Chicago Cubs: West Coast Swingers

June 10, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

For us Southern California Cub fans, every season gives us one week in which our lives are dictated by the schedule making gods. The West Coast swing by the Cubs is our opportunity to turn Petco Park into Wrigleyville West, and to make just enough of a presence at Dodger Stadium to hear the catcalls and death threats from heavily tattooed, overweight, bald Hispanic men. Consider the events of the last week Mission Accomplished. Today we will bring you the events that transpired for our brave TMS Bartenders in San Diego, followed by the trials and tribulations of the Los Angeles experience tomorrow.

Game 1: Cubs defeat the Padres 7-6. Zambrano gets the victory, Baek the loss, Wood the save.

Um, we're off to a rousing start, as none of us went to this game. Seriously though, it was a Monday. Mondays are bad enough as it is.

Game 2: Cubs defeat the Padres 9-6. Marquis stunningly gets a victory, Bryan Corey??? the loss, Wood the save.

Brant Brown: Homerun derby for the Cubs in this one, as Soriano, Soto, and DeRosa all hit shots out of the park. The wife and I left Orange County at 4pm and made the drive to San Diego in a fleet hour and twenty minutes. As has become a trend with us, we parked at the convention center and used their facilities. I think I've done everything in the convention center restrooms shy of propositioning a man.

Since we had some time to kill before the game, we stopped at our favorite bar in the Gaslamp, The Blarney Stone. The place was dead, just how we like it. One of the televisions was showing the NCAA Softball Championship game between Arizona State and Texas A&M. We had a fascinating conversation with the bartender (the only bartender I've ever seen there) about softball, particularly why they don't wear hats when they play the field. We chalked it up as another great mystery of life, ate a chicken quesadilla, and made our way into Petco.

We took our seats in the field level and were soon joined by Daft Funk and E-Claire. We were absolutely surrounded by Cubs fans, and these were by no means the cheap seats. The lone Padres supporter sitting directly behind me was a bitter old man that kept yelling at us to sit down and be quiet. To him, we're very sorry that our team actually gives us something to cheer about. At some point during the game, my jacket made it's way onto the ground and under my seat. When I retrieved it at the end of the night, it was soaked in some liquid. I blame the old guy.

Aside from the old man, everyone was putting their full effort into chants of "Let's Go Cubbies". The pre- and post-game radio broadcasts for the Padres kept conveying how Padres fans should be embarrassed by this showing. Some random jerkoff Padres fan in the men's bathroom, outnumbered by Cubs fans 4-1, yelled to us "why don't you all fucking go back to the Midwest!". We just looked at him and shook our heads. Poor Padres fans.

Daft Funk: Despite the fact that I reside in San Diego, I had never been to Petco Park, so this was a treat. Traffic was non-existent, which already put Petco over the likes of Dodger Stadium, Angels Stadium of Orange County of California, and...well, pretty much anywhere in the LA/OC area.

Anyway, as Brant already said, the game was not even as close as the final score of 9-6 indicates. After Soriano's 3 run donkeypunch off Guevara in the 8th, all the Padres fans headed to the exits. From that point on, it was literally 95% Cub fans. There were enough of us there to start a loud and clear "Ge-o So-to" chant in the 9th inning. Kerry Wood came in and blew motherfuckers away too.

Random Note #1: Soriano's 3 run jack in the 8th was off a player listed on the scoreboard as "C. Guevara". Now was this actually the Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara? Or was it just Benicio Del Toro playing Che on the mound? Either way, Benicio's gotta spend less time looking strung out and more time learning a change-up.

Random Note #2: As Brant mentioned, there were some geezers behind us. We stood up with all the other Cub fans when the bases were loaded with a full count. They yelled at me to sit down. I told them no, and that everyone else was standing too. Then the old man looked me dead in the eyes and said "Fuck you! Sit down!" I've never had a man of 528 years of age swear at me before. It was awesome.

Random Note #3: When E-Claire and I were waiting around for food, a cotton candy guy came up to us and started telling us that we needed to buy cotton candy because "you don't have this stuff in the Midwest". When I told him that there actually was cotton candy in the Midwest, he then tried to sell me on the fact that he had woke up at the crack of dawn and hand-picked the cotton candy for me himself. I told him I didn't have any cash, but he wouldn't give up. He told me that there was an ATM right around the corner, to which I said "True, but that comes with a $5 service charge." He then relented and said that he hated ATM's because they were driving down his business. He then walked away yelling "I hate ATM's! No one use ATM's!" at anyone around him. Stay classy, indeed...

Random Note #4: Michael Barrett was a victim of the double steal...twice in one game!

E-Claire: For the 3 of you that read my posts, you know that I am an A's fan. However, I'm happy to throw my support behind the Cubs (as long as they're not playing the A's in interleague). So Daft Funk and I headed to Petco to meet Mr. and Mrs. Brant Brown...

When Funk and I first got to the park, we were a little confused as to where our seats were located. However, a lady quickly noticed our despair, and pointed us in the right direction after looking at our tickets. When we said "thanks," she responded "It's ok. I live in San Diego." Um...thanks for the info, lady. We live in San Diego, too. I'm glad we have something in common.

Although the Cubs were losing for the first few innings, excitement was brewing. Why? Because Wil "Whatshisname" Ledezma was throwing a no-hitter! I started to wonder "Could we possibly witness history tonight?" But then he lost the no-no in the third and I went back to enjoying my churro (that thing was good...I mean real good. I want to be friends with it. Either you just got my Anchorman reference or I came across looking like a weirdo and/or pervert. I'm happy with either outcome).

Like Daft said, the final score seemed like the game was a lot closer than it actually was. The Cubs hit a bunch of home runs, and stole a bunch of bases because Michael Barrett's arm is about as strong as a non-alcoholic beer. Zing! But seriously, he's awful. And I, too, didn't appreciate the angry man behind us telling us to sit down during an exciting moment in the game (the Cubs were in a position to take the lead). Dude, this is a baseball game. If you want to hang out in an environment with well-behaved, seated citizens, then you should've gone to Bingo Night at the Legion Hall, instead.

Things started to get a little complicated for me in the later innings because in addition to paying attention to the Cubs/Padres game, I was trying to monitor the A's/Tigers game on Funk's phone. I probably looked like a total douchebag standing up to cheer while staring at a cell phone screen, but I like to think I'm just a good multitasker. The A's ended up winning the game in extras on an infield single by Jack Cust. Yes, you read that correctly. Jack Cust legged out an infield single. How the hell did he manage that?! He must've been picturing Miguel Cabrera as a giant Twinkie or something for extra motivation.

Oh yeah...Back to the Cubs game...After a semi-comeback by the Padres in the 8th, Kerry Wood and his beard shut the door in the ninth to secure the win. Then, all of the Cubs fans sang a rousing rendition of "Go Cubs Go" on the opposing team's turf. It was pretty cool. I stopped for another churro on the way out (what? They were good!)...

Game 3: Padres defeat the Cubs 2-1. Heathcliff Slocumb Bell gets the win, Machine Gun Lilly the loss, AARP member Trevor Hoffman the save.

Brant Brown: Like the day before, I left work at 4pm to make the drive to SD, this time sans wife. Daft and I were meeting up for what would hopefully be a more rowdy boys-only game. Man did we peg that one wrong. It took me two and a half god damned hours to drive to SD this time. There was a very slight amount of drizzle on the freeway, which in Southern California, essentially shuts down all roadways. The drivers here are the most pathetic pieces of shit when it comes to any driving conditions other than "sunny". Per usual, I parked at the convention center and took a leak. Knowing that Daft was also stuck in traffic, I proceeded into the stadium on my own, grabbed a brat and a Stone IPA, and took my seat. Essentially the same seats as the night before, except along the first baseline. In fact, these seats were a bit better as there was no overhang and the scoreboard was directly in front of us. It was all downhill from here though.

The retarded Hairston brother (no, not the retarded Hairston brother that played for the Cubs, and not his shady looking father) hits a leadoff homer immediately quieting the Cub crowd. Daft and I tried our damnedest to boo Edmonds, but we only seemed to confuse everyone around us. I yelled "Asshole!" a couple times, but there was a little girl two rows in front of us that just stared me down as if I had thrown her puppy in the dryer. There really wasn't much to get excited about in this game. Lilly settled down and pitched decent enough, but we couldn't string any hits together. One positive is that the game was short, two hours sixteen minutes, so we left the stadium and hit up The Blarney Stone for a nightcap. Oh yeah, I also met Brian Giles outside the stadium, as evidenced by the accompanying photo.

Anyway, the third game was not as spectacular as the other two, but it held it's own as the yearly rite of passage for dislocated Cubs fans.

Daft Funk: What a terrible experience. Yes, it was raining, which made the traffic terrible. I also had to drive near Qualcomm Stadium to get to Petco, which was housing some kind of soccer game that night, making traffic even worse. By the time I got into the stadium and joined Brant, the Cubs were looking at a 1-0 deficit. We were surrounded by nothing but old people and kids, so cursing up a storm was pretty much out. Both Maddux and Lilly were on their games, so the game went by so quickly that when Trevor Hoffman struck out the side to end the game, we didn't feel like it was actually over because we had only been there for about 13 minutes.

We did have a few douchebag Padre fans around us though. Sitting to my left was a dude that would rate a 9 on the Douchebag Scale and his girlfriend that was wearing her thong pulled up so high above her pants, she could have worn the straps over her shoulders. Don't forget about the tramp stamp tattoo. Anyway, the first thing the guy says to his girlfriend when they sit down is "Do you want me to buy you a Padres blanket from the store so you can stay warm?" Yeah, he was that guy. Also, it was about 67 degrees at game time.

On the way out, Brant posed with Brian Giles and helped him with a little "manscaping". We hit up this bar that was OK, but the song selection for when we were there was something like this:

K.T. Tunstall

Seriously...they played Nickelback twice within 4 songs. It could have been more...I don't remember because I blacked out at that point on account of the terrible choices in music.

The highlight of the evening was the Petco Park garlic fries. It took the combined efforts of both Brant and myself to defeat them, but they were a tasty treat. They were so good in fact, that they continued to "deliver" into the next day at work. My co-workers were not pleased.

All in all, it was about a 5 out of 10 on the fun scale. If we would have been able to swear more and neither of us had to drive anywhere, it could have had the potential to be a "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave" evening. Oh well...there's always next year for San Diego.

Wednesday: The L.A. Experience