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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Tags: A Christmas Story, baseball cards, bat day, Billy Williams, Chicago Cubs Press Pass, Chicago Tribune, Cubs fan, Don Kessinger, Ernie Banks, Fergie, fergie jenkins, Fred Mitchell, Glenn Beckert, golden ticket, Jack Brickhouse, Jim Hickman, Joe Pepitone, Johnny Bench, Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, Pepi, Randy Hundley, Red Ryder, Roberto Clemente, spilled beer, Trib Nation, WGN, Willy Wonka, Wrigley Field