When my dad and I head off to a new stadium on our trip, it's an unwritten rule that we always try to root for the home team. On a few occasions, such as when the Brewers happen to be in town, we've broken the rule a bit, but for the most part, we throw on a home team cap and cheer like we've been fans for decades.
Normally, it's very easy. Then again, normally we don't visit the stadium of our arch rival.
That's right; it was time to attempt to be a Cubs fan.
In the beginning, it was surprisingly not very difficult. By the time we reached town, the Cubs had traded away most of their best players, including pitcher Ryan Dempster and catcher Geovany Soto. As a result, looking up at the line-up Tuesday afternoon, the home team looked more like the Iowa Cubs than the Chicago Cubs.
Plus, the Cubs are awful this year. Rooting against them would be like rooting against the Detroit Lions back when they struggled to win a single game in a season.
The biggest thing the Cubs had going for them, besides their tragically hilarious ineptitude, was legendary Wrigley Field. I love Miller Park, but being at the famous field, seeing the ivy-covered outfield walls, looking up at the massive manual scoreboard and singing along during the seventh-inning stretch, felt like how baseball is supposed to be.
Wrigley Field also has an advantage over Miller Park, and many other stadiums, by being placed in the middle of the city. Brewers fans do an awesome job of bringing a city-like environment and excitement to Miller Park's parking lots, but it's hard to match walking down a street and seeing all of the bars and restaurants packed with fans.
They were quality fans as well. Since the Cubs aren't doing well this year, most of the people in attendance were hardcores who actually knew the game and weren't there just to drink and yell profanities. You know, like the many who come up for the Cubs-Brewers series.
With all of that going for the home team, I was ready to put on my best face and become a Cubs fan. I bought myself a Cubs hat (three actually; the gift store had two cool old-school hats from the '20s), ready and eager to cheer on my former rivals.
Then the game started.
As the game went on, it was becoming apparent that Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was in the midst of a no-hitter. The Pirates hit a grand slam in the first inning that was more than enough to sink the offensively challenged Cubs, so there was little pressure on the Pirates ace. The win was seemingly already in hand; only history was in question.
As we entered the seventh inning without a Cubs hit, it was time to stop rooting for the Cubs and start cheering on history. It's not every day you get a chance to witness a no-hitter in person. It seemed like many of the fans in attendance were of the same mind.
Unfortunately, in the eighth inning, our chance at seeing history was lost. With two outs, Cubs pinch hitter Adrian Cardenas laced a single to right center. The crowd deservedly gave Burnett a long standing ovation. He finished the game off with eight strikeouts and one lone hit.
It was easily the most exciting 5-0 game I've ever seen, though thanks to the almost no-hitter, my goal of becoming a Cubs fan for a game was lost. It seems that even fate doesn't want me to become a Cubs fan.
Trip notes: Wrigley Field may not host many wins this year, but it certainly still hosts a number of interesting characters. The most memorable of them was Beany, a friendly motorcoach driver my dad and I ran into. Beany had tons of stories, ranging from technically dying in a motorcycle crash to the numerous bands he'd driven coach buses for. He also had a massive championship ring from Eastern Kentucky University. Our conversation only lasted about five minutes, but he had enough fascinating stories for five hours.
Total hot dogs eaten: Still four. I discovered an addictively delicious BBQ pulled pork sandwich across the street from Wrigley that cut into my hot dog numbers. Between the hot dogs and pulled pork, it's safe to say I'm going to need some bigger pants.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published May 17, 2013
With all of that in place, it would seem the sequel's phasers would be all set to stun. But something's off. There's a sequence where the starship Enterprise is flying at warp speed when a big, clunky-looking vessel comes up from behind and nudges it off its exhilarating track. That's pretty much "Star Trek Into Darkness" in a nutshell, except replace the big, clumsy vessel with a big, clumsy story.
Published May 15, 2013
Michael Viers is a horror movie junkie, but his upcoming project, "Love You Still," is less boogeyman and more "Old Man and the Sea." The most shocking part, however, is that the story - a tale of an old fisherman reflecting back on his life - comes courtesy of a junior in high school. It may seem like a strange combination, but for Milwaukee Film and their Collaborative Cinema educational program, it's just another exciting year of locally-bred film and hopefully a sign of more to come.
Published May 14, 2013
After four years, several all-nighters and an embarrassing amount of ramen, Hot Pockets and Dr. Pepper for dinner, I - alongside thousands of others across the country - am finally making the triumphant walk across the graduation stage from childhood to adulthood, snagging a diploma along the way. If I ever get nostalgic for the university lifestyle, however, I can pop in one of these great college movies.
Published May 10, 2013
Now there's Baz Luhrmann's rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," done up as the big, loud extravagant 3-D summer blockbuster I doubt Fitzgerald had in mind when he wrote his time-honored critique of the vapid lifestyles of the rich and the growing emptiness of the American dream. The end result feels a bit too much like one of Gatsby's parties: a whole lot of razzle dazzle with a hollow emotional core.
Published May 8, 2013
Funny or Die and Old Milwaukee are bringing stand-up comedians Matt Braunger and Johnny Pemberton to Turner Hall tomorrow night. Braunger is most known for his reoccurring role as Gene on NBC's "Up All Night" and his Comedy Central special "Shovel Fighter." Pemberton appeared in "21 Jump Street" and "The Watch," and currently stars as Mason on ABC's new sitcom "Family Tools." We got a chance to talk with the duo of comedians about the tour, memories of Milwaukee and messing with random people on the road.
Published May 7, 2013
"Moulin Rouge" director Baz Luhrmann is the latest to attempt to cash in on classic literature with his slick, shiny 3-D rendition of "The Great Gatsby," coming out Friday. Before we see how Luhrmann's second attempt at working with legendary source material goes, let's take a peek at five other films that boldly attempted to abolish the phrase, "the book is always better than the movie," out of audience's minds.
Published May 3, 2013
The first question I had walking out of "The Avengers" last summer was, "How freaking awesome was that?" The second question - a bit more difficult to answer - was, "How is any comic book superhero movie ever going to be able to compete with that?" Pretty easily, as it turns out. "Iron Man 3" may not fly as high as its star-studded combo platter predecessor, but it still makes for a great start to the summer.
Published May 2, 2013
While one of the biggest studio films of the year will be announcing the yearly stampede of other, equally massive studio features on Friday, UWM and its film department will head in the other direction with the 13th Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, starting this Friday and running through the rest of the weekend.
Published May 1, 2013
"Pain and Gain" is the Michael Bay-iest movie Michael Bay has ever made. A large portion of readers, weary of Bay's signature bloated, "explosions are awesome KABOOM!," go-big-or-go-home brand, likely just read that last sentence and shuddered in fear. But here's the twist: It turns out "Pain and Gain" is a roided-out freak-child of a film that's a lot of bizarre fun.
Published April 28, 2013
"The Place Beyond the Pines," represents a massive leap for "Blue Valentine" director Derek Cianfrance. Its lofty aspirations come with their share of flaws, but they also come with a sense of exhilaration. To borrow a phrase from one of the film's costars, it rides like lightning but avoids crashing like thunder.