I know I said I wouldn’t talk about the Cubs, but this is worthy 😉 Yesterday I went to the Cactus League Cubs vs. Athletics game at Hohokam Park in Mesa, Arizona with my mom and cousin. My mom has been a huge Cubbies fan her whole life and grew up watching the games. She could name all the 1969 players for years, and loved Ron Santo. My cousins is friends with a WGN Sports guy, so we went with the hopes he could take us through the press box.
We started out tailgating in the dry parking lot with our cooler full of beer, before wandering in and finding our seats along the left base line. My cousin called her friend and told him where we were sitting, so shortly into the game, he found us and asked if we wanted to go up to the “private party” balcony where all the press people and friends were (free beer!). Of course we jumped at the chance!!
When we arrived up there, my cousin asked if he could take us on a tour of the press box and he graciously agreed! It was sooooo cool! I saw all the beat writers in one room on their laptops, then we went into the tv booth. I was so thrilled to be up there and asked if it would be uncool if I took out my camera. The guy was totally nice and said no problem! I took several pictures of the view from there and my mom next to a camera. I had to turn the beep off as I was afraid it could be heard over the air.
After that, we moved into the radio announcers’ booth. Ron Santo (a 1969 Cub!) and Pat Summerall were announcing. Cuz’s friend asked if we wanted to meet them! My mom nearly cried – she just LOVES Ron Santo. He actually stood up to shake our hands (his legs were removed due to diabetes and he has prosthetics). He autographed a program for my brother (another huge Cubs fan) and then autographed my mom’s visor. She was beside herself! She told him she loved his movie, This Old Cub, because she’s a nurse and shows it to her renal patients for inspiration and he commended his son for getting him through some really tough times. I felt like an ass for not chatting with Pat Summerall – we were all so focused on my mom’s fancrush on Ron! You could probably hear her saying “thank you so much!” on the radio as they went live again before we left. I did tell him I aspired to be in the press box for Nationals games (blush!). Like I said, I felt like an ass. He looked fantastic.
We returned to our bleacher seats after that (oh, first I snapped a photo of the organ guy). What a day!! The three guys sitting next to us were fun – one of them was a Nike hat design guy, so I gave him some input on what I like and don’t like about baseball caps. He’s going to send me samples – and Nationals ones if they have them. Score!! A very drunk Chicago fan a couple rows in front of us whipped four $100 bills out of his wallet and offered to buy my mom’s signed visor off of her.
- Plane fare to Phoenix : $330
- Tickets to Spring Training Game : $9
- Getting autograph of Ron Santo on visor: Priceless
The guy next to me from Portland, OR asked about the Nationals and l’affaire Soriano. I told him Soriano will play left field. He asked who’s playing 2nd, so I responded Jose Vidro. “Isn’t that the really good young kid your team has?” Me: “No, that’s Ryan Zimmerman who plays 3rd.” My cousin was thinking, “HooYeah! She’s kicking his butt talking baseball – you go girl!” Haha. Although, I wouldn’t expect an out-of-towner to have our roster memorized.
It’s pretty sad that I was the “responsible adult” the remainder of the day, but it was awfully funny watching my mom and cousin get giggle-fit drunk. My mom even drunk-dialed my brother, her brother, and a friend on the way home. All she could exclaim the rest of the day was, “This was the BEST DAY EVER!!”. Very cute and sweet and I’m glad I was there.
Oh yeah, and the Cubs won in the 10th inning after a very scoreless and hitless (As) game 1-0.
All photos on Flickr.