Dear Dad: I went to a Cubs game

My dad . . . my poor dad. He tried to get me into sports, he really did.

When we lived in Spain he would turn on the occasional soccer game and even try to explain some of what was happening. At that point, I would scurry away to go play dolls in my room.

Or read Anne of Green Gables for the umpteenth time.

He took us to a baseball game in Indianapolis when we were back in the States for a summer–I think I was 14 at the time.

I remember it was really hot, and Michael W. Smith was there playing “Friends are Friends Forever” (??). But I missed the home run because I was wrapped up in a book (“The Princess Bride,” if you must know).

“Did you see that? Jenna, did you see that?” cried my Dad.

“Umm . . . whaaa . . .?” I murmured, glancing up with glazed eyes.

I think I was responsible for at least a dozen new white hairs on my dad’s head that day.

Then he spent years trying to get me to go to a basketball game when I was at Indiana University. During almost every telephone conversation, he’s ask hopefully “So have you been to a game yet?”

“Ummm . . . no . . . but we went to see this awesome opera, Tales of Hoffman!” I’d say.

 “But basketball is iconic! IU is known for its great basketball!” he’d cry. I could just feel him wringing his hands across the Atlantic. “Ummmm, well . . .” I’d respond, “I haven’t really had time to go yet . . . but we stayed up til 3 in the morning in the lounge talking about existentialism!”

See, I was part of the Honors Comunity, where all of us nerds and dorks had the time of our lives. This did not include going to sports events.

Before moving away from Bloomington, in our defense, we did make it to one women’s basketball game. And it was awesome. Really–no scarcasm happening here–it was super fun.

Once, while we were living in Delaware, I even watched the World Series. I think my husband felt that I should at least understand what the heck the game is about, so we made a date with our TV and after messing with the antennae for about five hours, we got some kind of image. During the games we watched, I became an ardent Red Sox fan, and could be heard crying “Go Ramirez! Slam ‘er home!” and biting my nails in nervous anticipation. “I love you David Ortiz! But I’ll love you more if you hit that ball outta the park!”

See, if you put sports in front of me, I really am capable of enjoying it. It’s just not something I’d pursue independently. Are you pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?

So when Joe and Steph invited us to a Cubs game a couple Thursdays ago as part of their wedding celebrations, we quickly accepted, realizing that this was our ticket to fulfilling our unmet Chicago obligation.

(Thanks Joe and Steph–and great wedding, by the way!)

I go past Wrigley Field every day on my way to work, and again on my way home. I regularly bump shoulders with waves of blue-clad Cubs fans from April all the way to . . . well, whenever baseball season ends. If I never set foot in Wrigley Field during our time in Chicago, that may have made my father rip his hair out. And since I hear hair is harder to come by as you age, that was not a desirable option.

I even understand a little more about the game–for example, the delight of ball game food. I stole a good amount of Katie’s jalapeño nachos.

Also, I can casually toss around the phrase “bottom of the fifth” like it’s nobody’s business. Of course, I can’t quite remember whether the bottom or the top comes first.

But I’m sure Dave could tell me. He’s a dedicated baseball fan, and his head is chock-full of all the numbers you need to know. Like 0.357. And 53. And 106. Probably even more numbers than that, I guess.

He made quite the effort to explain all his stats, and the funny little codes he writes down that represent every single thing that’s happening on the field.

Oooh, does that round thing in the middle mean ‘apple pie break’? I certainly hope so.

Steph was looking very cute in her baseball regalia.

She also had that ‘I’m getting married in 2 days’ glow about her.

It was such a fun time. The weather was perfect, our friends were great, our seats were great, and the nachos were crispy.

My husband and I scurried out at the bottom of the eighth (or was it the top?) to avoid the solid mass of people that we knew would be streaking towards the El the moment the game was over. We didn’t want to be crushed by drunken fans . . . or sober fans, for that matter.

Fun fact: when we left, the Cubs were up. I think it was 2-0. The game was practically over.

But by the time we got on the train, a man with a fancy cellphone was saying “Wow. Florida is up 5-3.”

“What???” we cried, looking at each other in disbelief. And by the time we got home, it was Florida’s game 6-3.

It looks like our early exit somehow turned the tables against the Cubs. With our loving support gone, they lost all hope and just gave up, I guess. Gosh, I didn’t know they were depending on me so much.

But anyway.

Dear Dad,

I went to a Cubs game.

Are you proud?

Love, Jenna

P.S. I did have a book with me . . .

. . . but I didn’t read it.

For realz.

89 thoughts on “Dear Dad: I went to a Cubs game

  1. skippymom

    I grew up with a baseball loving family but was exactly like you. My father’s consolation was he had his brothers and his Dad.

    Then I met my husband and we got a team [in DC, FINALLY] and well, the rest, they say, is history. Even our girls are fans. It is so much fun to watch and actually know what is going on – not an easy thing to do, I admit.

    Your friends are so, so cute two days before their wedding. Best wishes to them. :)

    Reply
  2. Veronica

    LOL, you go girl! I recently went to my first WHOLE game too. The first time my sister got fed up and asked if we could leave early. It was just my hubby and I this time and we stayed until the end–I was pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it! The food is def part of the experience. I’m glad it didn’t rain on you–those skies look threatening! Love all your photos.

    Reply
  3. okielicious

    Jenna, your photo with the full moon and vicarious fans on the rooftops was amazing. So was the vertical shot of the cloud covered sky over the ballpark — you need to send it to the Trib. (If Chicago still has a Trib?) Like you, I enjoy sporting events when I’m there or watching (especially the food…), but it’s not my first choice of entertainment. (Gasp… I hope you don’t have any Sooner fans in the bunch!) Anyway, I bet your Dad is beaming from ear to ear! :) Fun post!

    Reply
  4. Joanne

    When I was a kid, I ALWAYS brought books to baseball games! My dad was never pleased. he also tried to get me to play softball…it was disastrous. Let’s not talk about it.

    so glad YOU enjoyed the game, though! I feel like it’s more fun when you’re actually there than it is to watch on tv.

    Reply
  5. Marco

    This dutch blogger is jalours….I have got 2 fav teams NYY and the cubs…..I made a trip to NY to see the Yankee;s ( against the Pirates ) …now saving for a short trip to the Cubs!

    Reply
  6. Rick Satterthwaite

    Jenna – this is your Dad – who never does the Facebook thing.
    This is irresistible – YES – you actually WATCHED the game!? I´m impressed.
    By the way, the game in Indianapolis you mentioned was in Cincinnati. And the the home run you missed was a triple play. Beautifully executed, really. Amazing. I´ll never forget it, mostly because your cute puzzled look as you briefly glanced at me from your book – “What´s all the hullabaloo?” you were saying. It can take a long time to explain a triple play so I just let it go.
    Thank you for saving me those grey hairs. The pictures are Great!
    It is a great joy to me to see you with your friends, enjoying life, and making a difference.
    PS The ´top´of the inning comes before the ´bottom´.

    Love,

    Dad

    Reply
    1. Jenna

      Dad!! Wow! I can’t believe you’re actually commenting here. =) Anyway, it looks like I was so absorbed in my book all those years ago that I didn’t even realize what city we were in . . . or what exactly I missed . . . yeah. =) But this game was pretty fun, even if there were no triple plays.

      Reply
    2. agirlajeepandahouse

      Awww what a great dad… so glad that you commented and we got to hear the “true” story. I love the fact that the Indinapolis game was in Cincinnati and the home run was a triple play. As a baseball fan, I was trying to think of what team was in Indy… alas, I was at a loss. I was thinking I needed to add another city to my bucket list… I hope to one day make it to all of the professional baseball stadiums. While I find it interesting you come from a sports minded family and are not into sports, I come from a non-sports minded family and am into sports. My parents would bring books to the stadium… what great parents :) they would go to a game with me, and have their books. I must confess though, I always have a book with me no matter where I go, even to the ballpark. In my car, in my purse, in a bag. I always have a book, now with my I-pod Kindle app, I have a variety of books with me at any given time. What a fun time in the city! Take in a game at the Sox stadium as well… maybe a hockey game or football game too. They are an experience in their own right.

      Reply
  7. Nick

    Nothin’ like a day at the ballpark! Those nachos look DELISH, btw. P.s. I’m loving the usage of the word “regalia,” in this post.

    Reply
  8. unsweptstone

    Last time we were in Chicago we came upon the sad realization that they were away that entire week. Why would the Cubs want to play anywhere other than Wrigley? I don’t get it.

    Reply
  9. lifesincethen

    Hey there! I came accross your blog from freshly pressed and love reading! My dad and brother were always into F1 Motorsport and used to get angry at me for getting angry that thats all you would see on the tv on a sunday. I still dont really understand the point, but my boyfriend keeps my dad happy as he likes it too so its all good :)

    amazing blog! Made me smile after a hard day :)

    Reply
  10. Amanda

    I can totally relate! I grew up in a baseball crazed family. Fortunately I had my mom on my side and we would do girly things. Today, my boyfriend is trying to make me a football fan by joining a Fantasy Football league. I’m doing it but I’m still coming up with a very girly name :)

    Amanda
    http://bullfrogsandbulldogs.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  11. I Made You A Mixtape

    How cute! I have alwasy wanted to go a for a Cubs game… not for the game itself so much… but for the cool stadium and the fringe benefits…the hot dogs, the beer, the souveniers…lol. I do love the atmosphere at ball games though… it just spells out summer.

    Reply
  12. pezcita

    When I was little, I enjoyed “watching” the ball game with my dad. We’d eat chips and dress all the dolls up as cheerleaders, because, as you implied, the more you cheer, the more they’ll win! “They” were usually the Cubs, the Bears, or the U of M Wolverienes. Nowdays, I just sit there knitting during the game while we make up nicknames for the players. You can see one of my baseball-inspired patterns at http://theknittedrose.wordpress.com/.

    Reply
  13. My Camera, My Friend

    My dad tried to get my siser and I into sports as well. We got the whole eat salty snack food and sing fight songs for college football thing, but I never really enjoyed watching sports. Sad the Cubs lost. I’m from a line of die-hard Cubs fans.

    Reply
  14. ally

    Came across your blog via freshly pressed and really enjoyed reading this post! I can relate as I still try to understand the sports lingo that always came so naturally to my Dad. I’d sit with him on Sundays and watch whatever the sport of the season was as we waited for my Mom to finish cooking dinner. Football bored me out of my mind the most, but as I’ve gotten older I’m starting to get it … I think.
    Thanks for sharing!
    ally
    http://www.cupcakesandcatfood.com

    Reply
  15. Pingback: Dear Dad: I went to a Cubs game (via Jenna’s Everything Blog) « It's impossible to be unhappy on a skateboard.

  16. jumboxboy

    Has to be one of the funniest stories I’ve read. The part of bringing the book nailed it for me! :) Great pictures by the way, I felt I was really there…

    Reply
  17. mesamendoza

    My dad hasn’t been around in a long time, but my boyfriend and his family are die-hard brewer fans. In the past 1.5 years since we’ve been dating I’ve learned a lot about Baseball and I too am now a Milwaukee Brewer Lover!

    I loved this post, very awesome! :)

    Reply
  18. abichica

    very cool post.. iv never really been to a baseball game, but it looks so fun.. but i believe i would have done like you and brought a book as well.looll. 😀

    Reply
  19. chobar32

    Great story. I went to my first Cubs game in 1953, guess how old I am. Anyway, there was a Cub outfielder named Hank Sauer. Not a great player but a terrific character. Hank used a very long and heavy bat and hit some very long home runs during his tenure. Even with his heavy bat, Hank was able to pull the ball to left field, he was right handed. In fact, he pulled the ball so much that the other teams invented the “Sauer Shift” defenese where all the outfielders and infielders, except the first baseman played between 2nd and 3rd base.

    Anyway, the day that I first went to Wrigley we had seats in the left field bleachers close to the foul pole. In one of Hank’s at bats he hit a ball so hard that not only did it just clear the foul poll for a fair ball but ended up on the roof of the fire station on Waveland or Sheffield Ave, can’t remember which is which. Too bad there was not ESPN in those days because that shot would have been the hit of the week or month.

    By the way, your pics show a sell out crowd which started about 1969 but in 1953 there were more ushers than paid fans. I didn’t care. I had my Dad, uncle and couple of hot dogs and the memory that Hank gave me. In case you haven’t guessed I have been a Cub fan since that day! Thanks for sharing your memories.

    Reply
  20. critters and crayons

    Nice photo journal! I remember stashing my school books for cadet marchdowns to our military school’s mandatory football games. Our college was DEFEATED- hadn’t won in forever. I didn’t want to waste 5 hours there when I could be doing homework. hahahahahaa! I so get it. Glad you liked the game- sure your dad is happy!

    Reply
  21. Emjayandthem

    Super fun post! The photos, the commentary (top or the bottom?), the food, the fun! And .. your dad weighed in as well? Sweet.

    And .. .when my hubbs is watching his beloved Tigers in his ManCave (garage), I bring my book along, too. I watch & read and ask questions. Cheers! MJ

    Reply
  22. Ionea

    Wish my dad would take me to a basketball or football game. He’s not that big fan of sports, or live events. He likes to watch them on the TV :) Very nice post! Thumbs up!

    Reply
  23. ChiGuy22

    Nice to see a fellow Chicagoan being Freshly Pressed! And, even though you went to a game on the wrong side of town, I really enjoyed the post and the format in which you posted it. Very smart and well done!! Oh, and since this sports thing is relatively new to you, next time you’ll know not to be shocked and disappointed when the Cubs blow a lead at the end of a game. 😉

    I post a few things every now and again. Random Ruminations, if you will. Have a look, will you? :)

    http://randrumins.wordpress.com

    Reply
  24. ecodolphin

    I went to one Cubs game about, lord I don’t even remember how many years ago, but I do know that all of those seats built on top of the buildings across the street weren’t there yet. And for that matter there weren’t even any lights yet. What I do remember is that Ron Santo hit a home run and the Cubs won. The scary thing is I don’t even remember who they beat. Oh well, great memory anyway!

    Reply
  25. Nikole Hahn

    I am so not a baseball fan, but my husband wants me to read a big book during a diamondbacks game so that the announcers will pan the camera at me. I plan on picking the biggest tome and most interesting tome just to give that to him. ROFL.

    Reply
  26. okielicious

    Jenna, CONGRATULATIONS on becoming Freshly Pressed — I was so excited to see you on “the front page.” This is a fantastic post and you deserve it! Way to go! :)

    Reply
  27. Woman In Thrisis

    First of all, congrats on being Freshly Pressed!! And secondly… from a Cubs fan… THANK YOU for the wonderful trip down memory lane with the great photos. I thoroughly enjoyed your post… and as someone who also had to be “taught” how to appreciate baseball by the men in my life… I appreciated your take on the whole thing too! Great job!

    Reply
  28. Darrell Halk

    I can see my daughter writing this exact blog twenty years down the road. She is six now, and shows interest at times in my sports junkihood, if it means she can get a players autograph. The rub comes when I turn on the Texas Rangers on our TV, and a new episode of SpongeBob or iCarly is playing at the exact same time. We all have our priorities.

    Entertaining blog!

    Reply
  29. mrodgers

    As a lifelong Cubs fan, and another sports fan chalk full of baseball knowledge, I’m glad you made it to hallowed Wrigley Field while living in Chicago. Can’t believe you walk past it every day on your way to work. While living in Pennsylvania and Virginia, I’ve often fantasized about what it would be like to do just that (only I’d be trying to scalp a few tickets for that night’s game on the way home).

    Reply
  30. Melissa

    Awesome post!

    I too went to IU, and I attended (almost) all of the basketball games that my season tickets allowed all four years. Honestly, I barely remember any of the actual games. And that was back during the Bobby Knight era. You didn’t miss a ton. It’s ok. :)

    But seriously, you made me miss Chicago even more than I thought I did. What a great ballpark. What a great atmosphere. And the hotdogs…oh the hotdogs… *drool*

    Thanks for leading me down my own memory lane!!! :)

    Reply
  31. Eamon Walford

    Hi Jenna! :-) Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Back to the Future Part II prophecy comes true, i.e. that the Cubs finally win a World Series in 2015. 😉

    Reply
  32. Tom Vander Well

    As a father of two grown daughters (and a Cubs fan) who annually took his little girls out to the ballpark, thank you for this post. You touched this dad’s heart. (And Kudo’s on getting FP’d!)

    Reply
  33. leahrayanne

    My boyfriend is determined that we’ll go to a Cubs game one of these days, which is fine by me, because I love Chicago. We were there last month for the U2 concert and he got a little respectfully teary-eyed every time we passed Wrigley Field. Oh, and he made so much fun of me for not knowing which came first, the top or the bottom. He seemed to think it was obvious. Psht. But his best friend explained it to me this way: Have you ever played a musical instrument or been involved in theatre? Are you familiar with the term “take it from the top?” Yep. The top comes first. Thanks for such a charming post!

    Reply
  34. oldsalt1942

    I really enjoyed this post and the photos. Back in the mid 70s I lived about five blocks from Wrigley Field. That was back when Wrigley didn’t have lights so all the games were played in the afternoon as the Lord intended them to be played.

    I’d go to a couple of games during the season. Then it cost a buck to sit in the bleachers. People who did that were called “Bleacher Bums.” Since I worked outdoors I preferred to sit in the shade of the grandstand. That cost $2.50. It was a great way to spend an afternoon. People brought you beer and peanuts and Harry Carrey would sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”
    It’s funny kind of funny you were at a Marlins game. I moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida from Chicago. One of my friend’s girlfriends had season tickets for the Marlins and they invited me to a game. I hadn’t been to a ballgame in over 20 years plus I wanted to see what Joe Robbie Stadium was like. (I don’t care what it’s called now. Joe built it with HIS money and no tax help so it will ALWAYS be JOE ROBBIE STADIUM!!!) Anyway, I accepted the invitation and then got stuck in what was (up to that time) the LONGEST game ever played in the entire history of the National League without going into extra innings. There were more 3/2 pitches than one could count and you just wanted to scream “SWING AT IT!” If I had gone in my own car I would have been out of there at the end of the third inning.

    Trivia: The Florida Marlins have only had two seasons were their record was better than .500. They won the World Series both times. .

    Reply
  35. baligins

    Fun post! Very enjoyable! I’m not a baseball fan and I haven’t found the games I’ve been to particularly enjoyable. I LOVE basketball, though! When I got to college my Dad kept asking me if I would go to the sport games- football, basketball, etc. and I’m proud to say I’ve been to many! I think it’s a school pride thing more than anything.

    Reply
  36. dedc79

    I’m hopeful that there will always be time for a baseball game and for a performance of Tales of Hoffman. As for the Cubs, there is definitely something magical about Wrigley, if not the team that plays there…

    Reply
  37. newsy1

    Ah, this brings back such great memories of living in Chicago as a kid and going to Cubs games with my dad. When I became a journalist I got to ride in a blimp that hovered over the stadium and with a telephoto lens I got a great shot from above, and had it blown up and framed for him for father’s day one year. Boy, was he impressed. Terrific post.

    Reply
  38. JL

    Great post, Jenna! I also rejected sports for the most of my younger life. I started to get into basketball (like…I paid attention a couple of minutes of the game) in high school. Now I’m a die hard Mavs fan! But football? no thanks? Baseball? eh. I like going to the ballpark but more for the food and the experience.

    One day I’ll take my husband to Wrigley field!

    Reply
  39. schillingsbloodysock

    Great post! I recently visited Chicago and took a tour of Wrigley Field. It’s an awesome stadium. Having also been to Fenway Park, I think that the two stadiums are very similar in that win or lose the game will still be fun because of the atmosphere the fans create!

    Reply
  40. Pingback: I’ve spoken too soon on two fronts, haven’t I? | Eamon's Place™

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *