No matter what time I go to bed, it's nearly impossible for me to sleep past 10 a.m. Though I stumbled out of a four o'clock Bar on the South Side after closing, my annoying habit of sleeping with my iPhone had me beeped, buzzed and dinged into a waking state mere hours after closing my eyes a few minutes before sunrise. Usually, I wake to between five and 10 emails from companies I've purchased items from in the past, but have an unsubscribe link that forces me to change email preferences on their site, instead of the quick unsubscribe. As I am too lazy to take that next step of wading into their site to accomplish such a daunting fete, I instead delete their daily houndings. It is a pre-coffee morning ritual of modern mundanity that even George Orwell couldn't have predicted in his futuristic world of 1984.
Today, at 9:34, through waning beer goggles, I was reminded by my beloved Chicago Cubs that Spring Training tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. MST. After a little simple math, made more complicated by the after effects of last nights festivities, I concluded that I had an hour and 26 minutes to locate my credit card, which I hoped was not still running a tab at one of the many taverns I patronized last night. But luckily, I had the presence of mind to come home with everything I went out with, except of course the $100 that was in my wallet before I left for the evening. And at exactly 11:23 a.m. CST, I purchased one $12 EIGHTEEN|76 General Admission Rooftop ticket to watch the Dodgers and Cubs face off at the brand spanking new Cubs Park, on March 14, 2014. Plus the $3 in taxes and fees, of course.
Though, I should be nursing a pretty hefty hangover at this hour, buying this ticket and the hope it brings with it, has lifted any ill feelings I may have otherwise had. This ticket represents the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere, and long lazy days free of black ice, sidewalk ending slush puddles, and polar vortexes. This is not only a ticket to a baseball game, it's an invitation to a family reunion. On March 14, I'll be standing on a party deck in Mesa, Arizona, surrounded by my fellow Cubs fans, discussing Junior Lake's .567 spring batting average, and how he's peaking too early, and will probably hit .197 in April. We'll spill each other's beers scrambling for a towering Darwin Barney home run. And most importantly, we will begin an eight-month journey together, that will end for one team, with a World Series Championship.
I doubt anyone will pick the Cubs to win anything this year, but that won't stop us from showing up, and hoping for bounceback years from Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija and Barney. Hopefully the Cubs will be a team that's too young and inexperienced to know that it's not supposed to be good yet, and win anyway. Though it doesn't help our draft situation, I'm certain most of us would find relief in a .500 season, after the unfortunate debacles of the last two years. It doesn't even matter how the season goes at this point. I just wanna watch baseball.
So, I declare Winter officially over! I'm the Punxsutawney Phil of Chicago, and I didn't see my shadow. The three most beautiful words in the English language are "pitchers and catchers," but I have a baseball ticket on January 11 and that's good enough for me.
(Now, I gotta figure out the whole affording a plane ticket and hotel room in Arizona thing, but first I may need to lie down for an hour or so.)