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It Lived Up To The Hype

I, of course, with a season ticket, did not have to pay the scalper prices for today's game. But even those who did, must have felt they got their money's worth, as the most heavily hyped regular season game in many years turned out to be terrifically exciting, with a 5-2 Cub win, one they badly needed, being the result.

But first, a few stories.

As I walked up to the gate a little before 10 am, I had apparently just missed witnessing a taxi hitting a small boy running across Sheffield Avenue. The kid was moving, and though taken away in an ambulance, was apparently going to be OK. There were as many season ticket holders waiting as I've ever seen -- about 40 of us crammed into a very small space -- and a line going down the block on both sides.

My old high school buddy Mike had called me earlier in the week, said he'd be in town, and asked if I had any extra tickets, which I didn't. He said he'd take his chances with a scalper. About 12:00 he came in, said he'd been asked for $150 (not too bad considering I was hearing $250 earlier), had pulled out some $20's, and by the time he was done, had palmed one, and wound up paying only $125.

For once, that would have been worth it. Everything you'd hoped for in this game was there. Kerry Wood threw the best game I've seen him throw since the one-hitter he pitched two years ago. Meanwhile, Roger Clemens was firing 99-MPH fastballs and the Cubs were hitting some of them; he struck out only four (to Wood's 11), and still needs five more for 4000. In addition to Wood's great game, credit to Mike Remlinger for the biggest out of the day, a knee-bending breaking ball strikeout of Jason Giambi in the 8th, to a huge ovation.

You've surely seen the scarycollision that Hee Seop Choi had with Wood while chasing down a popup, which he wound up catching. He suffered a concussion and will be OK, though I'm sure he'll be out for a few days. That set up the next serendipitous occurrence of the day, when his replacement, Eric Karros, sent reliever Juan Acevedo's first pitch into the LF bleachers for a 3-run game winning HR. Karros now has 6 HR and 11 RBI, a very weird combination. I had gone to the men's room during the lengthy delay in getting an ambulance for Choi (Mike & I agreed that was the first time we'd ever seen one on the field), and while coming back up the ramp I happened to look across the street -- they had set up a huge video screen in the parking lot across from Murphy's, so I saw the replay of the collision.

It was also probably the nicest weather day of the year, with a gentle east wind and 70-degree temperatures, and the atmosphere was definitely playoff-style, with again a lot of Yankee fans. Honestly, they're almost nicer to deal with than Cardinal fans, because they're not there just to drink, but to support their team, and having been at Yankee Stadium a number of times, I can tell you they are knowledgeable, and passionate about the game and their team, and I can respect that. Many of them said they couldn't stay for the night game tomorrow, so tomorrow's game, though again a sellout, should be much more Cub-centric.

Though we saw no milestones today, it was more than satisfying, because frankly, the Cubs needed the win, and now can win the series with Mark Prior throwing tomorrow against Andy Pettitte.