The Cubs are Awake and the Dream is Still Real
So wide can’t get around it
So low you can’t get under it
So high you can’t get over it
Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
George Clinton might as well have been singing about the Cubs’ lineup. Garret Richards certainly couldn’t find a way around, under, or over a group that touched him up for 6 hits and drew 3 walks en route to 3 runs. The Angels ace piled up 7 strikeouts over 5 innings, but it took him 97 pitches to do so. And once they chased the starter, the game was all but over.
You probably didn’t come here for another recap though. Heck, you probably had a much better idea of what was going on pitch-to-pitch than I did. There’s something to be said for being there, but I miss the interconnectedness of experiencing the game across multiple platforms. Between being able to pull up on-demand highlights to arguing calls and celebrating/commiserating in realtime on Twitter, we can be together even when we’re apart.
Don’t get me wrong, Wrigley Field is my favorite place on the planet and there’s no place I’d rather be on gameday. But my reasons for loving the ballpark experience in general don’t necessarily involve the game itself. It’s the energy of being around all those other fans, of taking part in the communal experience that stretches across all manner of differences. A lot of that had been missing during the Cubs’ lean years of late, but it was back with a vengeance last season.
And I felt it in Anaheim last night just walking up to Noble Ale Works, a small microbrewery/tasting room just north of Angels Stadium. We arrived shortly after they opened at 4pm and the line stretched out the door, maybe 50 or so deep. As we finally made it inside, I began to recognize some fellow Cubs fans. And I don’t mean that I noticed people wearing blue — the place was probably half Cubs early, though the guy in the Cardinals hat/shirt comb kinda threw me off — but that I saw a few people I knew. Some people even came up and recognized me, which was a real trip.
So there we were, having beers ahead of what we’d all been dreaming would be an historic Cubs team, and the dream was alive and well. We were in line for the roller coaster, laughing and catching up and sharing our thoughts on what we’d be seeing over the coming months.
And then the game started…and Dexter Fowler laced a leadoff double. Not a bad way to set a tone. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, folks, so I’m not going to ascribe more importance to Monday’s opener than is due a single W. But it felt really good to be sitting there in the outfield and watching our expectations come to life on the field.
Now buckle up for my counterpoint when they lose — or when my beloved War Bears is once again the only player who fails to reach base — and I turn into Eeyore.