Saturday, August 19, 2006

Trip To The Dark Side

Visited the heart of darkness yesterday, a.k.a., Wrigley Field.

Had some wonderful seats, just behind the visitor's dugout, courtesy of Curt & Nora (thanks, C'n'N).

The Cardinals were in town, as were many thousands of Cardinal fans. From the looks of it, the 40K crowd (listed, anyway, don't think there were that many asses-in-seats) it was split right down the middle.

The game itself went pretty much as expected: Cards 11, Cubs 3. It featured six Cardinal homers, including three in the seventh inning alone.

I really don't pay much attention to baseball anymore, but there still is a very special feeling associated with being at a ballpark -- one that always brings out a feeling of childhood deja vu. The smell of stale cigar smoke is gone, but the smell of stale beer and the green, green color of the field remain.

While the view of the game is great, the best part of having seats behind the dugout is the chance you get to see the players up close, and all the little things that go along give a flavor to the game. There is nothing quite like the utterly comfortable insouciance of a pro athlete in his element. Albert Pujols' endless fussing with his two-tone first-baseman's mitt. Ronnie Belliard doing his best "Turtle" impression with his hip-hop uni (dreads and skullcap under his cap, blousy shirt pulled out and folded over just so).

The game moves on, and the details may change, but the swagger of a big-leaguer never does.


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