by Mike Booble

About The Author

If brains were gasoline Mike would have enough to power an ants motorcycle around the outside of a penny. Would be funny if it wasn't true. Sports, sports, sports. Often times he said if he didnt do SOMETHING in the industry in would be a complete waste of his childhood. Crisis averted. 
Chicago Cubs vs Seattle Mariners: The Recap

      When I saw the schedule over the winter, April 30 and May 1 were circled. I went into work the next day and immediately asked for those days off. Once they got approved I began to plan my trip to Seattle, Washington. It's a trip I've made on a fairly regular basis but this was going to be a special occasion. The Chicago Cubs, my Cubbies, the 2016 World Champions were going to be a newly renamed T-Mobile Pak (formerly Safeco Field) for the first time since 2013. There was no chance in hell I wasn't going to a game.
       I've only been to two Cubs games, one in San Francisco, one a spring training game against the Mets in Las Vegas, both losses. So far I've never been to Wrigley, a fact I'm on pace to rectify in the next year or so. Full disclosure, the Mariners would be my second favorite team in MLB and against anyone else I'd be pro Seattle, that is, until Portland gets a team. So it was a bit weird looking for a ticket to a stadium I've been to ten times knowing I was going to root for the away team. Section 236, row 5, seat 12 was acquired and I was off to Seattle.
       A couple years ago, after I had attended a game earlier in the season I discovered that there is a light rail that goes from Sea-Tac Airport right to the stadium and back for about $5 roundtrip. Ever since that's how I've commuted to the game. As I pulled into the station to park that's where I got my first glimpse of the invasion of Cubs fans into T-Mobile Park. A sea of white jerseys and blue t shirts crossing the street to catch the train, and me falling right in step with my brethren.
       The train ride into Seattle takes about thirty minutes, but when you factor in the traffic you skip and the parking you avoid it makes it seem like it save three hours. If you've never done it it's pretty spectacular once you get past the industrial part on the outskirts of Seattle. As you make the big turn final turn to begin the descent into Seattle you get a fantastic view of the skyline with the retractable roof of the ballpark right in the forefront.
       As the train pulls into the stop, about a quarter mile from the stadium you are immediately reminded how small you are. The stadium rises above you like something from the heavens, but once inside, the ballpark is cozy and intimate, a far cry from its outward appearance.
       Finally, I get through the gate, and I'm in a ballpark about to watch my favorite all time team play and I'm giddy. A stroll around the lower level concourse places me in a sea of Cubs fans, I'd say outnumbering Mariners fans 2-to-1. I climb the stairs, find my seat, order some popcorn (no peanuts or cracker jacks), a Pepsi and settle in for the game. And speaking of which….

1st Inning
       The game starts quickly, with Daniel Descalso hitting a homer on the second pitch of the game, in hindsight, setting the tone for a wild game. Two batters and three pitches later, Anthony Rizzo takes a pitch inside and before the next pitch the umps call time and walk over toward the Cubs dugout. Manager Joe Maddon is looking towards the stands so from where my seat was, it looked like someone might have thrown something onto the field. Eventually it's revealed it's a coaches challenge and the pitch actually hit Rizzo. But that's a weird first five or six pitches to begin a game. Cubs starter Cole Hamels has a quick 1-2-3 inning and we go to the second.

2nd Inning
       Nothing of note in the second, and Cubs continue to lead 1-0 after two.

3rd Inning
       The best thing about Joe Maddon managing this team is the unpredictability. Gigantic first baseman Anthony Rizzo stole 2nd rather easily after M's pitcher Felix Hernandez failed to check on him. The best part about that was a Mariners fan seated a couple rows behind me yelling,
       “That's literally stealing,” which I found very amusing as did the rest of our section. Nothing came of the steal and the Mariners remained hitless through three.

4th Inning
       The fourth inning is when the game took a turn for the memorable. David Bote singled to center on a ball that would've been an easy out had it not hit the 2nd base bag. Albert Almora singled him in later and it was 2-0 Cubs.
       Tim Beckham doubled to break up the no-no and Jay Bruce grounded out to second to drive in the first run for Seattle. After a couple more runners get on, one because of a Bote error that allowed the tying run to score, Javy Baez's throw is very wild at first and the go ahead run crosses the plate. Bottom of the 4th had two errors and three runs to allow Seattle to take the lead. Cubs fans are less than happy.

5th Inning
       In the fifth, Kris Bryant, the namesake of the jersey I was wearing, doubled, which brought up Rizzo. He proceeded to hit a 400 ft home run to left center to put the Cubs back up 4-3. And the Cubs fan in attendance were overjoyed, to say the least. The M's dis nothing in the bottom half but in between the top and the bottom of the 5th, T-Mobile Park apparently has a hair flip cam. Yes, you read that right and it's exactly what it sounds like.

6th Inning
       In the sixth, Kyle Schwarber struck out...again. His third time in the game. He's been really struggling the last three weeks and is a candidate to be sent down to Triple-A to rediscover his swing.
       When the Mariners come up former Oregon Duck Ryon Healy doubled, Omar Narvaez singled, Braden Bishop struck out, Dee Gordon singled, tying the game at 4. At this point the excitement and angst in the crowd from both sides is palpable. Madden brings in a new pitcher who promptly walks the bases loaded. Crowd noise at a fever pitch the M's ground into an inning ending double play, and a deep sigh of relief from.Cubs fans. After six, tied at 4.

7th Inning
      As we go to the seventh, the championship rounds in baseball, Hernandez is out and a new pitcher is in. After hitting a lead off homerun, Descalso strikes out for the third time, Bryant walks, but Rizzo flied out and Javy struck out to end the inning.
       If you're a Cubs fan, or at the very least a baseball fan, you know the importance of the 7th inning stretch and the history it has with the Cubs. Getting to experience it that, with thousands of other Cubs fan, is an experience I won't soon forget. So let's root root root for the CUBBIES!!!!
       That moment of euphoria was quickly silenced by a 418ft no doubt home run by
Edwin Encarnación, which gave the M's a 5-4 lead. To their credit, the outnumbered Mariner fans made a lot of noise, especially after the homer, and all looked lost. But then the 8th happened.

8th Inning
       Contreras doubles to left center to bring up the STRUGGLING Kyle Schwarber. Kyle hit a gargantuan, titanic, nuclear bomb 440 ft to left field to give the Cubs the lead back. A no doubt home run other no doubt home runs would be jealous of, the Cubs fans in attendance were downright delirious. Fittingly, in between half innings, they played Rock and Roll All Night by KISS, and yes, it's not a good song, but man is it fun to sing in a stadium full of people.
       Brad Brach, walked the lead off hitter which is not good. But then, they grounded into another double play, which is very good and the inning ends with no other damage.

9th Inning
      The Cubs fail to add any insurance runs and we go to the bottom of the ninth, Chicago clinging to a 1 run lead. Here. We. Go.
       A slow roller to the pitcher Steve Cishek goes for a hit, despite a nice effort.
       1 on. 0 outs. Next batter walks on four pitches.
       2 on. 0 outs.
       Next batter grounds to third, Bote throws to Baez, who throws to Rizzo, double play. Crowd rises, one more out to go, tying run on third.
Jay Bruce strikes out to end the game and….
       Attendance for the game was 27,545 and about 18K of those let out a glorious yell in celebration. And then Cubs fans around the park began serenading the team with the traditional Go Cubs Go, a song played after every home victory. It's the first time I've had the ability to sing the song and it's a feeling I will treasure. I suspect it will only be topped of they win when I'm actually at Wrigley.
       Walking out of the stadium to catch the train back to my carnival the festive environment continued on with car after cat playing Go Cubs Go. As one would pass and we'd all sing along, another would drive by and start the procession all over again. I love baseball. I've been to a bunch of Mariners games. That ballpark is absolutely stunning. There are no bad seats. I've gotten to see close games. Blowouts. Come from behind wins. Last year I got to see the Yankees, the Evil Empire, in person. But nothing, nothing compares to getting to see my team play. And to see them win and win in dramatic fashion? Sign me up for more of that.

Go Cubs Go
Go Cubs Go
Hey Chicago wadda ya say
The Cubs are gonna win today

And as always I'm Mike Booble and that's my opinion.