Shut Out, But Not Completely

I’m not superstitious per se, but on the other hand, I’m not one to tempt fate, either.

So I had not written anything about the fact that we had gotten at least one lineup card at all 16 games we had been to this season.  Going back to last season, our streak was at 22 in a row, including three MLB games.  I’d say that is pretty darn good.

But all good things must come to an end, and the streak went out the window as I came up empty lineup card-wise at last night’s Cubs @ Nationals game.

It wasn’t for lack of trying.

Before the game started, I asked Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode if I could get his lineup card after the game, but he shook his head no and said he keeps it.  Strike one.

After the game, I asked home plate umpire Dan Iassogna for his lineup cards.  He ignored me.  Strike two.

It appeared to me that the Nats had left their lineup card on the wall in the bullpen.  It took a while as the stadium was still pretty full when the game ended, but I eventually made it out to the Nats bullpen.  There were three grounds crew guys in the bullpen and the card was in fact still on the wall.  I asked them for it but they said no and then ignored me.  It seems a shame that the card had obviously been left there and that they wouldn’t give it to me, but oh well.  Strike three!

But –and this is a big BUT, not to mention a good one — I didn’t leave Nationals Park empty handed.  I knew that the Cubs were using a commemorative baseball this season to celebrate 100 years of Cubs baseball at Wrigley Field.  Those baseballs only get used during games at Wrigley, but sometimes, some commemorative balls make it onto the road in the BP ball bag, fielder ball bag and/or pitcher ball bag.

Kate and I had gone to a Cubs @ Mets game two years ago when the Cubs were using Wrigley Field 100 year commemorative balls, but I am pretty certain none of those balls were used during BP (I caught 2 and saw a few balls caught by others and all were ROMLBs).  So I wasn’t overly optimistic last night.

I had hoped to get over to where the Cubs were playing catch early in BP as I thought that would be my best chance of maybe getting a Cubs commemorative, but that section of Nationals Park wasn’t open yet.  Strike 1.

I had an awful BP.  It was relatively crowded (lots of Cubs fans) and didn’t come very close to any balls.  Even if I did get one during Cubs BP, it appeared to me that the Cubs balls were of the ROMLB variety.   I tried to hang out near the Cubs bullpen after BP moreso to get any ball — not necessarily a Cubs ball –as there were several balls from BP sitting there, but I got kicked out as I didn’t have a ticket for that section.  Strike 2.

I had all but given up on getting a Cub s commemorative at this point.  After getting something to eat, for whatever reason, I wandered back over toward the Cubs bullpen section, but still thinking I had no chance of getting near it as ushers would be checking tickets.

They were, but I noticed one usher was well down in one of the nearby sections helping someone find their seat.  I snuck in, then headed over to the bullpen.

There was a ballhawk by the name of Doug Hakey there.  He showed me a Cubs commemorative toss up he had gotten.  He left, but at this point the Cubs starter (Kyle Hendricks), catcher, two coaches and another guy had come out to the OF near the bullpen to start warming up.  I stayed and watched.  Then they came into the bullpen.  This was the point where I asked Coach Strode if I could get his lineup card after the game, but got turned down.  Kendricks started to throw again.  There was a large bucket of new balls in the bullpen and it became clear it was full of Cubs commemoratives.  Kendricks went through four balls while warming up.  Three of them ended up with Strode.  He held onto them at first.  It took forever, because I know this was my only shot and I could get kicked out of the section at any point.  Strode throws one to a little girl and then another to a little girl next to me.  I had asked him a couple times already, now I go all out.  He says he’d rather give one to a kid, which I understand.  I tell him my 10-year old and I collect the commemoratives, which is of course true.  He asks me where my 10-year old is, and I say he’s not here, but we collect the commemoratives and it would be awesome to add the Cubs ball to our collection.  He looks away and then somewhat reluctantly tosses it up to me.  Awesome!

Here it is shortly after I got it, with a blurry Nationals Park in the background:

Cubs 100 (2)

I would’ve preferred one in better condition, but as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers.  It was an awesome score regardless of the condition!

So as sad as it was to see the lineup card streak end, scoring the Cubs commemorative in what will probably be our only chance to score an MLB commemorative this season more than made up for it.

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