The Cubtober Diary: Special guests for a special day for Cubs and Indians
CHICAGO – He’s now done the drive just under 200 times since becoming the manager of the Cubs at the start of the 2015 season.
From downtown to Wrigley Field. From the southeast heading northwest. It’s a routine for Joe Maddon, but one that he’s managed to appreciate since moving to Chicago.
“And then I drive down Clark every day from Downtown, and as you get closer, you see all the venues that support all this, and also the people milling around,” said Maddon. “Anyplace I’ve been I haven’t seen that with any ballpark to that level.”
You can bet that what he’ll see driving up Clark Street today will not be like any other he’s seen before. Special times make that happen.
Maddon’s club making its first World Series in 71 years has brought the die-hard, casual and bandwagon fan to Wrigleyville for baseball’s biggest party. The atmosphere and sheer volume of people around the ballpark figures to be at record level since an event like this hasn’t happened since 1945.
As expected, a number of special guests figure to find their way into the Friendly Confines on Friday evening. Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams will throw out the first pitch, actor/comedian Bill Murray will sing the 7th inning stretch and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder will continue in his strong support of the team in the stands.
“It’s going to be an absolute blast,” said Maddon of the atmosphere. “Beanie’s (Albina) coming in. My kids are coming. Everybody’s coming in. It’s going to be great. So I know that people have been waiting for this for a long time are going to savor it, and hopefully on our part we can do something to really make it even better.”
Guests who are rooting for the Cubs will not be in short supply. It will be the opposite for the Indians whose first road World Series game in 19 years figures to be one of their most rowdy.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of people cheering for us,” admitted Indians manager Terry Francona. “But then that’s where it comes in the feeling in the clubhouse because it is going to be us against the world tomorrow, but us is pretty good. We have a good feeling.
“Everybody in there protects everybody else and takes care of everybody else.”
At least one guy will be there for Josh Tomlin, the Cleveland starting pitcher on Tuesday evening.
His father, Jerry, will be in the stands at Wrigley Field tonight to cheer on his son tonight. This would have seemed improbably after the 57-year old was paralyzed from the waste down after suffering a arteriovenous malformation while at work in Texas.
Jerry was released from the rehabilitation center just in time to see Josh make his first career start in the World Series.
“He hasn’t been to a game in quite a while, and it wasn’t looking like he was going to get to come to a game at all. So to have him here and just to be able to see him is the thing I’m most looking forward to,” said Tomlin. “But the fact that we get to experience the World Series together is pretty neat.”
A lot of Cubs fans, players and celebrities are saying the same on a special day at Wrigley Field.