No matter how much change occurs in my life or around me at any given moment, there's one thing that will never cease to exist -- the fact that I am a Cubs fan.
The Chicago Cubs have been there for me since the day I was born (maybe not directly, but my dad was a Cubs fan so I'm going to go ahead and make that claim that "the Cubs" run through my veins ... Creepy? Maybe. True in the metaphorical sense? You betcha.)
It is because of my love for baseball's most beloved losing franchise that I posses nothing but the utmost respect for each and every baseball organization (the exception being the White Sox -- I just can't like them, sorry...) and the game itself. I've walked the warning track at Fenway, watched boats in lake Michigan from the Wrigley Field press box, sat in the grand stand at the original Yankee Stadium, welcomed the Washington Nationals into their inaugural season at RFK stadium, looked on as the Cubs cultivate new talent at Hohokam Park during Spring Training, witnessed Randy Johnson's 300th win at Nationals Park, caught a game in the Twins last season at the Metrodome, and sat first row behind home plate at Wrigley Field for Kerry Wood's first relief appearance, but today I did something entirely new -- interviewed a Major League Baseball player who plays for a losing team in one of the most expensive ball parks in the country at the team's fan fest...during the off-season...within the confines of a snow covered ball park.
If that's not living the dream, I don't know what is.
There's nothing I love more than a day full of baseball. In fact, when asked my favorite season, I never respond with Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall. To do so would be a lie! What's my favorite season? BASEBALL SEASON! Makes sense, doesn't it?
NatsFest 2010 is the closest I've ever been to any big leaguer (the exceptions being the time I met Ryne Sandberg in Nike Town on Michigan Avenue while he was shopping with his wife and when I was six and met Ernie Banks in my mother's office building). Most of the players attending the event were the new guys, which makes sense for obvious reasons.
The line to get an autograph from Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez was insane! I did have the opportunity to be first in line to meet the future Hall of Famer (which now I wish I had done but you win some, you lose some) but I opted to be second in line to meet ex-Cubs Jason Marquis and the Nats new manager, Jim Riggleman.
There were two highlights of the day, the first being Nationals Park covered in snow. Yes. That's right. Snow. In DC. And a few hundred people getting a special treat as they file into Nationals Park. The snow came on Saturday, allowing for Sunday to be a sunny (but still FREEZING) baseball filled day.
What made this baseball winter wonderland even better is that there was no NHL Winter Classic to disturb this pristine, once in a life time, baseball moment.
Well, ... that and the fact that this here journalist (yes, I'm talking about myself for the moment) had her FIRST interview with a Major League Baseball player. RHP Craig Stamman was the victim. What did he have to say? You'll have to check it out at We Love DC.
All in all, I think Sunday was a solid day of Nationals Baseball lovin' ... especially from this die-hard Cub fan.
I did learn something today though. It's not easy playing for a team who is known for their ability to lose games on a regular basis. But -- no matter what team you're playing for -- it's nice to know that there will always be those fans who stand for over 30 minutes in the freezing cold on the side of town just to see their sports hero's in person ... even if it's just for a few seconds. I mean hell ... I'm used to the Cubs losing, so I guess that means Nats Fans really are people too. I mean, I do understand what it feels like to have your team lose a lot. We both believe that NEXT year is here.
Too bad only one of us can go to the World Series. We'll just have to wait and see what happens come October.