(CHICAGO, IL) As Redbird Nation was suffering a case of the sour belches last night while Chicago took a 2-1 edge in the NLDS with its 8-6 topper over the Cardinals in Game 3, the mood was conversely, and expectantly, much different for Cub fans that were ravenous for the continuation of a post-season curtain call.
The atmosphere at Wrigley Field Monday rivaled what one would find at Busch Stadium perennially in the playoffs. There was the usual pre-game tailgating with accompanying music and high-fives were rampant between locals. The only difference this time, compared to this past weekend in St. Louis, was that the majority of the fan base on-site sported blue.
A baseball buzz was certainly in the air as the series, split at one apiece, looked for an aggressor. It seemed appropriate that Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder, a crooner of angst-ridden songs, was in attendance supporting the Cubs. After all, the NLDS was looking for a “Better Man” to snap the 1-1 series stalemate.
As Game 3 progressed, the tone of “Better Man” changed to “Better Men” within the Windy City. A half-dozen Cubbies cracked homers to the frenzy of Wrigley’s faithful. Long-tenured ticker holders, and some who were newbies to this particular post-season jaunt, had plenty of reasons to celebrate. Chicago’s two-run topper continued the momentum found in Game 2 and put the Cubs one win away from capturing the NLDS.
Early this morning, that excitement was sustained at the corner of Clark and Addison. At 5:30 am, a smattering of last-minute hopefuls gathered outside the Wrigley Field box office hoping to claim a coveted ducat for this afternoon’s Game 4. Meanwhile on the radio, FM jocks continued their collective chest-thumping during their morning-drive shows. This is a pretty big deal to them all collectively. They don’t get to experience euphoria like this all too often.
But could all this hoopla be for lost cause? Immediately after Monday’s loss, Cards’ skipper Mike Matheny pegged NLDS Game 1 winner John Lackey as the starter for Game 4. No better candidate for the assignment as the Texan had twice triumphed in must-win situations for former teams historically.
And Redbirds fans are certainly nostalgic when it comes to the team beating odds when facing adversity. Although Monday’s setback was hard to stomach, total panic has not settled in. New day, new game, right? A victory this afternoon quells the feeling of “do or die” and the series jettisons back to the Gateway City for Game 5 Thursday with renewed optimism.
Could the Chicago diehards that are braving the crisp October air this morning in order to purchase a ticket for a game that starts in mere hours be potentially throwing down ducats for the final Cub home playoff game of 2015? Can St. Louis create “winds of change” in the Windy City today?
Cardinal Nation certainly hopes so.
KTVI/KPLR news videographer Brian Ledford is in Chicago covering NLDS Games 3 & 4.