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Pandemic Baseball Chronicles: Cubs Social Media Night

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The Annual #CubsSocial event moved to Zoom, but it was still a blast

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Chicago Cubs
The Cubs celebrated a walkoff victory on Wednesday night
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

One of my favorite nights of the year at Wrigley Field is Social Media Night. Usually the event involves a pre-game party near the ballpark hosted by the Cubs followed by a crew of old (and new friends) heading over to the greatest ballpark in America to watch a late September game together. Pro-tip: If you get a bleacher ticket you will absolutely have a few (dozen) friends to sit with by game time.

I honestly thought Social Media Night was going to go the way of all things in 2020 - cancelled due to the coronavirus. I mean, at this point, that seems to be the default setting for anything that involves more than a handful of people. So I was pretty excited to see the Cubs announce there would be a 2020 Social Media Night during Wednsday’s game:

I have a ton of great memories from previous Cubs social media nights. The social media team does a great job ordering swag, creating trivia games for the fans and generating excitement around giveaways. But I was curious — 90 percent of the things we do on social media night actually happen in person — what would this all look like as we watched together from home?

It started with a virtual first pitch on Tik Tok and really only got better from there:

The Cubs hosted a conversation with Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins for fans that you can watch in its entirety here:

They also hosted a Zoom Watch Party for a few dozen fans that pretty much made my week:

I’d honestly forgotten how much fun it is to enjoy a baseball game with friends and acquaintances laughing at old stories, inside jokes and our own cleverness (or lack thereof).

It wasn’t the bleachers and there was no ridiculous after party at Nisei Lounge until the wee hours of the morning. There were no T-shirts, stickers or pins this year. There were no bobblehead giveaways, and with Cubs Convention already cancelled I couldn’t hope to win free passes to that again.

While all of those things are wonderful and fun, my biggest takeaway from #CubsSocial in 2020 was that they also don’t really matter. The heart of this event is the people who love this team. The friendship, laughter and a few well-timed groans due to the game were as heart-felt and wonderful as ever. The excitement we all shared as Javier Báez walked it off was genuine — as were the smattering of complaints since some people were on a longer video delay than others.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll look forward to the return of in-person baseball, social media nights, and giveaways in future Cubs seasons but pandemic baseball brought us a unique #CubsSocial experience in 2020, and I will always be grateful for it.