Today, the Chicago Cubs celebrated the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field. Tom Ricketts and the Cubs pulled out all the stops to make this a day to remember, which is something that I think they succeeded in doing with flying colors. Today is a day that I do not think any fan of the Cubs will be able to forget for a long time; not even if they wanted to.
Typically, baseball teams give away cheap items for the first few thousand fans in order to entice them to spend their hard earned money to come out and watch a ball game. Today, the Cubs took things a step further and actually gave away a replica Chicago Federals jersey to 30 thousand fans. Jerseys are not cheap, and for the Cubs to give away 30 thousand of them, they dished out a lot of money. Sure, they may have been donated to get the company some extra exposure (like Jewel did by donating 10 thousand cupcakes) but the Cubs might have still had to give something to get something.
The Cubs also brought in a ton of Chicago celebrities, old Cubs and Chicago Bears who called Wrigley Field home. However, Sammy Sosa was not invited and the lovable mascot Kerry Wood was also missing in action for today’s ceremony. Those missing former Cub greats did not stop the Cubs from putting on the party of the century though, which also included a 400 pound cake which was designed to be a replica of Wrigley Field.
The pregame festivities will be something that will remain in the minds and hearts of Cub fans for generations; as will the game that was played today as well.
Jeff Samardzija pitched great today, allowing only 2 runs in just over seven innings pitched. What else would you expect from him? He has been pitching great this year, but getting screwed out of wins thanks to a lack of run support. However, all that changed today as the Cubs actually scored five runs for their number one starter, and he was finally in line for his first win of the 2014 campaign.
Unfortunately, Samardzija had to leave the game in the eighth inning due to a high pitch count, but he was leaving with a 5-2 lead. The game was in the hands of the bullpen; more specifically Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop. You would think that the game was well in hand with a three run lead and those two coming in that he game would be safe.
You would be wrong.
Rondon pitched well in the eighth inning and kept the three run lead. However, as you should know by now, the ninth inning is never easy for the Cubs. That is where Strop comes in. He walks the first batter on four straight bad ones, then starts the next batter off with three straight balls. An error and a few hits later the lead was cut down to one, and Rick Renteria finally pulls Strop in favor of James Russell.
You should know what happened, these are the Cubs after all. Russell gives up the lead and they are tied. Exit Russell and enter Justin Grimm. He gave up the hit that not only put the Cubs down two runs, but also probably helped place Justin Ruggiano on the disabled list. In case you missed what happened (and I would not blame you if you turned off the game after Russell gave up the lead) but Ruggiano injured his hamstring running after, and sliding for a ball hit to right field. He missed the ball, and just laid on the ground for a while which allowed two runs to cross the plate. Cubs were now losing 7-5, which is what the score was when the game ended.
I do not want to write the “typical Cubs” story, but that is actually what took place today. In a celebration of the 100 year birthday of Wrigley Field, the Cubs played the ninth inning the way they have played most games in this 100 year Wrigley life span. They tease you with thinking you are going to see a fantastic win, and then yank the rug out from under you by finding a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We have sadly seen this tale many times before, and all this taking place on this day is sadly a perfect fit.
On a day when the Cubs were celebrating all things Wrigley, the Cubs lose in typical Cubs fashion. Something Wrigley Field is sadly used to seeing.