I received tickets to a Cubs game for my birthday almost a month ago. On Sunday, we will be using those tickets to see the Cubs play the Brewers. On the day I received the tickets as a gift, I was of course glad to have them, yet that enthusiasm was tempered because 1. The Cubs were 9 games under .500; 2. They were in fourth place in the dreadful NL Central; 3. They had just lost 6 straight games; 4. The game was against the Brewers.
As I look at this match-up today, my opinion of the game has changed dramatically. The Cubs have just won 6 straight games. Although they still sit one game under .500, they are finally playing decent baseball, are in second place in the still dreadful NL Central, and they're playing the red-hot first-place Milwaukee Brewers.
I have long maintained that a bad day at Wrigley Field is better than a good day anywhere else, and a good day at Wrigley Field is a day without peer. So, what separates the good days from the bad at Wrigley? As I see it, there are 8 factors, which can be rated on a scale of 1-10.
1. Are the Cubs playing for anything or in a race of some kind?
Normally, with a 1 game under .500 record in July, I would give this game a score of 1. They wouldn't be IN a race, but they're not so far out that you can just enjoy the experience without caring about the actual game itself. However, given the winning streak, the fact that it is against the first-place team, their proximity to the wild-card, and overall team talent, I have to adjust that score to a 6.
2. How is the weather for the game?
According to accuweather.com, the game-time temperature in Chicago on Sunday will be 79 degrees and partly sunny. That is called perfect baseball weather and receives a score of 10.
3. Who are they playing?
Even though they are in first-place, I don't think I could name 3 players on the Brewers team. (After checking the roster, I was correct. I could only come up with Ben Sheets and Prince Fielder). I mean, the Brewers have traditionally been the Royals of the National League, an absolute joke. And those are strong words coming from a Cubs fan. Nonetheless, they are technically a rival, are in first-place, and by all accounts are a very good team. So, I can bump that rating to a 7.
4. Who am I attending with?
I will be attending the game with my lovely bride on the day after our 7 year anniversary. This will be her 2nd Cubs game and 3rd trip to Wrigley overall. Since she is the only person with whom I have actually been on the field and in the dugout, plus the whole life partner bit, I suppose she is a good choice. I give a strong 9, maybe 9 1/2 if she's nice.
5. Quality of hot dogs and peanuts.
Last year I was mildly disappointed by the hot dog quality, but the peanuts never let me down. So, assuming the hot dog thing was a fluke, I'm going to give this a preemptive 9.
6. Number and quality of exciting plays during the game.
No way to judge this yet, so I am going to give it an average score of 5 until the game is over.
7. Who is singing "Take me out to the ballgame?"
I was hoping that I could find this information on the internet, but I have been unsuccessful so far. I am therefore a bit skeptical. For lack of information, I'm going to give this a 3, but it can change after the actual performance.
8. Did the Cubs win?
I'm going to be optimistic here and say yes- 10 points.
So far that brings our total to 59 out of a possible 80 points, which is very good by baseball standards. I'm thinking this could be one of those "good" Wrigley days, and I am getting very excited...