The Cubs looked downright competent, and Jeff Samardzija made the Sox look downright incompetent. The first hit he allowed in the bottom of the third inning was promptly erased by a double play. That hit and a walk to Konerko in the 5th were the only baserunners Samardzija allowed before a minor Sox uprising in the 9th inning. He was outstanding, and he earned his first shutout in the MLB.
Far more entertaining than Samardzija’s mastery, however, was the spectacle that was a Cubs-Sox game in 2013. So help me god, I had no idea Chicago Cubs and Sox fans still took the BP Cup/Red Line vs. Broken Red Line/Civil War/Battle for Meatball Bragging Rights Series seriously. I assumed after the Great Debacle of 2003 and the 2005 World Series that Never Happened that fans on both sides of town would be smart enough to realize that this silly interleague series doesn’t really matter. They’re not.
Walking to the park past the tailgaters and trainyards, I took a special kind of heckling. The first guy hurled a hurtful, “Get a video board!” barb at me. Words hurt, guy whose girlfriend I was sort of checking out until she turned around and I witnessed (no joke) the full extent of her methadone habit. Not those words, though. Because those words are stupid. Particularly since the White Sox scoreboard operator couldn’t be bothered to give us updates about the happenings of the Blackhawks game. I don’t care about hockey in the slightest, and even I was anxious for an update. The scoreboard operators finally gave us a brief game recap in between innings in the sixth or seventh to let us know the game was tied. That sucked.
Scoreboard watching was one of the most thrilling parts of the end of the 2003 season. Hell, it was even sort of exciting hearing the 9,000 fans in Pittsburgh react to every Penguins goal last week. I hope when the Cubs do get a video board, they operate it competently.
Don Rickles wasn’t done taunting me mercilessly, however. Moments later, when he was marveling at the dozens of bean bag boards and tens of teeth, he observed, “You ain’t even got a [parking] lot!” Had I a microphone in front of me, I would have sipped a glass of water, leaned forward, and said, “I have no rebuttal.” That’s what you got? 105 years of championshipless baseball, and you’re picking on our asphalt? What a waste of a good heckle.
Inside the park, I visited the Bacardi Club for the first time. Cellular could use some better signage. I’m a reasonably-intelligent person. I’ve never been lost in an airport. Not even a French airport. Hell, I spent ten days in Italy without speaking a lick of Italian, and I only got lost once. It took me two tries to get to the second floor of the Bacardi Club, and neither try was worth it. Fortunately, I got to walk the interminably long Cellular ramps twice! Why are those ramps so long? If they graded them any more steeply, would the Sox fans have a hard time negotiating them in their leg shackles?
I was in the 500 box level for the game. My seat was apart from the group I was with, and as I approached it, it was clear that a group of Sox fans were in my seat. I politely let them know that they were in my seat #13, and I showed them my ticket. The buffoon I was speaking to insisted that he also had seat #13, and showed me his ticket, which (no joke) read “Seat #15.” After he blustered and spittled into my face for a few seconds, I asked him what seats he thought he had. When he said the row behind him, and that he might have “fucked up” I just went and grabbed that seat. Not before telling him that, yes, he had definitely fucked up.
After about an inning of being apart from my group, I tried to seat hop to the section next to mine so I could sit near them. I figured with the Hawks game going on, with bad weather, and with a mediocre team playing a bad team, I wouldn’t have a hard time sitting near my group. How I was wrong. Sox fans get REALLY angry when you’re sitting in their seat. I obviously had no issue moving when people came to claim their seats, even if they didn’t bother showing up until the third inning. But don’t be a bitch to me. Some lady showed up with her poor, poor husband and son. When it became obvious that I was in their seats, I immediately jumped up, apologized, and said I was probably in their seats. The woman glared at me, said, “Yeah, you are,” and then proceeded to block me into the aisle so I couldn’t get out. I literally had to say, “Well, are you going to let me out of the row so you can sit down?” She huffed and puffed before backing the fuck out of my way. A half inning later, the bitch was gone, and I took her seat right back. Fucking idiot.
Also of note, the guy behind me when I was in the bitch’s seats dropped this gem when Scott Hairston came up: “Their DH is only hitting .138? Wow.” I didn’t bother pointing out that they don’t have a DH, but it seemed relevant. He also spent a good deal of time bitching to his son about Adam Dunn’s batting average. I’m surprised his son could hear him over the grinding of my teeth.
In the interest of fairness, I’ll share a terrible Cubs fan story. Later in the game when everyone was properly inebriated, I was back to my original seat when a HILARIOUS Cubs fan behind me was explaining the Cubs lineup to his Sox fan companion. When Scott Hairston came up, he said, “This is the part of their lineup that gets a little HAIRY.” Silence. Then, no joke, he David Brented it by saying, “Do you get it? Because his name is HAIRston.” Only then did his friend start laughing. So, not only was it a horrendous joke, but his friend DIDN’T EVEN GET IT.
Oh, and there was a 60+-year-old Sox fan in front of me wearing a rally cap from about the fourth inning on. Because Sox fans are stupid.
Cub fan haters can say whatever they want about Wrigley being the world’s biggest beer garden, but U.S. Cellular seriously sucks. I will update you on its status when I return in another ten years.