Night Games According to #6109

I no longer follow baseball. Not since moving from the home of the mostly impressive St. Louis Cardinals to our Nation�s capital � a fine city in many regards but one that, nonetheless, remains embroiled in the myriad of issues involved in the acquisition of the Nation�s Pastime. One can only guess that the Senate, Congress and a lobbyist or thirty are to blame. But that would simply be a guess by one who no longer follows baseball.

I now live in Chicago; home of the Cubs and a team whose name matches that of a former (and displaced) presidential cat. No one from St. Louis seems to care about the Cat team. I don�t really know why. They just don�t. Might have something to do with the fact that all of their emotions are spent hating, and I mean really �hating� the Cubs. And anyone who likes the Cubs. Or can simply spell �Cubs�. (The STL hate bar is fairly low.) No doubt sub-consciously a major contributor to my moving to a non-baseball city � for we all know DC is not a state in our baseball playing Union. Actually, they�re still not a state in any Union. A fact that says much, not the least of which is their disinterest in something they�ve no chance to best or reason to protest.

Baseball is difficult to ignore in Chicago. Particularly if you are anywhere � accidentally or otherwise � within a meteorite�s dent of Wrigley Field the day of a game. To illustrate my sincere disinterest in Cubs baseball � I get all my Cubby news from the front page, not the Sports section, which lands in the same pile of unread paper as the automotive ads. For instance, I am aware that the first game was rained out. My reaction was, �It�s been raining here for three weeks straight. Do these guys think they are GOD?� Of course they do.

I recently and unknowingly ventured into Cubs� territory. I met a friend for a drink before he went to the game � so, yes, I was aware of a ball in play � I simply didn�t realize I was a peanut�s throw from the legendary ivy-covered walls and a history to wit I�ve successfully avoided for just a few years less than those which the home team has dodged a Series win (�45). Then I met Cabbie #6109. And he changed everything.

Mine was a short taxi ride home. I don�t base that calculation on blocks, but the fare. For $6, at about $9 per mile, we didn�t have the distance or time to bond, but we strangely did. 6109 wasn�t happy about much � that I could tell, but he was unhappy about a lot � as he did tell. It had been a slow day for 6109. I encouraged him to believe his coffers would benefit from the after-game traffic. It was with that suggestion that 6109�s disposition went from bad to worse. He told me things I�d never known, or sought to know. That games used to be at 3:00pm and were later changed to 7:00pm, which was further moved to 7:30-ish. Now, I see so harm in this schedule. To the contrary; I�m thinking this makes a lot of sense. More people can attend the games because they don�t have to leave the office early and can better manipulate the horrific Chicago traffic afterwards.

6109 agrees, but then offers the cultural issues of Bar Man versus Wrigleyville Dweller. Admittedly, not a confrontation to which I�ve given a great deal of thought. 6109 explains things in straightforward terms; Fan attends 3:00pm game, Fan leaves game at 6:30pm and wishes to avoid traffic and, therefore, seeks the safe haven of the neighborhood pub. (Me thinks �Fan� is simply looking for a real beer and a bathroom in the same zip code.) Pub owners� efforts to tally the profits after said game look like a Wohlers fastball. (I pretend to know just who the hell this Wohlers feller is.)

6109 proceeds to explain to me that the current night�s schedule has the potential for near ruin of many local businesses, not the least of which is, of course, his own. I remain puzzled and, therefore, engaged. It seems that, in an attempt to foist the County�s approval of a time change to the �latter� part of the day, the Bars Against Night Games (BANG) [a fictitious organization � but it sounds like something on our horizon.] has convinced the area residents that late-night games are bad. Like in B-A-D kinda bad. Derelicts relieving themselves on your prized peonies; evidence of alcohol strewn about on your well-manicured lawn; tire tracks on your porch. I resist the temptation to share with 6109 that it seems to me the most threatening of Cubby fans have been spotted on the inside of Wrigley.

According to 6109, BANG will stop at nothing to move the game schedule and beer drinking fans back in time. Just what this means is beyond 6109�s ability to define, so I�m now looking forward to some good �ole fashioned Chicago politics. Which, in my estimation, will look a lot like a crazed fan attacking an umpire beneath a pile of overpaid, egomaniacal players.

Now that�s something that just might lure me inside Wrigley Field.

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