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A perfect tribute to Lin Brehmer on what would have been his 69th birthday

Lin’s Binge was a home run all on its own Saturday at Wrigley Field

Sara Sanchez

The weather was perfection. The vibes were good with the Cubs unexpectedly in a Wild Card and Division race in mid-August. It was a quintessentially Chicago weekend with the Air and Water Show punctuating the normal cadence of a Cubs game with the roar of fighter jets. The Cubs’ 6-4 win over the Royals was the perfect tribute to Chicago radio icon Lin Brehmer on what would have been his 69th birthday.

Lin would have loved every second of Saturday at the Friendly Confines.

As Crane Kenney noted during an interview with Marquee Sports Network during the top of the third inning, “Lin’s Binge” brought together his loves: music, baseball and food. Kenney also captured Lin’s presence in the lives of Chicagoans — a presence not unlike that of baseball. He noted that Lin always called himself “your best friend in the whole world,” and “he truly was that to millions who heard him first thing in the morning over coffee or commutes or carpools or wherever you’re going... there was Lin in the background... kind of like the Cubs you know we play all summer. He was omnipresent with you in the car or from your kitchen radio. And a tough loss for everybody.”

The image on the big board before the game
Sara Sanchez

We found in out interviews on Marquee Sports Network and with Pat and Ron during the game that Lin’s favorite Cub was Cleo James. He had 429 career plate appearances and put up -1.2 bWAR during a time when most Cubs fans were likely to pick Ernie Banks or Billy Williams, Lin opted for James. It has very Summer of Mike Tauchman vibes.

Before the game there was a two-hour party with food provided by some of Lin’s favorite chefs in Chicago, including Paul Kahan, Beverly Kim, Tony Mantuano, Matthias Merges, Tony Priolo and more. Fans were able to purchase “Brehmer Bucks” they could use to buy every wonderful morsel. And fans indulged. By about 12:45 when I headed into the park they were beginning to run out of the most popular items.

There was excellent food
Sara Sanchez

Gallagher Way was as packed as I’ve ever seen it. I’m pretty sure there were more fans there to celebrate Lin than turn out for during peak Kristkindlemarket season. Yes, even with the USMNT playing in the World Cup on the big screen. Julie Akemann, a frequent attendee of games at Wrigley Field agreed that it was a huge party on a beautiful day and commented that “Lin would have loved this day.”

Fans enjoying Lin’s Binge and perfect weather
Sara Sanchez

I agree. It was a great day to be alive at Wrigley Field and the baseball was pretty good too, with the Cubs putting up six runs in the first four innings and staving off a pesky Royals team late. Adbert Alzolay closed out the game and fans sang “Go Cubs Go” with a gusto that I’m sure Lin would have appreciated.

At moments, Wrigley Field and truly the whole neighborhood — with special show at Metro later Saturday night — felt a bit like a wake. And It was the joyous wake for a man who was your best friend in the whole world. You could feel Lin’s presence everywhere in Wrigleyville on Saturday. I’m not ashamed to admit I wiped away more than a few tears during the seventh inning stretch, which Lin sang, flawlessly on the video board. I hope they’ll have him do the stretch every August 19. It would be a perfect tribute to a legendary Cubs fan who is deeply missed by the city of Chicago.