Josh from my softball team grouped us in with the American Cancer Society for a Cancer Awareness Night outing at Wrigley Field.  Stunningly perfect night for baseball.  The Brickhouse Tavern hosted the pre-party for ACS attendees.  That’s the giant bar on the same side of Clark as Wrigley, right next to the park.  Here’s a picture from up on the second story balcony:

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We walked out of Brickhouse and one of my sister’s co-workers casually read from the giant TV screen: “Rizzo is playing tonight.”

WHAT?  I was astonished.  Tony had to be carted off less than a week ago and was wheeling around in a boot last time we caught a glimpse of him.

“Is that breaking news?” she giggled.

When the heroic first baseman drove a ball out of the ballpark to the opposite field in the 3rd to tie the score at 1-1, Wrigley jumped.  Shades of Kirk Gibson.

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Then the Cardinals built a 4-1 lead and the innings ticked away.  Jack Flaherty is a good starter, but the strike zone he had to work with was far too friendly.  Look at this bullshit in a key situation against Nico Hoerner:

The Cubs offense couldn’t break through against Flaherty and we could only amuse ourselves with copious amounts of Bud Light and ballpark food.  Walking tacos, nachos, peanuts – and look at me going to town on a hot dog with mustard:

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Then the bottom of the 9th happened.  Fireballer Carlos Martinez was summoned from the St. Louis bullpen.  Castellanos drew a hard-earned walk.  Bryant singled.  Schwarber struck out.  2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist did his clutch thing – smashing a double past first base into the right field corner.  Castellanos scored.  4-2.  Then, out of fucking nowhere, Javier Baez- broken thumb and all – steps in as a pinch runner for Zo on 2nd base.  Javy, a sight for sore eyes and the dream pinch-runner in any situation.  Contreras reaches on swinging bunt that bounces perfectly toward 3rd and dies.  Bryant scores.  4-3.  Now Javy is on 3rd.  The Cardinals bring in 2016 Cleveland bullpen legend Andrew Miller to face Heyward.  J-Hey hit a grounder and Javy scored easily to tie it up!  Unbelievable!

Craig Kimbrel comes in, fresh off the IL, and strikes out our old friend Dexter Fowler.  But Matt Carpenter drills a home run to left center.  Fuck that guy.  Happ, Bote and Castellanos couldn’t reach base in the bottom of the 10th, although Nick gave the ball a ride as he flew out to deep center to end the game.  Cardinals win 5-4 in a wild one.  Terrific ballgame, from a baseball perspective.  Bad outcome, from a standings perspective.  Now the Cubs are 4 back of St. Louis and 1 back of Milwaukee in the Wild Card.  Cubs are in 3rd place, which sucks.  But they’ve got plenty of games left against the Cards and Brewers, which is ideal.  One of those games is today.

I’m including some video I took of fans leaving Wrigley.  It tells the story of disappointment but knowing there’s a game the next day.  Still in this thing.  Let’s punch back today.  Go Cubs!