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Summer afternoon, cold beer and fresh cut grass. Two of my baseball worlds came crashing together today in a much anticipated baseball match-up between my first-love Texas Rangers and my adopted Chicago Cubs. We took in game 3 of the series today at the Ballpark at Arlington. I was so excited, I sported a Chicago-style mustache to welcome all the visiting fans.
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I grew up a Rangers fan, though the sport was never my first choice. But, I always enjoyed following our own lovable losers – which is a bit of a family tradition with my grandfather and my mom. I followed them through thick and thin, remembering vividly favorite players like Pete Incaviglia, Jim Sundberg, Julio Franco, Ruben Sierra and Charlie Hough, everything about Nolan Ryan…
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…and the few successful division championships. Pretty anemic compared to say, the yankees.

Fast forward to adulthood. I realized quickly upon moving to Chicago, that there’s nothing quite like taking in a summer afternoon game in the heart of Chicago at Wrigley Field. It was always on my itinerary for visiting friends like Mike and Chuck.
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It’s magical. It’s fantastic. It’s the toast of the town – and I believe the reason for summer work hours. Full Wrigleyville bars spilling into the streets, pageantry of bands and true blue fans milling around the stadium.

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And that timeless field and scoreboard, seen here behind my parents several years ago.
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Unfortunately, the Cubs are THE lovable losers of baseball. I was blessed with some successful seasons in Chicago, inlcuding the Bartman debacle. But the championship drought continues – curse that billy goat! Didn’t matter though. Each game was a priviledge in itself.

I was pumped to see the teams play each other today in a rare interleague game. If I was a betting man, this would be the last match-up I’d put mony on for the World Series. So I had to catch them now.

The game didn’t disappoint. Came down to a final hit to score the winning run for Texas. Long drive back to Illinois, Cub fans!

And there were many sporting Chicago gear – more than half the fans were Cubs fans. They must have been horribly disappointed in our 7th inning stretch rendition of “take me out to the ball game.” It’s a celebrity tradition up north.
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They also must have wondered where our local bar district is, how so many seats can be empty, and how a stadium can feel so darned hot at 80 degrees.

It’s a little different here. But, hey, when it comes to teams that just can’t seem to win, I’m sure the Cubbie fans felt right at home. And, was it a little bittersweet to see longtime Cubbie Sammy Sosa hit his 600th home run in a Rangers uniform? Not to mention, a silly banner under the scoreboard to rub it in.
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