Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Where it Begins and Ends

7:30-ish and long shadows.
As I've written before, I was born and raised in suburban Washington D.C., and, thus, I was a by-default fan of the Baltimore Orioles, the old Washington Senators club having decamped for faraway Texas when I was a young boy. Untethered to an intense, loyal fandom, when I moved to Ohio and, later, Illinois, I adopted the Chicago White Sox as my favorite team. This is a careful way of saying that I am not a Cubs Hater. Had I been raised a White Sox fan, my Cubbie antipathy would likely be unwavering; though I don't closely follow the team, I love the game, and so was happy to get to another contest at the Friendly Confines last night (courtesy again of my rock & roll and baseball buddy, Mal Thursday).

Our seats were in Section 416—way up in the grandstands, first row, and our perch afforded us a tremendous view of the beautiful park and a terrific, absorbing game (Adam Wainwright and the Cards edged the Cubs, 4-3), if limited access to vendors. Oh well—we beered-up on the way up, and the ascension to our seats might've been my favorite part of the night. I'd never seen a game at Wrigley from the upper deck. Climbing the ancient, narrow walkways and steep, crowded ramps, one has the impression of going back in time, as if in a tactile dream, past ghosts of fanly heartbreaks and elation. The concrete steps, and modest, green-painted railings over which we peered at the game, feel as old as the city itself. I couldn't bring myself to sing "Root, root, root, for the Cubbies" during the seventh inning stretch, and my applause during the night was stirred by the plays, not the players, but fan allegiances aside, catching a ballgame at Wrigley on a gorgeous June night with friends is a reminder of where it begins and ends for me.
Mal and me on the ramp, with beers. Photo by Bailey Walsh.

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