Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Last Full Measure of Devotion Is a Bag of Peanuts and Another Beer

A few evenings ago, right around dinner time, I was rapidly clicking the remote to escape political ads and when I paused, there was Wrigley Field. The Cubs and the Rockies were in the eighth inning of a game that the schedule crawl indicated was supposed to have ended some time ago.

Of course, neither the Cubs nor Rockies are capable of ending games in a timely manner. They're like a combined 75 games out of first place in their divisions. This was the last week of a season which was somewhere on the scale between forgettable and unforgettable nightmare for both teams. Their thoughts had to be on the sweet prospect of home.

Dinnertime in Boston is time to go home in Chicago. That's why I stopped and watched the game -- not to look at baseball, but to look at the fans. Wrigley Field, while not nearly full, wasn't empty either. People were in the seats, and not just fans who had snuck down to experience what it's like sitting behind home plate. There were fans sitting in the right and left field corners, too.

And I was awed. As a fan and once baseball journalist of many years standing, I bow in the direction of the North Side, and in the direction of all the other parks where fans went to watch their horrible home team play out the string against a nowhere visiting team since Labor Day. These are the fans supreme. Nobody, not Doris Kearns Goodwin, not Roger Angell, not Bill James, loves baseball as much as they do.

The proof of the pudding is paying at least $50 to eat it.


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