Every once in a while, when I do get to take in an Iowa Cubs game, I always enjoy it. However, baseball is only a minor part of the experience for me. I like getting out with friends, enjoying a nice day or evening, watching people fight over blasted t-shirts or hot dogs and eating an awesomely grilled hot dog and some peanuts. While this is happening, baseball is being played in the background.
|Silky O'Sullivans on Beale Street|
|Photo courtesy of Hillary Stein @ flickr|
After my Silky Dog and some piano at Silky's I headed over to the stadium. I was late. It was the bottom of the first inning. I was shocked that there was still a line of about 10 people waiting to buy tickets. It was HOT out 112 degree heat index. I didn't really expect a big crowd. Oh wait, there is only one person working the ticket booth (and that person didn't seem too competent). So I look around and find some guy scalping tickets. I don't usually buy from scalpers (in fact this is only the second time) because I believe in the money going to the people that put on the show, but I was looking at standing in line for another 20 minutes to get to the front of the ticket booth. So I hit up cracky across the street.
"How about you give me $10 for this ticket right here...that's a good price"
"$10? That's face value - it says so right there...I can walk across the street and get the seat next to this for $10. I'll give you $5."
"I don't think I can do $5...How about $8 but that's robbing food from my family."
"I need to eat too...and there is no one else buying tickets...I"ll give you $7."
I head into the park and was right...there is a tiny crowd. They announce paid attendance at 4,800 but there probably wasn't more than 400 people there. It was sparse. The park was really nice but had a completely different feel than the hometown stadium. The Redbirds' stadium, AutoZone Park is about 3000 seats larger than the I-Cubs' Principal Park, but the Principal Park feels much more airy and open. The Memphis stadium is surrounded by office buildings...it just doesn't have the blue sky openness that Principal Park has.
I grabbed an ice cream and headed to my seat. I was pleasantly surprised to see the I-Cubs were winning 1-0. I know it is probably not a fair representation since I maybe go to one or two games a year, but when I do the I-Cubs always lose are have really low scores (except for that one time and the Rally-Yak. I'm still not sure what that was all about but I like the Rally Yak). The I-Cubs continued to score and play well - shutting down the Redbirds like it was easy. The fans were turning a little ugly...instead of cheering their team, they were booing the I-Cubs. With the exception of a home run in the 2nd, the Redbirds were not able to score while Iowa scored at least once each inning...until the sixth.
Top of the 6th and the score is 7-1, I-Cubs are dominating every part of the game and are just coming off a nice homer in the 5th. I figured that the I-Cubs would come in fired up, but they were not able to handle the replacement Redbird pitcher. The I-Cubs get a single and three pop flys outs. It is the first inning that they didn't score. Memphis comes back with a homer. The seventh inning is scoreless for both but the Redbirds rule the eighth inning with 2 runs.
The I-Cubs got into the ninth with a score 7-3, and they start out strong with a double. The runner advances to third on a ground out but is tagged out at home on the next play. With a runner on both first and second, the Cubs end a scoreless on a strikeout. Still they are up by 4 runs...and the most runs that Memphis has been able to get in an inning is two. Many of the fans have left at this time, it should be no problem for Iowa to finish off the Redbirds right? Not quite. Memphis singles, then Iowa walks the batter. With runners on first and second, Iowa gains a strikeout and then a pop out. Two runners, two outs...and we walk another batter. Bases are now loaded....and Memphis hits a Grand Slam Home Run to win the game. Really? A grand slam to win it? It was the most exciting baseball game that I had ever seen. The Memphis fans loved it of course. Good game Memphis, way to hang in there. If baseball was more interesting like this more often, I would probably be a bigger fan.