The Ceremonial First Pitch
There I stood on the sidelines, 25 minutes to game time, waiting for my name to show up on the scoreboard marquee. A slight summer evening breeze cooled off the stadium from a sizzling summer day. The shadows of the setting sun making their way onto the bright green of the in field. The players in the club house getting ready for the game. And there I stood. My Cubs moment upon me. I felt like I was going to wet my pants…or my white jean shorts. I donned a “Playing The Field” Cubs t-shirt, to help promote “Singles Night” at the ballpark. And if you are wondering if I practiced, oh I did. Every day the week prior at 4pm outside of my entertainment agency back in Los Angeles. And again just one hour prior to the game, right outside of Wrigley Field with the Cubs ticketing office.
And then I got the signal. It was go time. I walked onto the field, approached the pitcher’s mound, and felt the roar of the crowd. I stood where so many players had stood before. And the catcher gave me the nod, and with out hesitating my left arm threw the first pitch into his mit. I raised my hands to the sky above my head in glory. The crowd cheered. I inhaled it all in. Intoxicating. Part of me wanted to do something crazy to land on sports center or the local evening news (let’s face it, I wanted to run around all of the bases and jump into the dark green ivy). But alas I was appropriate. Next time around maybe not so much.
After my first pitch I made my way to the bleachers, where I sipped on a cold sudsy one with my friends, and watched the Cubs beat Miami 5-1. The sky was a brilliant pink, and the bleachers were alive with Cubs fans being cooled off in the summer night by the ”misters” silently spraying us. My only complaint of the night? One homerun hit by the opposing team into the far right bleachers. The unruly fan didn’t throw that ball back onto the field as is time honored tradition. Boo on that.
As for the first pitch, it was a once in a lifetime experience. It happened entirely too fast, and I re-live it in my head over and over. For any die-hard fan, it’s truly a dream come true. I will forever and always love Wrigley Field, the Cubs, and the other Cubby fans just like myself. You are my family. When I was on that pitcher’s mound – I was HOME.