A lot is being said about last night’s Cubs victory over the Cardinals, the completion of a day night doubleheader sweep. During the game, several strange things happened; ghostly things by my estimation. Wrigley has been known to be a spooky place, haunted by the baseball gods and the ghost of baseball past and present. Yesterday it was at it’s spookiest.
- Herrera’s hat: During Jonathan Herrera’s pinch-hit at bat, he was wearing the wrong helmet, which was obviously much too small for him. Mid at-bat the batboy brought him what looked like right helmet because it fit. But clearly the number 8 was on the back of the helmet, which isn’t Herrera’s number. Herrera promptly singled, reminding us that he was wearing the hat that bore Andre Dawson’s number, a prolific hitter in his day, as we all know. Also of note: his nickname was the hawk, and we were playing the cardinals, and there was a suspicious bird on the field (see number 3).
- Addison’s Fair/Foul ball: We all saw it, the ball that went foul, went fair, then went foul again as if the ghosts of Ron Santo and Ernie Banks are in control of the swirling winds of Wrigley. It was obviously a key hit, which makes it even more sensible that some other force was at work here. In a post game interview Russell himself said, when asked “IS it magic?” — “I think so.”
- The Duck: There have been famous animals on the field at Wrigley before, one that shall not be named but starts with a “g” and end with an “oat.” The duck hung out by the Cardinals dugout for quite a while during the game, with players seen interacting with the lovable thing. Or was it so lovable? Was it a spectre of a new, dare I say, curse of the duck? It’s not coincidence that a duck and a cardinal are both, you know, birds?
- Uncharacteristic Cardinal mistakes: Let’s face it the Cards are damn good. They don’t make mistakes. But after the presence of the now infamous duck, some weird things started happening to them. Case in Point, Jhonny Peralta coasting to first base on what would clearly be a double, Mark Reynolds assuming Addison’s hit was foul and not fielding the ball; and Siegrist’s throw to second which was remarkably wild. Cardinals don’t do that.
- Seth Maness got thrown out of the game and Mike Matheny didn’t know it: How is this even possible? This never happens. Generally when a player gets kicked out, everyone knows what’s going on, but even JD said “You almost never” see something like that happen. Weird.
- Thomas Ian Nicholas: This also happened to be the night this actor, who played Henry Rowengartner in “Rookie of the Year” got to sing the 7th inning stretch. We know him to be the kid with the miracle arm who helped the Cubs pull off a miracle of their own in the movies. Yeah, the movies. But he was there last night when all the weird stuff happening – the duck, the foul ball, the hat – and he has a connection to Cubs lore in his own way. Weird. Like, Wrigley weird.
Now I don’t want to go all weird on people, but the Cubs are a team that are entrenched in a history full of strange occurrences – things that have stayed with them to this day. But yesterday’s game felt like a shift had occurred in the universe. The Cubs are a team on the upswing, and while playing their greatest rival, the weird came out. After all, this all happened a day after Jon Lester got his first MLB hit ….