One June 28th I logged onto cubs.com and saw they had single tickets available. I guess they release tickets to sold out games about a month in advance? This particular game was on July 27th. Even though there were only single tickets available I decided to go ahead and buy. Stub Hub ticket prices were just ridiculous! And I've never been to a Crosstown Classic game.
Aisle 206, Row 14, Seat 9 (obstructed view but not noted on ticket!)
There was an empty seat to my left and a family with two young kids to my right. The young son was diligently keep score. He kept swatting away his Dad who was trying to take away his duties.
The game was really really frustrating for the first 5 and a half innings. The Cubs were getting no-hit by Anthony Ranaudo (who?!). He stepped up to the plate in the 5th and not only recorded his first career hit but his first career homerun!
The Cubs had already lost the first two games of the Crosstown Classic at U.S. Cellular Field and honestly I kind of didn't even want to go to this game. I'd gone to the game before and my boy Kyle Hendricks ended up taking the lost when the offense didn't just show up.
So now the Cubs were 20 batters into the game without a hit and I think most of the fans had reached their boiling point. I know I had. And the son beside me did too. He threw his scorecard and pen down in frustration after Dexter Fowler flied out to start the bottom of the 6th. He groaned out "Still a no-hitter!" and I think he pretty much spoke for us all.
And then suddenly that just kind of made me smile. I'm not sure why I think his frustration finally allowed mine to lift. Oh and then Kris Bryant hit his 26th home run of the year! So yeah KB broke up the no-hit bid AND tied his home run total from the year before! Suddenly the game seemed a bit more light hearted and were were tied and back in it.
Peanut Tillman leads the stretch. (He also led it at the Sox Field the day before).
The game didn't stay tied for long, shortly after former Bear Peanut Tillman sang the stretch, Javy Baez hit a 2 run home run put the Cubs in the lead 3-1.
Javy's homer finally chased Ranaudo from the mound. But it wasn't until the 8th that the fans really started to get excited.
Suddenly everyone started noticing who was warming up in the bullpen!
Before Chapman got up Wood was warming up. I noticed that Contreras came in specifically to catch Chapman's warmup.
Yep, that's Aroldis Chapman making his Cubs debut!
There was certainly a buzz around Wrigley. I honestly wasn't sure how everyone would react. After all many had voiced their opinions on social media regarding his past and the suspension he served this year.
And then after Zobrist doubled to score KB and Miguel Montero walked to load the bases loaded for Addison Russell, most fans were wondering if we'd see Chapman's debut at all that night.
Of course Addy does what Addy does and went ahead and hit his first career grand slam!
Addison Russell congratulated by his teammates. Photo courtesy Cubs Twitter
The Cubs now owned an 8-1 lead! So that probably meant no Chapman right?
Nah, Chapman still warming up!
Yep, people were excited to see Chapman!
Jose Abreu led off the top of the 9th and struck out swinging!
Aroldis Chapman debuted to an easy 1-2-3 inning with 2 strike outs and a ground out.
That's the smile of a guy that throws 102 mph!
Avisail Garcia struck out to end the game!
Go Cubs Go!
Hey Chicago Whaddya Say?
The Cubs are gonna Win Today!
Isn't every game that ends singing along to Go Cubs Go just the best???