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Those of you who know my husband know I married a diehard Cubs fan.
Baseball has always been my favorite sport to watch, but I never had a favorite team, just favorite players. Jim Abbott, Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Kenny Lofton (I told people he was my uncle, though our last names obviously weren’t spelled the same). I collected baseball cards and went to plenty of Drillers games growing up and as an adult. I saw them play the Rangers once at the old Drillers stadium, but had never seen an MLB game until I started dating Greg and we took two of our nephews to see the Twins at Target Field and Greg damn near threw himself over the center field wall trying to catch a homer. Since then we’ve been to San Diego’s Petco Park, Anaheim’s Angel Stadium, St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, Boston’s Fenway Park, and Chicago’s Wrigley Field together. Before July I had never seen the Cubs in person, and before last season the only Cub I could’ve named was Anthony Rizzo (and only because Greg would murmur his name in his sleep from time to time). I’m not sure what I pictured Rizzo to actually look like but when I finally saw him on TV I was a little disappointed. Not in his appearance or anything- he’s cute as a bug and a super stud- but because he was almost folk legend in my mind. It was really weird for me, putting his face to his name.
If you’re married to a diehard fan, you know it’s not easy being a baseball wife. 162 games a season (plus a few more this year, a’thank you) means there are plenty of days and nights you’re being ignored for a bunch of dudes. Greg got an mlb.tv subscription this year and I was just sure our marriage would take a hit over it. He put the app on my phone and his Kindle and if the Cubs were playing he was never without one of those devices- literally, he would carry his Kindle from room to room with him- kitchen, to living, to bathroom- so he wouldn’t miss a play. Last summer on our mega road trip if we couldn’t get the game on the radio I would watch the MLB app and read him every play while he drove, and when we were to internet again he would watch a condensed version of the entire game. There have been plenty of nights I’ve had to beg for snuggles because Greg is too busy watching home run highlights over and over and over. It’s nothing for him to watch the same video fifteen times in a row, just so he can absorb every aspect of a homer- the sound of the hit, the faces of the crowd behind home plate, the scramble for the ball. I swear to God I thought we would divorce over Schwarber’s crack-pause-toss-run in Cincinnati:
(I’ve seen the video at least thirty times myself so I’m sure Greg’s up to about 400.)
At first I was really annoyed with Greg’s mlb.tv habits- being ignored, and especially with calling plays while he drove. I mean, I obviously had better things to do, like write this blog and stare out the window. But then I started Googling the boys during the game- I saw their pictures, and their wives’ pictures, and I read their stats and where they were from. I started to care about who was up to bat and who was at second and who pitched left and RBIs and BAs and HRs and before long I could name all the starters and their positions and their height (Bryant is 6’5″- YEOW). But it wasn’t until I walked into Wrigley on a sunny Chicago day last summer and saw the boys I’d been reading about, and listening to, and watching, for the first time that I truly fell in love with them.
Seeing the Cubs play at Wrigley was so incredibly special, and hands down the most fun I’d ever had at a ball park. Not just because they beat the Cardinals that day, but because these boys are good. They’re young and they’re fun and they’re insanely talented. When I watch them I imagine I’m watching our own future babies, or at least watching them with our own future babies. I never dreamed I’d care so much about a sport, or become such a romantic about one. Last season, and especially post season, was some of the most fun I’ve ever had with my husband. We laughed, we cheered, we sang, and we cried. But just from happiness (Arrieta’s no-hitter, the Wild Card, and especially game four of the NLDS). We didn’t allow ourselves to cry after their loss to the Mets in the NLCS. How could we? It was disappointing to be sure, but 2015 was an amazing season and it was so fun and exciting watching them get to that stage. We were just happy we got to see it, and especially that we got to go to Wrigley for game three of that series. There’s always next year!
The Cubs Convention was an amazing time and a great weekend away with my best buddy. I’m so glad we have this hobby to share and love as a team. Here I was, worried Greg’s mlb.tv subscription was going to ruin our marriage, when in reality all it did was bring us closer together. We can’t wait for spring training to start, and especially for Opening Day.
I haven’t always been a Cubs fan, but thanks to Gregory I got here as quick as I could. Go Cubs Go.