A Jacksonville couple was among the thousands of fans to witness a sight Chicago Cubs fans have been dreaming of for 71 years.
With the Chicago Cubs leading the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in the National League Championship Series, Gary and Jeanette Barlow made the trip to the Windy City to experience the atmosphere of Wrigleyville.
After a phone call to a friend and a quick drink at The Cubby Bear, the Barlow’s had their hands on two tickets seven rows behind the Chicago Cubs dugout.
Barlow says he never expected to walk into Wrigley Field that night and called the game “the greatest sports experience” of his life.
“It was amazing. Several times I had to tell my wife to turn around and look at the crowd. Normally you will see ten percent of the crowd or something rooting for the other team. I don’t think there was six Dodger fans in the whole place. It was all Chicago. With every swing of the bat it was just one big, loud yell,” says Barlow.
Barlow describes the crowds reaction when Yasiel Puig grounded into a double play to give the Cubs a 5-0 victory and a trip to the World Series.
“Chills, high fives, the white flags coming out, people hugging each other and people crying. I think I probably shed a few tears myself. The usher that was in our aisle went to stand on the dugout to secure things and she had tears rolling down her face. It was one big release of emotion for everyone in the park,” says Barlow.
Barlow was in person to see Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run in 1998, a no-hitter and even caught a Yadier Molina home run ball in Cincinnati, but none of those games come close to what he witnessed on Saturday.
As for the atmosphere outside Wrigley Field, Barlow saw fans celebrating, embracing one another and taking pictures in front of monuments around Wrigleyville.
“They had police on horseback and firetrucks preparing for anything that could happen. They really did a nice job of making sure the area was safe. The worst part of it is the bathroom lines are going to be long.”
Game One of the World Series is set for Tuesday night in Cleveland. The series shifts back to Chicago from Friday-Sunday for Games Three, Four and, if need be, Game Five.