Tomorrow I will be lucky enough to be in the bleachers for my fifth Cubs-Cardinals game. I have seen some great games in the series. I thought that I would look back and see which one stands out as the best so far.
- 9/2/2003 – This was game one of a day-night doubleheader between the two teams. We had already seen 4 1/2 innings of a previous Cubs/Cardinals game with the ticket before a rainout. That game will be later on the countdown. We traded that ticket in for this afternoon game in the bleachers at Wrigley. Both teams ended regulation tied at two thanks to a Jim Edmonds home run off of Carlos Zambrano, and an error by Albert Pujols. In the bottom of the 15th Sammy Sosa hit two run shot to end the game after 4 hours and 47 minutes. His two run blast was career number #531, and landed in the left field bleachers. So for our $30 investment we were able to see 19 1/2 innings of baseball. How can you possibly top that? The game ended 11 minutes before the gates were supposed to open for game two. Obviously they had to clear the park quickly, and let the fans back in. The key to the 4-2 win for the Cubs was an error in the fifth inning by Albert Pujols that allowed the Cubs to score their two runs.
- 8/28/2003 – I spent my 27th birthday in St. Louis to see the Cubs and Cardinals play. The game ended up being one of three featured in the book Three Nights in August. Before the game I got my first ever MLB ball during batting practice. Early in the game Sammy Sosa took Matt Morris deep for career home run #530 to give the Cubs an early lead. In the bottom of the ninth though it was career home run #3 for Kerry Robinson off of Mike Remlinger that gave the Cardinals the 3-2 win.
- 5/11/2003 – My first game in the rivalry really wasn’t a game after all. We had bleacher seats for a Mother’s Day game between the two teams. While we were waiting to get into the stadium my friend Rob snagged a ball that came out of the park. He also got one that landed in the basket once the game started. From the minute we walked into the bleachers though we knew that it was going to be a special day. I was almost knocked over, and by luck kept my hat as a 40 MPH wind blew into my face. With the wind blowing out that hard you knew that you would see some magic. Balls that would be routine outs suddenly turned into an adventure in the wind. Albert Pujols, Troy O’Leary, Cory Patterson, and Alex Gonzalez all homered during the game. Tino Martinez also joined in the fun by knocking out two home runs. The Cardinals also played three right fielders because two left the game injured. It really was not a great day to be playing baseball with the wind and the rain. The umpires finally called the game with the score 11-9 in favor of the Cardinals, and the Cubs stepping up to the plate. With three more outs the game would have been official, and game number one on this list would never have happened.
- 9/2/2003 – The final game was played after the 15 inning game. Once we realized that we were going to Wrigley for our makeup game and they were playing another one that night we immediately bought tickets. Kerry Wood was matched up against Matt Morris, and both pitchers had a stellar game. Jim Edmonds hit his second home run of the day to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Moises Alou appeared to clear the bases with at least a double in the 7th when the replacement umpire called his hit foul when it was clearly fair. The Cubs could have taken the lead 3-2, but instead lost 2-0. The highlight for the Cubs during this game was Antonio Alfonseca coming out from the Cubs bullpen after the inning was over and bumping into the umpire while arguing. He was given a seven game suspension which for those keeping track at home is one more than the fingers on his hand. Moises Alou also joined in on the fun and was ejected from the game as well.
For some reason as you can see I have seen all my games in this series in 2003. I had enough friends that wanted to go to make that happen. Tomorrow is a similar situation. We have a huge group 14+ going to the game, and I am sure we will have something happen to make it memorable.