David Hein is an international basketball and sports writer/reporter based in Regensburg, Germany, and a featured columnist with FIBA basketball (among other outlets) and owns/operates heinnews. An Illinois native and die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, David will be chronicling his 7,000 mile journey from Germany to the World Series, one game at a time. Connect with David Hein on Twitter.
Geneva train station/Union Pacific-West line to Chicago, October 26 – With Weezer’s “Hurley” playing on the iPod, I’m finally heading downtown to Chicago. Waiting to board a Metra train from the suburbs to the city.A bit down about the Cubs loss in Game 1 of the World Series but not worried at all. The Cubs, as you probably know, lost 6-0 and had some troubles against Indians ace Corey Kluber, who had his A game going. The word I wrote down to describe the Indians’ first inning when they scored two runs on basically one well-hit ball was agonizing. After getting the first two hitters out, Cubs starter Jon Lester was being squeezed a bit with the strike zone. A single, a couple of walks and also a hit batsman and then a squibbler put Cleveland up 2-0.
The Cubs wasted a leadoff double in the second inning and then in the fourth inning – with Cleveland up 3-0 – came the near magical moment as Kyle Schwarber really clobbered one that nearly went out. He ended up with a double which was actually his first hit of the season after he got injured in the third game of the year back in April. It was amazing that he even was playing. Unfortunately the Cubs couldn’t drive him in. But it reminded me a lot of the thrilling Kirk Gibson home run in the 1988 World Series.
The Indians lead was still just 3-0 in the seventh and the Cubs threatened with the bases loaded and none out. This was the deciding moment. It’s hard to believe that Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t have Wilson Contreras put down the bunt – which would have almost certainly gotten Chicago on the board. Contreras ended up popping out to shallow center field and Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller struck out the next two hitters to get out of the inning unscathed.
That basically ended the game. Cleveland added three in the eighth on Roberto Perez’s second homer of the game to provide the final scoreline.
Again, the Worry Level is pretty low right now. It was the first game and it was in Cleveland and against the Indians ace. And the Cubs hitters saw a lot of pitches against Kluber which will help the next time they face him – maybe in Game 4.
But the most amazing fact was that the Cubs are playing in the World Series. It is actually happening…
Okay, time for a couple of fun observations from Game 1. The Imperial music from Star Wars was being played when the Cubs were being introduced before the game. I guess Chicago is the dark side.
The dark side is definitely where a lot of people think FOX announcer Joe Buck resides. Man, this guy is really disliked by a lot of people – including my family. Not that I am a huge fan of his.
It was also noteworthy just how many Cubs fans were at the game – noticeable by the boistrous cheers when Schwarber was introduced.
It’s not a surprise given the outrageous prices for Cubs tickets. A report by Sports Business Daily quoted the ticket swapping website SeatGeek.com that tickets for Game 1 and 2 in Cleveland were going for on average $1,156 and $1,122 respectively. Tickets for Games 3-5 in Chicago meanwhile were going for $3,372 to $4,451. Standing room tickets in Cleveland were $700 while fans willing to stand for more than three hours at a Cubs home World Series are having to dish out $2,000. SeatGeek data also showed that 21 percent of users looking for tickets for Games 1 and 2 were from Illinois with 37 percent coming from Ohio.
One thing is certain, this little adventure is going to cost a bit more than I had imagined.
For example, the morning show on WGN said that the Cubby Bear bar just across from Wrigley Field will be collecting a $100 cover charge just to get into the place – no drinks or food included in that. Ouch. I know where I will not be watching any of the games.
One thing I will definitely be expecting in tonight’s Game 2 is the Cubs scoring some runs after getting stymied by the Indians in the opener. The Game 1 shutout resulted in one Chicago radio station running with the not-so-funny joke: The Chicago police have filed a missing person report looking for the Cubs offense.
Last night was pretty fun hanging with the family. After working all morning and evening – covering German soccer and German basketball – it was wonderful to spend time with the kids. I was told that kids nowadays are more mean to others than they used to be. They also showed me some of their smartphone and computer games – including the game Cookie Clicker, where the main task is to – I’m not kidding – click on a cookie as fast as you can to get a bunch of points. We also listened to some of their music, which isn’t as bad as I had feared. It was during this quality time that I was shown something that truly surprised me. If you put your smartphone in an empty plastic cup it actually increases the volume like a speaker. I would have never guessed that. Thanks to my niece for showing me that. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.
Oh and one more bit of goodness from the quality family time portion … I had an Affy Tapple. I know many of you may have no idea what I am talking about. It’s a delicious fall treat – an apple covered with caramel and peanuts. I cannot remember the last time I had one. It’s been probably two decades. But mmhmm good.
So, the train is slowly but surely getting to the city. It’s raining pretty bad right now and it is just generally quite grey and dreary outside. No, I don’t think this is an omen for Game 2 – unless you’re talking about an Indians loss. This is the same weather front that caused MLB organizers to push up the start time of Game 2 one hour to 7:08pm ET first pitch.
I’ll now be looking for a place in the city to watch some German soccer – a guy does have to work – online and write about it. And then after a dinner with two good high school friends I plan on enjoying a Game 2 Cubs victory in the city and check out the celebrations a bit.
Thanks for following my adventures and talk next time.
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