My 1st Cubs game: Bat Day, Fergie, and a Spilled Beer

After attending Trib Nation's Chicago Cubs Press Pass event at Wrigley Field this week, I caught myself daydreaming about the time I went to my first Cubs game. And, it wasn't because I was bored listening to the Trib's Fred Mitchell's '9 inning' panel discussion with Cubs great Billy Williams as listening to them was like eavesdropping in on two old friends reminiscing about the past.

 The '9 innings' between Fred and Billy was so vivid that I felt like I was there when each story took place.

Though, as good as the '9 innings' was, I couldn't get my first Cubs game out of mind and here's what I remember...

I was playing 'pinners' with Frankie on our front steps when my Mom came out and said "Butch. Butch, your Father is on the phone and wants to know if you want to go to the Cubs game." (Note; My nickname is Butch because my Dad was Walter, Jr, (Buddy) and my Grandfather was Walter, Sr....Yes, Yes...that makes me the turd.)

My Mom calling out to me and asking me this was like finding the 'golden ticket' in the wrappings of a Willy Wonka candy bar. Finally, I was getting to go to my first Cubs game. Plus, it was bat day and Fergie was pitching!!!

After years of running home from school to catch the last innings of Cubs games on WGN, pleading with my parents to stay up late to watch the Cubs play on the west coast, hearing Jack Brickhouse say, "We're going into the Cubs half of the ninth and any old run will do", and trading Johnny Bench and Roberto Clemente cards to get all of my Cubs players' cards, I was getting my chance.

The chance I was getting to go to my first Cubs game was right out of the movie "A Christmas Story" except instead of wanting a "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle", I was going to see my heroes: Billy, Ernie, Fergie, Randy, Glenn, Don, and 'Pepi'. And, if you don't know 'Pepi' is Joe Pepitone and wore # 8, then you're either not old enough to remember or not a real Cubs fan.

After getting the call from my Dad, my Mom rushed me to Wrigley Field as my Dad was going to meet up with me from work with 3rd base box seat tickets his boss gave him. I was so excited to be at the game that when Jim Hickman hit a 3-run home run in he bottom of the 7th inning to put the Cubs ahead to stay, I stood up to watch and forgot to put the seat down, and spilled the beer of some man next to me when I sat down.

Man, was my Dad ticked that he had to pay for spilled beer and not be able to get one for himself during last call. Though, after the game, my Dad asked me if I had a good time and I said yeah and I was sorry (for spilling the beer). My Dad said, "Forget about it as long as you had a good time and the Cubs won!"

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    Walter "Butch/Bearstradamus" Brzeski

    Life story in 50 words or so: Born in Bucktown to a middle-class family and has lived in Chicago his entire life, now residing on the far Northwest Side. Attended St. Hedwig, Lane Tech, Triton College and Eastern Illinois University. Has worked myriad jobs in the city, including many years as a bartender; is now a substitute teacher. Currently, is working on finishing his Masters in Education along with studying for his National Strength and Conditoning Association (NCSA) certification test ..................................................................................... Self-description: An avid sports fan, he describes himself as an average, "300-level guy." "I've never been a rich man, I've never been a poor man; I've been in-between." He is as much of a through-and-through Chicagoan as one will meet. He is proud of his Chicago accent and works to give back to the community. A humble man, he values a strong work ethic, which his dad instilled in him............ Writing experiences: Describes himself as the "most opinionated person in Chicago." He tries to get the average guy's voice out there, modeling his writing after the conversations he had with patrons when he was a Wrigleyville bartender. "I'm trying to let people know what is going on. Most of the things I write about, people are thinking about." He considers himself the voice for the working Chicagoan who doesn't think his opinion can be heard. His favorite topics to write about are sports and observations about what's happening in Chicago, and the two often mesh................................................................................... Unique traits: He attended EIU on a football scholarship as an offensive lineman and has been an athlete and sports fan all his life. A favorite childhood memory is racing home from school to catch Cubs games. His house is decorated with Chicago sports memorabilia; his favorite item is a letter written to him by former Bear Dan Hampton. He hopes to one day open an upscale sports bar (in Chicago, of course) and put his collection on display. — By Dan Waters, Tribune reporter

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