If You're Not First You're Last

April 24, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Everything was perfect about Sunday's game against the Cards. The weather screamed 'love me!', the Old Style was flat and lukewarm and Cardinals fans broke out their best pleated shorts and fresh Tevas just for the occasion.

We started off the festivities at Merkle's, an 'Iowa bar' occupying the former Billy Goat Tavern. Just a solid bar. Maybe it was Hawkeye memorabilia that made it feel homey or my better than average buffalo chicken sandwich. Or perhaps it's the fact that it's namesake is Fred Merkle. This is what I recall of Fred Merkle. I owned an old VHS tape called 'Not So Great Moments in Sports.' This tape was narrated by Tim McCarver. Yep, that Tim McCarver. I recall a clearly intoxicated McCarver recanting the story of Fred Merkle, who played on some team in the early 1900's (I don't remember which team, but that's neither here nor there. Hell, Wikipedia it if you really need to know). Anyway, Merkle made crucial error in a World Series game that cost his team the game. That error became known as 'Merkle's Boner'. Hearing Tim McCarver repeatedly utter the words 'Merkle's Boner' makes me giggle like a fat child at a Hostess factory. In fact, my brother I and were giggling like small children recounting this story to our wives, who failed to see as much humor in the story. Oh Merkles. Oh Boners.

After some overpriced barley and hops at Merkles, we headed to the stadium. Section 134, Row 1, seats 1-4. Not too shabby at all. The Cubs were actually scoring runs. The sun was hot. My face was turning as red as Albert Pujols shoes. When Barret homered to put the Cubs up 4-2 I clapped so hard my hands physically stung and I had to tell myself to 'take it easy'. Even when we fell down 7-4 I had hope. I turned to my brother and said, 'We're down 7-4, but I'm not worried. I have faith. Is that so wrong?' To which my brother responded, 'Well, you are drunk.' Well said. Then A-Ram hits a three run homer. Vindication! Why does A-Ram always seem to run so slow? I think his 'sprint' speed is actually the exact same as his 'home run trot'.

Watching Felix Pie run the bases and patrol the outfield, I will say this. The man is a beast. He will go out to hunt and bring his family back a mastodon that will feed them for months. I'm pushing all my chips to the middle of the table on this kid. All in. This guy should never set foot in Des Moines again.

Thunder Matt got a AB a pinch hitter, but before a proper 'Thunder Matt' chant could get started he had lined out to shortstop, much to the chagrin of everyone in the crowd who was wearing red, which was clearly a tip of the cap to our red headed namesake. Shit Thunder. You may just bought yourself a weeks worth of bench time. On a positive note, The Riot was raking as usual. He's like the white Ryan Freel. Wait, my sources have just confirmed that Ryan Freel is in fact white as well. So be it. Maybe Chone Figgins is the black Ryan Theriot. Wrap your mind around that!

Anyway, all hope was effectively dashed when Poopholes (snickering) hit a home run in the 10th that still hasn't landed. With the extended bleachers it takes quite the shot to actually hit it out of the park. Albert hit his far enough to land on the CTA tracks. No worries though, as the CTA Red Line was already backed up anyway, so the ball posed no real threat. The Cubs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, losing 10-7.

On a side note, two t-shirts have really worn out their welcome. 'Cardinals Take in the Pujols' and the one with Barrett punching Pierzynski that says 'Who Says the Cubs Can't Hit?' C'mon! Just lame and old. There should be one year limit on shirts of this type. I'm all for timely, off-color commentaries, but let's keep it current people. A little creativity please. Maybe something about LaRussa's DUI? But I've always been a bit off an asshole, so I digress.

I suppose this is why people continue to come to Wrigley and continue to support the Cubs every year, even when they stink. Cause even when they lose it's still a helluva time. As long as the sun is out and you drink enough warm Old Style.

*Attached are some photos I took with my fancy new Canon and it's Zoom feature (it's like it's from the future!) Generally, being from Wicker Park, I'm far too cool to take pictures of the field and what not, but this is a blog and what is a blog without pretty pictures? Words. Word.