Well, I figure that at least one game a year, I can give BCB readers a report from a Cubs game I got to see here in Denver. Tonight was my night, I sat in the middle deck, right at the end of the left field line with a great view right down the yellow line marking home run territory running in front of the bleachers into center field. This view was significant because I could clearly see that DLee's drive at the end of the third inning was a home run if the wind hadn't been blowing hard and in right at that moment. It was actually blowing quite fiercely, and from the moment he hit it I thought it was gone as long as the wind didn't get it. I suppose it could have changed the course of the game, but it didn't.
What could have changed the course of the game was changing one stat line. 17 MEN LEFT ON BASE! What's sad about that is that the Cubs spread the wealth around with that stat. Aram and Geo (who looked just awful batting in his first game back though he did throw out one base stealer, and I thought he threw out a second, though I didn't have the greatest angle from my seat) each left three (three k's for Geo and one for Aram), and Dome and Fontenot had two each (though Dome had a decent game at the plate going 1 for 2 with 2 BB's). Three GIDP didn't help, with the first one (off DLee's bat) taking the luster off a 1st and third situation with none out in the top of the first.
Of course, the big story was the scratch of Big Z from the starting lineup. I watched him go out to center field before the game to warm up and he played catch for about 10-15 throws, shook his head, pointed to his back, and I knew that was it for him. What interested me is that it was a good ten minutes before they got Sean Marshall out to the bullpen to warmup, and he had to trot out there. I don't know what took them so long once Z said it wasn't happening. I wonder if he had enough time to warm up. Still, they had chances to win this game, and just didn't come through with men on base.
Another interesting storyline was Milton Bradley batting second. Gameboard's stat line was almost identical to Dome's, i.e., 1 for 2 with 2 BB's (he did strike out with men on base and two out at one point, though I appreciated his passion, because he threw his bat to the ground and followed it with the proverbial bouncing helmet). In other words, the combination of Dome first and Gameboard second worked like a charm and the table was set for the Cubs' 3,4 and 5 hitters. And those guys went 0-11, so setting the table didn't matter tonight (though once again, DLee's drive should have been a homer - did I mention that could have been a game changer?)
What's a Cubs/Rockies game in Denver without issues getting into the ballpark? Last year, we missed the first inning and a half (and a Soto dinger) waiting in line at the "Will Call" window. Not wanting to repeat that mistake, my wife and I got to the ballpark early, figuring we'd eat a casual dinner there, and relax and enjoy batting practice. Instead, I got to find out that Coors Field doesn't open its gates (except for the outfield bleachers) until a little over 90 minutes prior to game time. After all, if you owned the Rockies you wouldn't want to let one of your typically largest crowds of the year in early where they may do stuff like buy concessions and make you money (I remember going to Wrigley as a kid and they opened the gates at 10AM for a game starting around one o'clock). The Rockies' ownership is not respected here for a variety of reasons, and stuff like this is one of them (for another example, see, '07 World Series ticket fiasco). In any event, you get the impression they're just not used to large crowds. A couple of years ago, I drove by the park on my way home from work during the '07 play-in game between the Rockies and the Padres, and there were a number of empty seats visible in the upper deck. I couldn't imagine that happening at Wrigley.
The one thing we did win all night was, at the singing of the seventh inning stretch, the Cubs' fans outshouted the Rockies fans quite distinctly at the line, "so let's root, root, root for the CUBBIES!" It did look like the Rockies fans were slightly more numerous than the Cubs fans, but not by much. And I have to give props to the Cubs fans who dominated the left field bleachers, and were chanting "Let's go Cubbies" in the ninth, only to be drowned out, not by Rockies fans, but by Coors Field's stupid audio system. I can stomach my ears ringing because either the Rockies or Cubs fans were loud. But who would know over all that artificial noise they pump in?
Well, my wife and I delayed a trip to the mountains this weekend to make the game tonight, so we'll be watching on TV tomorrow. Just don't say that I brought them bad luck tonight. Tonight was the very first time I've seen the Cubs lose in Coors Field (I usually see them once a year, and somehow, I've always picked a winning game).
By the way, I wore my BCB tee shirt tonight with pride. Didn't see anyone else with one on, though there was plenty of Cubs stuff around.
Get 'em tomorrow.