In about 40 minutes from the time I am beginning this post, the Red Carpet All-Star Game Parade will air on FOX for the world to see. Unlike many baseball fans who will be watching, I actually had the opportunity to attend earlier this afternoon LIVE and in person! It was amazing.
I actually didn’t even know the parade was happening until a couple hours before so the fact that I’d get to see the parade in person was a great surprise. Seeing that today isn’t a shoot day I decided to head down to Sixth Avenue and check it out.
I had no idea there would be Hall of Famers kicking it all off. To be in New York City on a beautiful Summer day, celebrating the greatest players in the game today would’ve been enough…to be in the presence of the greatest players EVER, was a whole other treat.
The fans were into it and the energy was a lot of fun. The players were digging all the chants and cheering and of course, some booing as they went by. I think someone may have been sick or there was a 911 call because there were a ton of firetrucks half way through just as the National League All-Stars were coming by (the whole reason I was there to begin with) and after about a 10 minute delay, finally the Cubs players started rolling by. Dempster, Marmol, Wood, Soriano, Soto, Fukudome were all there (no sign of Big Z or Ramirez). Soto looked all class in his suit as I found most of the Hall of Famers were and some of the most famous players in the game as well. I figure about 75% of the players wore some form of a leisure short sleeve shirt and while it was a nice-casual…still not the level of class most took in commemorating such an event. Soto fit right in and I look forward to seeing him play this role for many years to come.
Marmol was the only Cub All-Star I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of because I was too busy cheering. One, he was one of the first Cubs to finally come down so I was psyched they were finally coming out…and two, I was too busy thinking about my predictions in the preseason of how he should be our closer and how happy I am with him as our set up guy instead. When Wood came by I made sure I got a photo but he went by so quickly I didn’t get a chance to tell him how wrong I was about him in the Spring. So far this year, he’s totally proven me wrong.
Soriano looked all class as well and when I yelled “Yeah Soriano, Go Cubs!” he looked over at me and gave me a nod full of confidence like I’ve never seen a nod with confidence before. I know it sounds ridiculous but I seriously believe Soriano thinks this is the year. Awesome.
Dempster was soaking in the festivities and pointed at me when I yelled “Yeah Demp, good for you man!” One loss at home in the entire first half of the season…maybe one of the most deserving Cubs there.
For me though, the biggest thrill of the day was having Fukudome roll by five feet away representing the future success of the Cubs while Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, sat next to him representing the greats of the past. I made sure I got my picture of Fukudome and yelled out “FU-KU-DO-ME!” to which he laughed and nodded, probably surprised to receive the response he got from Cubs fans around me in of all places, New York City.
Other Cub highlights from the parade were Ryne Sandberg who spurred on loud chants of “Ryno!” as he went by; Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins who looked like he could still go nine innings (when one guy near me told him that he should teach these youngsters how to do so, he responded those days are over) making it a real treat to see all four living Cubs Hall of Famers up close and in person! And of course, Lou Piniella. When Sweet Lou went by I couldn’t help but wonder if I was seeing the guy who was going to answer 100 years of waiting with the championship all Cubs fans have been waiting for, go by me before my eyes. Then the guy next to me yelled, “Hey Lou, I love your commercial!”. Hilarious…me too, Lou. ‘Say hello to the Mrs.’ Lou.
Looking forward to seeing the game tonight! Go Fukudome! Go Soto! Let’s represent the Cubs right away tonight in the NL starting lineup! (By the way, Fukudome 8 and Soto 9? This may just be the NL lineup to finally get the W!)
Other fun moments from the parade today (pictures to be posted asap):
– Mike Schmidt telling Mets fans that this year is going to end up just like last year.
– Rollie Fingers telling fans that Giambi needs to shave.
– Terry Francona responding “Mo, who?” to a fan that insisted Rivera close over Papelbon.
– Hanley Ramirez apologizing to Mets fans while they chanted the Jose Reyes ‘JO-SE’ chant.
– George Brett showing the crowd his palms were clean when fans yelled out “Pine Tar”!
– Tommy Lasorda telling the crowd to take the rest of the day off. Who were we to argue?
Let’s go National League…get that home field advantage!!! GO CUBS GO!