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There once was a time when Wrigley Field had Grandstand seats, Box seats, Bleacher seats and day baseball. There were no Sky Boxes, no Terrace Reserved seats, no Platinum games, no advertisements to be seen and no lights.

That’s when we started going to Major League baseball games.

It was a time when only the ivy vines clad the outfield walls, replay was a relatively new concept, and for some games, they closed the Upper Deck because not enough people attended to justify opening it.

After many years of faithful support, we realized the Cubs didn’t appear in Post-Season play all that often. In fact, the first time in our lifetimes was a Playoff game on October 2, 1984. Thanks to Steve’s dad, we were there.

There was something electric about that Playoff atmosphere. Before entering the park that day, Terry and I took the lap around the ball yard to exorcise whatever evil baseball spirits lingered from futile days gone by. (In reality, maybe we just wanted to savor every moment of the event from both outside and inside the park.)

Thirty two years and five days later, on October 7, 2016, the core trio of friends, Terry, Steve and I had an opportunity to see playoff baseball again. We were a little older, a tad slower, but no less enthusiastic.

It was the first game of the NLDS and we were there. We considered it our mission to be the trailblazers. To start the Playoffs right. To help the team boldly forge ahead. To bring home the W. After all, we were undefeated in post-season play with a Cubs playoff record for 3-0 when we were there.

This was a classic pitcher’s duel. Old time baseball just like when we first went to the games. Brilliant fielding plays and stellar pitching performances by Johnny Cueto and John Lester. There was a diving Giant catch on the warning track. A runner picked off of first and another caught stealing by David Ross.

As the scoreless game ensued, it became apparent that each hit, each baserunner had significance. The electric atmosphere took on a tension.

47 outs had been recorded in the contest without a run when Javy Baez stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning.

With a full count, Javy launched one that looked destined to land on Waveland Avenue, only to be cut short by the howling wind, but not before the ball landed in the basket just below a Chicago Pizza sign, for a home run.

It turned out to be the game winner. It was a 2:30 minute old-time ball game and the Cubs came out on top.

We lingered in the stands long after most of the crowd left, basking in the moment celebrating our now 4-0 post season record at Wrigley.

I was last to exit the tunnel by Gate 236. I took one step down, then turned to take a look back at the now empty park. One last glimpse to soak in the scene. I watched the white W flag proudly fly fully, flapping in the breeze, wondering when I’d have a chance to go 5-0 in Post Season baseball at Wrigley Field.

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