I had the good fortune of being able to attend game three of an early season showdown with the Cubs. The first two games proved that the Cubs will definitely be continuing the rivalry that is so sacred to baseball fans. It is a rivalry that seems to range from friendly to bitter, but more towards the friendly side (especially now that the Reds and Brewers have raised the ire of many Cards fans). The umping in the first two very tight matchups left something to be desired, but the third game was more correctly umpired.
What made today special right off the bat was that some Jackie Robinson scholars were honored by throwing mulitple first pitches of the game... and then, none other than Jason "George Costanza" "Art Vandelay" Alexander was announced, throwing the 4th first pitch of the game (is that possible?). (all photos by George M. Bowles)
Here we see Jason talking to the other first pitch throwers. Was a really cool day to be at Wrigley.
The game was slightly delayed by rain on a cloudy cool day in Chicago.
As you can see, the tarp was taken off. Not sure what happened, but they had to unroll it again and it alarmed me as it looked like they were covering the field back up. There was a forecast the previous day that said it was going to rain possibly all afternoon, so I was worried I might be there for a while. Guessing they just did it wrong and had to re-do it, but maybe that's just the usual procedure. Anyway, was very relieved the game got underway without much of a delay (I think it was 20 minutes or so).
Next, here is the starting pitcher who was bequeathed the W for today's game, one of the heroes of the day: Lance Lynn.
The other star of the day, David Freese, looks better and better at the plate.
So after the end of last season, Freese has become one of my favorite players. Was always thinking he'd pan out as a prospect, and after many trials and tribulations he did. Of course, it will be interesting to see how or if he can continue the torrid pace he has set lately. In less than a month, David Freese has accumulated 4 home runs and 18 RBIs, which is tied for fifth in MLB. As for a rate stat, Freese is .953 OPS (.339/.388/.565) so it appears that David has picked up where he left off.
And here is Freese's buddy, Matt, who is waiting for the summer holidays to start.
I think I'd do better too in the warmer months if I were a ballplayer.
Long-time Cardinal favorite Yadier Molina's batting stance:
It could just be me, but it looks like Yadier's batting stance has evolved a lot.
So, it was a great game to watch as a Cardinals fan, seeing the offense break out a bit, and scoring runs.
But Lance Lynn was just as important, going deep into the game and collecting baseball's first 4 wins in 2012. How does one do such a thing? With a 1.33 ERA, we can't expect this to continue... but it is very encouraging. Only 5 others have a better ERA, oddly enough including 2 of the StL rotation: Jake Westbrook (a tad better at 1.31 ERA) and Kyle Lohse (MLB's second best ERA pitcher so far at .99 ERA, ahead of Stephen Strasburg). Including these stats as a fun look at a weird anomaly... who would have thought 3 out of 5 of the rotation would be that freaking good in April, and not have Adam Wainwright or Chris Carpenter be one of those guys?
Now, time for random things I noticed at Wrigley. I can highly recommend first row terrace seats on the first base side. It was extremely easy to get from the Red Line El train to my seat. There's an entrance next to Captain Morgan's club or whatever it is, and the entrance to the section I sat in (237) was very close to the main entrance I used to access the ballpark. This made dealing with Wrigley much easier than going in through the Clark street entrance. Got in fast, got out fast.
Dan Descalso guards second base very well.
Funny stuff that happened: two annoying frat boy types ended up having to sit by one of the ushers, who chastised them like an old grandpa, as they were in general being annoying, loud, and cussing, perpetuating the stereotype of shitty Cubs fans. Not one sentence came out of their mouth that had any form of intelligence. After several times of grunting and cussing, with a toddler within earshot, the ushers got fed up and kicked them out. I applaud you, old Cubs usher guy.
I wish I could say the stupid behavior was limited to Cubs fans, but there were a few Cardinal fans there that were immature as well. One group walked around obviously trolling Cubs fans, pointing at his shirt which had some annoying slogan on it and basically coming off as almost picking fights.
One other funny thing was that someone had spilled a beer in the seats above us, and a woman sitting right where the dropoff is got showered in beer and was not too happy about it. The event was pretty funny though, she didn't get that soaked. Other than that, just heard some average baseball fan banter that was rather ironic since they were trying to sound smart about stats but using them totally inappropriately.
Anyway, I leave you with a picture of Mitchell Boggs warming up in the "bullpen", even though he did not get to pitch.
Later, Kyle McClellan warmed up in a fraction of the time, and finished out the game.