Playing Out Strings
The team, the economy and the schedule all stunk. This looked to be the year when the Cubs’ winning streak at the turnstiles would snap.
But, in the tradition of neighborhood taverns everywhere, ownership resorted to cheap beer and even cheaper hot dogs to keep ‘em comin’ in and now, with 12 home dates remaining in the season, if the current average of just over 37,000 is maintained Team Ricketts will again have suckered/entertained in excess of three million guests. Maybe somebody slipped the fire marshal a free pass to a skybox suite to get him to look the other way so they could cram the joint when the schedule called for it, as when the Yankees visited over a weekend in June. Suddenly the place holds 42,000+.
I personally visited only once, my lowest total in years. I came for an unveiling and stayed for the dollar dogs and free sunset in the bleachers.
Business remains good down here on the farm, too. Despite the smallest market in the 16-team league to draw from, and that they’ll finish in the PCL North basement with their first losing record since 2005, the I-Cubs are still running 4th in the league attendance derby. Omaha is the crown jewel of the Royals’ top-ranked farm system and leads its division while playing this summer in a brand new ballpark. Still, the Storm Chasers are 9th in attendance. Guess maybe the name change didn’t take…
Fresh from dropping the finale of a nine-game series with Oklahoma City [four here; five there]Iowa comes home tonight for the final stand of 2011. The only unfinished business is Bryan LaHair’s assault on Joe Hicks’ club record for home runs. Stalled for a few days at 36, he remains one short. I’d like to be there when he ties and breaks it before collecting his reward of a September call-up. When that happens LaHair might be the happiest Cub at Wrigley Field all summer.
Meanwhile the I-Cub website has already posted the tentative schedule for 2012. Shuffle the cards.