On 5/8/21, I attended my second Cubs game of 2021. It was a cool spring day. No rain, slight wind, but never really got above 40 degrees. The Cubs would win over the Pirates 3-2 in a tight game. What made the game special was the company I had.
My wife and I had the pleasure of bringing Lucky McMahon and his mom Paula along with us. Yes, the same Lucky from "Lucky week" last year. It was great seeing the game through the eyes of a kid. A lot of cool things happened to us over the course of the day as well. Here's the best way to describe it:
We met outside the park, and took a few pictures. Upon heading in, we were prompted greeted by fan services who noticed Lucky's walker. They promptly got Lucky a sweet looking Kris Bryant bobblehead. After they heard about how much Lucky loves Javy Baez, one of them (Bob) took us on a walk up the third base side for a closer view of the field (even though our seats were upper deck). We then were taken up to our seats, and got settled in.
After the first inning, Lucky was craving some nachos, so I took him to go get a helmet's full. As we were walking back there, a foul ball went towards our seats. I told Lucky and he wanted to go back, but I encouraged him to get the nachos as there would be other chances. 2 pitches later, a foul ball gets launched right in front of where we were walking. My reflex was to let Lucky go so I could go after it, but fortunately my brain overrode that feeling. The ball flew about 5 feet in front of me and down a stairwell. I tried to get Lucky to run after it, but someone else was already all over it.
As the guy triumphantly returned with his prize in tow, he noticed Lucky, and without hesitation gave him the ball. I thanked him, and we talked about Lucky for a moment.
Then it was finally on to the nachos. When we got back to our seats, Lucky proudly showed off his prize. Day made.
The game continued on. It was back and forth, with 5 runs being scored by both teams in a solo back and forth manner. Guest services came out a couple of times to check on us and make sure we weren't too cold and that everything was good. Lucky enjoyed singing the 7th inning stretch. As well as the peanuts, Mountain Dew, and hot chocolate we had delivered to our seat. Delivery took under 5 minutes when ordering with the app. It was a very smooth process.
Over the course of the game, we had several signs we held up. For Baez at bats, we held up four cards that read J A V Y. At one point Javy looked up into the stands, and I know he saw it. I also had a sign that read "I Am At A Baseball Game." It was a statement of fact. In the top of the 9th, my office-inspired sign paid off because we got on the video board. When Lucky realized it, he went NUTS.
The Cubs won 3-2, and we got to fly the W. Lucky of course was thrilled to sing Go Cubs Go. Fan services met with us again, and took us down to the exit. Paula parked in the accessibility lot, and they have a golf cart shuttle that took them back to their car. We said goodbye for now, after a perfect day.
It was cool for someone like me to get to see some of the behind the scenes of Wrigley. When we first walked in, Lucky had his walker and was doing well. Fan services had a special wheelchair he was able to ride in to help make thing easier. Lots of service workers said hello to Lucky and made him feel welcome. They got him some baseball cards, and even a Kris Bryant bobblehead. When we were leaving, he had a full bag's worth of goodies: nacho helmet, ice cream helmet, hot chocolate thermos, the foul ball, cards and the bobblehead. He was so excited to show off his swag.
You can see a lot of the transition and renovation that Wrigley has undergone in the Ricketts' era. In the past, there was just one elevator behind home plate. I saw four of them on our tour, in addition to a couple of wheelchair lifts. Wrigley is a lot more friendly to those with special needs now.
The support staff was awesome. Bob kind of became our designated support person for the day, and he was fantastic. He squeezed us in to get closer to the field, and took us on a tour of different parts of the ballpark. He came to check on us throughout the game, and helped us get back down afterwards. He made Lucky feel like a VIP the entire day. Well done Bob!
Honestly, I'm now not sure if I want to attend another Cubs game. I'm not sure the next game will top this experience. I've been to a playoff win (2003), and have seen a couple of massive blowouts. But this game experience is easily a notch above all those other memories.
I owe some thank yous to:
-Tina: glad to see you at the game again and thank you for grabbing some pictures of us, ESPECIALLY that picture of us on the video board
-Bob, thanks again for all the love you showed Lucky.
-Random good Samaritan dude, for noticing and giving Lucky the foul ball.
-Tom Ricketts, for renovating Wrigley into being a lot more accessible of a place
-Cubs staff, for making Lucky feel so welcome all day long
-My Wife and her friends, for scooping up these Cubs tickets
-Lucky and Paula, Thanks for helping give me some special memories!
The next twist? Erik Sogard's wife Kaycee took notice. Lucky will return to Wrigley next week!