April 23rd, 2014
Wrigley Field turns 100 years old today. All I have to do is sit back, shut my eyes and think of my days at Wrigley. I’m right back there. Mostly good times. More good than bad. What a place. I can remember sitting in the stands on an April day with the wind howling in my face. You don’t know wind and cold until you experience Chicago wind at Wrigley in April. I can also remember sitting down the left field line right next to the pitcher warming up in the “bullpen.” I could almost reach out and touch him. The atmosphere at Wrigley-inside and out-is like no other. Get off the El, walk to the park and see thousands of happy people dressed in their Cubs gear. Ronnie Woo Woo.
Nuts on Clark. The Ivy. The bleachers (get there early and buy a bleacher seat for that day’s game.) The game was almost insignificant for so many fans. It was the experience. Being there. Listening to Harry Caray sing in the 7th. Watching the scoreboard being changed by hand. Waiting in a huge line at the El to get back home.
It was great. And it still is. Congratulations Chicago. Wrigley turns 100.
Congratulations to Albert Pujols-the first player ever to hit home runs #499 and 500 on the same day. I was sad because there wasn’t much hype leading up to his 500th. But I was in Anaheim last week. I saw him hit a homer to center field. I tweeted at the time that I thought his swing and lower body were back where I had seen them before. There are very few players that work as hard as Albert Pujols. He is an incredible hitter and I’m very happy he has joined the elite 500 homer club.
I have a solution for the hideous baseball brawls we have seen far too often. Take it completely out of the game by suspending players that leave the dugout or bullpen for any reason other that to come in to the game to pitch or to hit. In other words, do what they do in basketball. If you leave the bench, it has consequences. That fight between Pittsburgh and Milwaukee was ridiculous. But I’ve had the same solution before and it still hasn’t happened.
I think Ryan Howard and Chase Utley got tired of hearing how old and over the hill they are. They are both off to tremendous starts. Talent is still there.
I’m concerned about Danny Salazar. This is not the guy I saw pitch last year. Not at all.
I wonder what they could do if Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo were hitting back-to-back in the lineup? I miss Didi Gregorius. So do the Dbacks IMO.
Charlie Blackmon is off to a fantastic start in Colorado. So is Justin Morneau. If they can get some pitching, the Rockies may make a run.
The Blue Jays pitching has gotten much better recently. I’m happy for Mark Buehrle. What a great start for him. He’s just a very good pitcher. He may take his lumps this season at some point, but what he has done so far can not be dismissed.
Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez has a 0.00 ERA.
I’m thinking of old Comiskey Park today as well as Wrigley. Andy the Clown. “Go you Whiiiiiiiiite Sox.” The exploding scoreboard. Bill Veeck. ( My wife and I attended the double header where disk jockey Steve Dahl hosted “Disco Demolition.” A riot broke out when disco records were blown up.) Not pretty. Uniforms that included shorts. The shower in the bleachers. Like Wrigley, there were so many unique components to going to a game at Comiskey in the Bill Veeck era. I loved it.
Chicago is a fantastic city. Great memories. Great sports town. Great heroes. Great food. Great architecture. Great sports venues. We’re going back in May. Have only been back once in the past 14 years. I’ll be at the old ball yards. But it won’t be the same. I plan to take the El, of course. No other way to travel. And I’ll visit some of my old haunts if they’re still there.
As always, thanks for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff.
That’s it. I’m done.