This was my first time watching a “Sunday Night Baseball” game live, and I was pumped to see the Cubs battle their cross-town rival. We hit a ton of traffic on the drive from Milwaukee and arrived at Wrigley without much time to spare before the first pitch.
Our seats were in the very back of the section directly to the right of the press box in the upper deck. The view actually was pretty good:
Before the game started, the Chicago Blackhawks were honored for their NHL Championship. They got to show off their Stanley Cup, and for a brief moment the Cubs and White Sox fans were united. Later, the Blackhawks would sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch.
A quick background story before I continue: I’ve always wanted to see a no-hitter, and I root for it from the very beginning of every single game I go to. Whenever the first inning goes by without a hit, I always turn to Aaron and say, “Too early to start talking about the no hitter?” It’s kind of a running joke between Aaron and I. Of course, inevitably the no-no gets broken up the very next inning.
So when Ted Lilly retired the side in the first, I issued the comment again. “Too early to start talking about the no-hitter?” Then when Gavin Floyd also didn’t allow a hit in the first, I went one step further. “Too early to start talking about the DOUBLE no-hitter?”
The second inning went by without a hit from either team. No hits again in the third. The fourth? Yep, still no hits. I kept expecting someone to get a hit, but it just wasn’t happening. By the end of the fourth, I began to wonder if I was witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime game.
At that point, there wasn’t really any type of no-hit frenzy running through the crowd. I was pretty pumped, but everyone else was just enjoying the pitcher’s duel. But after the fifth inning came and went with no hits, things started to change. Fans started to stand and cheer on big 2-strike pitches. Fans started high-fiving each other after every out. You could really start to feel the excitement.
Both pitchers got through the sixth inning and STILL neither had given up a hit. It was truly unbelievable. A DOUBLE no-hitter through six innings! By that time the stadium was in a playoff-type atmosphere.
When Lilly got through the seventh, the place was electric. Everyone could sense that sometime amazing was happening. In the bottom of the inning, though, one-half of the no-no would be no more. Alfonso Soriano ripped a double down the left field line, ending Floyd’s quest for history. He came in to score on a base hit, putting Ted Lilly 6 outs away from a no-hitter.
The crowd started to get on its feet on every batter, and erupted after every out was recorded. Lilly cruised through the inning, and Cubs fans throughout the park were absolutely going nuts. Three outs to go!
The crowd was on its feet for the start of the ninth, ready to witness history. We started chanting “Teddy, Teddy, Teddy” (even though I don’t think he’s *ever* been referred to as “Teddy”), and the chant quickly spread to a big portion of the upper deck. Then, in a matter of seconds, my dream came to an end.
Juan Pierre lined a single up the middle, officially ending Ted Lilly’s bid for a no-hitter. I was crushed, as were most of the Cubs fans in attendance. We were so close. So close.
Regardless, the fans were still really into it because it was a one run game and the game was on the line. The Sox managed to get runners on second and third, and Carlos Marmol came in to try to save it. He struggled a bit with his control but was able to get the final two outs to secure the Cubs’ victory.
The “Go Cubs Go” song started blasting over the loudspeaker, and thousands of Cubs’ fans joined in the singing. What a great game! Other than an Orioles/Yankees playoff game I saw back in the 90’s, this was easily the best game I’ve ever seen live. A great ending to our 2010 MLB Road Trip.
On our way back to the car, I ran into this guy:
We headed back to the hotel, and the next morning I caught a flight back to Virginia. Overall, this was probably the best MLB Road Trip I’ve been on. Next season, there’s talk of hitting up Detroit/Cleveland/Pittsburgh.