Guest Blog: Go, Cubs! Go, Baseball!

(Editor's first note: My friend Robin Stevenson is a great baseball fan. What looks routine and boring and everyday in major league baseball is really high skill, she says. Because in overthrows, wild pitches, passed balls, missed cutoff men, double plays not turned and the rest of errorville chaos is always ready to show its mangled face. That it stays hidden is art. Robin guest blogged at the beginning of the season. She returns now at the All-Star break with this account of watching baseball from afar and watching baseball up close. And, yes, I almost forgot, Robin cheers for the Cubs.)

As we head into the All-Star break, we have already witnessed a season with its share of amazing plays and incredible moments.

Arrieta's no hitter
We are living in an era of ace pitching. In the first week, Clayton Kershaw faced Madison Bumgarner. Jake Arrieta pitched a no-hitter in April (still the only no-no this season). Pitchers are pitching, and they're raking (scoring homers), and they're playing everyday positions, too.  Bumgarner, the left handed ace for the San Francisco Giants, actually batted in an American League Park, instead of a designated hitter doing the honours. Not since 1976 has a team chosen to write a pitcher into the starting lineup when the DH was available. Recently,  the Cubs had two bullpen pitchers play left field when the game went to 15 innings. They switched between left field and the mound depending on the batter. Cubs manager Joe Maddon, or Cubs mad scientist Joe Maddon? Both.

The Cleveland Indians recently went on a 14-game win streak that doubled as a two-week run of invincibility.

For me, the first part of the season has been magical. I have watched my beloved Cubs set a frenetic pace to 50 wins. And get to the top of their division. And build a 7.5-game lead on the Cardinals and the Pirates. Kris Bryant (I call him Casey at the bat because he is super tall and cracks homers) scored 3 homeruns and 2 doubles in the same game. This has never been done before.

I can only imagine what will happen in the second half of the season as the teams make runs for the chance to play in October. Go, Cubs!

(Editor's second note: Go Robin and Kristi, too!)

At the old ball game!
Twenty years ago my bestie and I were watching some Triple A action at John Ducey Park in Edmonton. I mused that I would one day like to see a real major league game. We hatched a plan to drive to Denver to see the Colorado Rockies play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. It seemed a little crazy to traverse the province and three states, but I remember every little detail of that trip like it was yesterday.

It was a thrill to attend the games high up in the bleachers. Watching a baseball game reveal itself below was a great way to spend an evening. The pace was relaxed, but it had its exciting moments as balls left the park (the high altitude is a pitcher’s nightmare and a batter’s dream). The sun as the game played out  You cannot tell me that baseball is not romantic!

Great view
This year, that same friend and I had planned to go to  Chicago Cubs spring training, but that was before the dollar dropped like a Marcus Stroman sinker. (Editor's third note: that analogy is mine, not Robin's. She doesn't mention the Jays much. That will change this year :). It didn't seem like the right time to head south. That made me sad. I hadn't  been to a game in years and I was really looking forward to seeing some Cactus League action. My friend, who now lives in Vancouver, suggested we do another border run and this time visit the Seattle Mariners. This new plan made me smile. I was going to another game and visiting another park!  

A few weeks ago, we drove to Washington state to watch the Mariners play the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs don't play in Seattle this season, so, I thought the next best thing was to see their division rivals. A little scouting, you know? It was an exciting game. Stolen bases, wild pitches, ground rule doubles, lots of home runs and scoring—and a manager got the boot to boot!

In short, a perfect sunny afternoon at a beautiful ball park.

Which leaves me with only one thought.

Go, Cubs!

(Editor's final note: Robin will return to this space at the end of the season when it becomes clear if the Cubs will devise a way not to leave their loyal fans, like her,  heartbroken this year!) 



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