let me check the receipt! It's called Salt & Pepper. Very tasty food and very reasonable. Highly recommended!
We hightailed it over to the ballpark and made our way to our seats. It was so great to see the ivy-covered walls again! It's been a long time. We were out of the sun, behind home plate, and a slight breeze was blowing in (always a big deal at Wrigley--that wind can really come whipping in off of the lake). Just a perfect day for a game, and everyone was in a great mood. There was an older couple sitting behind us, and they were really nice and funny, and it really tickled me to hear that Chicago accent. I'm tellin' ya...I have a very harrrrrd Midwesterrrrrn aaaaaccent. Hard r's, flat a's. The Chicago accent is all that and more. I could almost hear the Super Fans saying, "Da Bears!"
I haven't followed baseball closely for quite some time, but in the late 80's, I was a huge Cubs fan. That's when Ryne Sandberg and Mark Grace were playing for them, as well as Greg Maddux and a pitcher named Mike Bielecki. I went up with Tom and Di one year for the annual Cubs Fan Convention, and got my picture taken with Bielecki. I'll have to hunt that picture down, because that guy was incredibly good-looking. Tom mentioned that trip, and he cracked me up. He said that when we went down to dinner that night, Diana was wearing some sort of gold dress, and I was wearing a tight black one that was kind of open on the sides--you know how there will be sort of lacing on the sides of a dress that holds the two parts together? I'd forgotten about that dress, but I remembered it when he mentioned it. He said that as we walked in, me and Diana on either side of him, people were watching us, and he felt that they were thinking, "Who is that guy?" He said it was his Hugh Hefner moment. Haha! I got such a kick out of that!
This wasn't a boring baseball game at all. The Cubs went up 4-1 early (they were playing the Reds, by the way), but the Reds came back with a three-run inning to tie it up! Yikes! The Cubs hung in there, and ended up winning 6-4. Cubs win! Cubs win! We even got to see a Cubs home run. Of course, we got to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the seventh inning stretch, a fine tradition! Loved the day, loved the company, loved seeing beautiful Wrigley Field, and loved watching the Cubs win. Believe me, that is sometimes a miracle on Addison Street!
One of the biggest crowd-pleasers was the appearance of a squirrel on the field. Twice! The first time, he ran from the Reds' dugout behind home plate to the Cubs dugout. Then he ran back. Everyone cheered the squirrel! I wonder if it was the same squirrel who crashed vacation photos?