June 2005 Archives for Agony & Ivy
Volume 6 is a day late. My apologies. I was able to 'borrow' wireless internet yesterday in my new apartment complex, but I was too tired to work on anything other than half-assed unpacking. Today, though, Time Warner came and installed my digital cable and internet, plus I have the MLB Extra Innings package all set to go. (Why don't they prorate it? The season is almost half over, but I'm paying full price.) Anyway, here's the best of the last two weeks.
So here we have it: the final series with the White Sox (until the World Series). The first series sort of came up out of nowhere, but this one feels like it's been building for a while. For this series, we're all ready.
Cubs versus Brewers at Miller Park
Section 207 Row 5 Seat 6
Today's game felt an awful lot like a must-win, as much as any game can feel that way on June 19.
Whether or not this is fair, how the Cubs play this weekend will shape how the national media machine perceives them. Given that everyone else takes their cue from ESPN, and that ESPN is based in New England, I don't think it's through any neglect or bad intention that they focus their attention most on Boston and the Yankees. If you strip away the ESPN edifice, they're just people who go home and watch the game that's on TV. Hell, even if ESPN was based in LA, I think they would owe it to principle to cover the Yankees and the Red Sox -- as much as it annoys me -- because these two teams have consistently been the most exciting for the last half decade. ESPN does not hide its interest in sensation, and these two teams grow it. Fine. I can deal with that.
There is no one on the 2005 Cubs whose play is harder to understand than Corey Patterson. I've defended Corey for a long time, trying to see his trajectory as one where -- given where he's at -- we can expect him to become a star. Too often, once we pick a side like this we feel as though we're committed to it in order to avoid being hypocritical, or just plain wrong. To be honest, however, I'm not sure where I stand with Corey these days and so I wanted to take a few moments to cash out how I think he fits in to this season. I haven't given up on him yet, but at some point potential either becomes actual or wasted. Lately, I wonder whether or not we're there yet.
Well, this was probably the most fun two-week stretch of the season. The west coast trip was great, everyone was hitting, and they piled up a lot of wins. Here are the funniest game notes:
Cubs versus Blue Jays at Wrigley Field
1010 Waveland - Beyond the Ivy rooftop
One of the hardest things I'll leave behind are trips to Wrigley Field. One of my former company's clients sent me a well-wishing email with the subject: "empty seat in the bleachers." While I don't usually sit in the bleachers and I don't even attend most of the games, I attend a lot of them and it doesn't surprise me that people have come to see my following this team as central to who I am these days, because it is.
Some of my great memories are set in the north side ballpark: bat day & baseball card day in the '80s; Sandberg & Grace in the '90s; Sosa hitting numbers 50 & 51 in '98; driving up a dozen times the summer of '01 -- the last carefree summer before I had to think about post-graduation; the tribute game when Arne Harris died; watching Kerry Wood & Mark Prior in '02 and again in '03; watching the club retire Santo's number; Game 6 of the '03 NLCS; the rain-shortened win over the White Sox (the only time I ever sat in the right field bleachers) on July fourth weekend in '04 where I didn't dry off until the next morning; catching a foul ball hit by Neifi Perez; and so on, for dozens and dozens more.
Hopefully I can squeeze in a few more before I leave.