Today the Cubs and the Cardinals are playing a day/night double header. These are possibly the most crucial two games of the first half for the Cubs. They will either find themselves just out of first, buried in the pack, or exactly where they are right now. I’m hoping they can find a way to take these last two games before the break and clear their heads and start fresh for the second half. I’m not a huge fan of the day/night layout of these types of double headers. I understand why they have them, but doesn’t everyone love paying for one game and getting two. If your lucky enough to score tickets to both games you have to sit around all day and wait for the next one to start. Although Wrigleyville has many fine establishments to sit and “relax” in, it can get very expensive and tiring trying to soak it all in.
Back in 2003, I talked my wife into going to a game for our anniversary. There just so happened to be a day/night double header the day after our anniversary. What better way to celebrate our second year of wedded bliss. Two games for two years, what a plan. I scored some tickets for the first game, it was the make up game so there were tickets readily available. I figured we would go to that game and try to pick up a couple extra for the second game once we were there. I didn’t mention this to my wife until the train ride in, I hoped once we were in there she would think it was a good idea. She didn’t immediately say no so I thought I had a chance. After all It was the Cubs and Cardinals in early September battling for first place, who wouldn’t want to sit through two of these games.
The day had a bit of an ominous start. I can remember the train station being packed. It often is when the Cards are in town due to the large turn out of Cards fans. We squeezed into a train car and looked around and all we could see was red. We were the only two Cubs fans in the whole car. After a long train ride with a car full of rivals I was ready to enter the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. We hurried to find our seats. They were down the first base line out in right field. I thought they were excellent seats until I realized we were the only blue shirts in another sea of red. Most of them were friendly but there were a few who were enjoying their Budweiser and getting louder by the minute. We decided to enjoy a few Buds too, and before we knew it we were respectfully heckling back and forth with them. I overheard them talking about what to do with an extra pair of tickets they had for the second game. I quickly turned to my wife and tried to talk her into staying for the second game. Her exact words were, “Maybe this game will go 18 innings and we won’t have to stay for the second one.” These words would come back to haunt her.
The Cards jumped out to an early 2-0 lead by the 4th. The Cubs quickly tied it up with a pair of doubles in the 5th. The score would remain the same until the 15th. That’s right, the 15th, as in the fifteenth inning! It wasn’t the 18 she had cursed upon us but it was close enough. They stopped selling beer in the 7th inning and by the 15th inning all of our buzzes had long worn off. Somewhere in the 12th I stopped trying to go to the second game. I’d had enough. It wasn’t even an exciting 15 inning game. The two teams had a combined 13 hits. Scoring opportunities were few and far between. Finally good ol’ Slammin Sammy hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the 15th. He was the hero once again. Not really. He went 1 for 6 with two strike outs. Both strikeouts came with runners in scoring position and he was swinging for the fences. After his home run there was a feeling of relief that it was over. I don’t think it even mattered to anyone who won, but the fact that someone finally ended the game.
The game lasted just 13 minutes shy of 5 hours. The gates for the second game were set to open sometime during the 13th inning. Can you imagine 40,000 fans exiting a 5 hour long game, while 40,000 fresh fans were trying to enter their game. It was a bit of a nightmare. To top it all off it was a crowd full of Cardinal and Cub’s fans. This was the most exhausting afternoon of baseball I have ever sat through, but looking back on it all I’m glad I did.
This day is also memorable because on the train ride while looking to see where our exit was, my wife had mentioned that Addison would make a good name if we ever had a girl. Who was I to argue? About a week later we found out she was pregnant and about 8 months later Addison Kay Gitz was born. She was washed up and put in my arms just in time to watch Matt Clement and the Cubs beat the Reds 8-1.