The real-life Cubs would have had today off after playing 16 straight days, finishing up with a road trip to Arizona and Los Angeles. So we’re taking a break from our simulated games, and today, here’s a game from Cubs history that you can game-thread and comment as if it were happening live.
I got the idea for this specific game from this post, where it’s mentioned. The writer, Lauren Theisen, is absolutely correct. Watching famous games over and over (like Game 7 of the 2016 World Series) gets old after a while:
When I cook in the summer, I like to turn the radio to the Yankees or the Mets as an accompaniment. When I come home to my apartment kind of buzzed, I love being able to flip on like an Oilers or Canucks home game in the third period. When I call my parents on Sunday evenings, it’s nice to have a prime-time game to for my eyes to gaze on in the background—one that maybe my dad is watching, too. And, of course, in plenty of social situations that are currently inconceivable, the presence of a random and meaningless game up on a barely-noticed TV is a regular feature.
This is what I’ve been missing: not the occasional thrill of a buzzer-beater, but the constant, comforting knowledge that sports are just always there. If you want, you can check them out and maybe see something awesome, but if you don’t feel up to it at the moment, it won’t be a life-changing mistake. The rhythm of game after game after game hums like a refrigerator—one with an endlessly replenished supply of snacks to grab whenever you’re hungry. And now that it’s completely gone for the first time in any of our lives, it only adds to the confusion and helplessness that has defined the past couple of months.
That’s what I am trying to do in this series — flash back to random Cubs games that were fun to watch, had something memorable happen, but aren’t the games played over and over on national channels. In the case of the game for today, it happened 24 years ago, long enough that Harry Caray is on the call. It’s certainly worth watching something from what truly is a different era in baseball.
Here’s how this is going to work. In each of these threads I will post a YouTube link to the game in question. In order for everyone to be able to comment in “real time” about the game, you will have to press “play” on the YouTube page at exactly the same time. I’m posting these 30 minutes before that time, which will be exactly 3:00:00 p.m. Central time.
You should be able to sync this with the clock on your phone or computer. If you wind up off by a few seconds just hit “pause” on the YT page while you catch up, or fast forward a few seconds. For this to work properly you’ll have to sit while the “commercial break in progress” screen passes by, so this can operate in more or less “real time.” You will have to let any ad that appears before the game starts roll by before you press “play.” Also, the “stay tuned, the game will begin shortly” screen lasts about 25 seconds before video actually begins. Everyone should start from 0:00 to make sure you’re all synced.
Hope that makes sense. In this case there is a pre-game ceremony that’s worth watching and is the reason I chose this particular game — it’s the first game Ryne Sandberg played after returning to the Cubs following his two-year “retirement,” Opening Day 1996.
Now, once you know the date of the game you can obviously look up what happens, but it’s more fun if you don’t and just let the game unfold as if it were live. Your clue to what happens in this game is in the photo at the top of this post.
We’ll do this for every off day in 2020 on the Cubs’ original schedule. Those dates are (after today):
You’ll note that I left the All-Star break dates (July 13-16) off of that list. I’ll figure out what to do with those later. Also, if actual baseball resumes at any point this year, obviously I’ll switch back to covering that instead of simulations, etc.
I’m going to try to pick games that last three hours or less, just because that would seem to fill people’s afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT pretty well and work in other time zones as well. This one runs a bit more than three hours, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Here is the YouTube link for today’s game. It’s also embedded below. Enjoy, and discuss amongst yourselves.