Some random observations from my latest visit to Wrigley Field for the Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals game on Tuesday night:
It Doesn't Get Any Better
I fondly remember during my childhood when my family would travel to Springfield in the summertime to visit my mom's aunts, uncles, and cousins. What fun we had! So many fond memories! You won't find better people than the Jessup and Martin families - but they did have one major character flaw. They were Cardinals fans.
I had the pleasure of serving as the sports editor of the Ste. Genevieve (Mo.) Herald, in a quaint little river town about 30 miles south of St. Louis, in 1995. Many of the residents of Ste. Gen. were very good to me and they helped provide me with many fond memories. The only problem with many of those people was they were Cardinals fans.
I enjoy every occasion that brings me and my wife, Denise, together with her college friend, Stacey, and her husband, Andy. We share many of the same sensibilities and interests as the St. Louis couple, but unfortunately, they too are Cardinals fans.
Although we are on opposite ends of one of baseball's most spirited rivalries, I can't find it in me to hate Cardinals fans. It's like my friends who do not share my political views. They are not bad people - just a bit misguided.
My interactions with Cardinals fans have always been passionate, but never nasty. I respect Cardinals fans for their appreciation of the game and their reverence to its history. The Cardinals fans I know don't go to the ballpark to party. They come to watch the game.
It's my favorite Wrigley Field matchup of them all.
The famous bleachers never look as magnificently vibrant as when it is inhabited by Cardinals fans. The color scheme of the shirts remains predominately blue, but there are many beautiful patches of red. It's as pretty as a postcard.
Tuesday's game, observed from our regular spot in the terrace boxes on the first-base side, was also special because it likely was my wife, Denise's final game for a while. She is expecting our second child in June and is starting to have a difficult time getting around.
I like going to Cubs games. I love going to them with Denise. She's a fan, but doesn't take the game quite as seriously as I do. She's endlessly curious about the game and is observant, quick to pick up on subtleties that I overlook. We take turns keeping score. She encourages me to try different items from the concession stands. She easily makes friends with those seated around us.
Cubs games remind me of how well we complement each other. I'm a very lucky guy.
It doesn't take a gourmet or an expensive budget to jazz up standard ballpark fare, and by preparing a snack at home, you can spare yourself from paying the outrageous ballpark prices.
Dave, a season ticket holder, from whom we purchase our tickets from and who often sits in front of us makes a delicious trail mix that is simply two parts peanuts, one part M&Ms, and one part raisins. It's sweet, salty, delicious, and easily transportable in a quart size Zip Lock bag.
The Cubs made a subtle but welcome tweak to the Wrigley Field scorecard, getting rid of the useless "comments" column and adding a second column for pitchers below each team's lineup. There is now space to list six pitchers for each team. The old setup only had enough room for three pitchers.