I could hardly concentrate at work on Thursday.
I worked early in the day feverishly anyway, getting what I needed to get done out of the way so I could race over to catch the Iowa Cubs home opener against the Round Rock Express. Weather.com had like 200 visits from me that day, and for good reason. Outside my office building, the clouds were looming and frankly starting to piss me off... then came the snow, shattering any chances to bundle up to an opening day.
I sat in my office the rest of the day consoled by the big-Cubs win and a more relaxed Ron Santo, but still miffed at snowfall in April in Des Moines.
Yes, opening day was canceled because of snow, resulting this afternoon in a day-night double header. Thursday was my wife's birthday, and we'd planned to take our 19 month old twin boys to the home opener, but because she has to work Saturdays and I wasn't about to give up my tickets, I dragged along my best buddy Dave to go with the boys and me. (Someday I'll share a story with you about the time Dave and I got arrested trying to sell two extra tickets we had outside of the MTA on Clark before a Cubs/Cardinals game in August of 1998... yeah that game... the one where Sosa homered and McGuire hit two).
Yeah, it's triple A baseball and everything, but let's face it. This is Des Moines, and it's not like I can hop on the L and watch a Cubs W every day. The opportunity to see Geovany Soto go from a backup catcher in 2005 at best to the MVP of the Pacific Coast League last year is something special, and makes following this team worthwhile. So it was great to be back at Principal Park, sitting behind the Cubs' bullpen with my boys for the home "opener."
Sean Gallagher warming up before today's game...
Gallagher and Cotts Impressive
So now briefly to the game. Most of the game was spent by Dave and I chasing my boys around the nearly empty seats of the Family Section and apologizing to people trying to watch the game, dumping over one guy's beer and consoling one of my kids after he hit his forehead on the pavement. Regardless, the time spent watching the game was impressive.
Sean Gallagher was awesome, giving up two hits and one walk in 5 innings. I don't have any real interesting banter about splits and stats and such, so let's just let the box score do the talking. The one run that Sean gave up was a line drive, 20mph wind aided solo shot in the third inning to RR Express shortstop Edwin Maysonet. From where we were standing, it looked like it totally hit the top of the wall in the field of play bouncing back, and Cubs' manager Pat Listach made a stink of it for a few minutes until they finally let the homerun stand. We had a really good look at it, and from my view, the ball was still in play. Oh well...
(So if you're looking at the boxscore and see Gallagher giving up a HR in the 3rd inning, you can generally dismiss it as a really bad umpiring call and give the kid the benefit of the doubt.)
Other highlights: 2 innings of perfect work by Neal Cotts, Eric Patterson playing 2nd and smoking everything he saw today including a double hit off the wall, and Jake Fox destroying a 2nd inning fastball for a 2 run lead. One disturbing thing about the game... Jose Ascancio almost blew the lead in the ninth, and looked shaky at best, but overall a solid performace by Cubs pitchers. In the end, he earned the save after almost blowing it with runners at the corners and one out, getting one batter to pop out and the last one to ground out to short. Cubs won 4-3.
Other musings about the game
Matt Murton is hilarious. He was screwing around with the bullpen guys all game, throwing left handed in warmups, imitating the Felix Pie "hop throw." Also, hats off to one of the relievers in the bullpen who tossed me a foul ball (forgot who threw it). Les Walrund is a funny dude as well, always bantering with the fans and looking antsy, pacing around the bullpen. Oh, and the "hot dog gun" exploded a hot dog into the Cubs bullpen. The guys thought that was hilarious.
Oh, and I'm sunburned, but I'm wearing it with pride. After all... it's not snowing.
FYI... I plan on going to about 20-25 Iowa Cubs games this year, so look for these Fanposts to appear regularly.
Below: Me (left), Dave and on the shoulders are my boys Truman (left) and Elias.
Below: Dave and Elias
--Phil, aka "IowaCubs-"