I witnessed a fascinating thing on Friday afternoon at Wrigley. Yes, the game was awesome and we’ll get to that, but the truly fascinating thing was getting a chance to see a real life Yellon interacting in its natural habitat.
Most people know that Al Yellon has been a season ticket holder in the bleachers for years, always sits in the top corner of the left field bleachers, and writes/edits/lords over the blog, Bleed Cubbie Blue. People who know that about him might assume that he does those things out of a love of the Cubs or Wrigley Field or both. But, from what I saw on Friday, he sure doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself very much.
I happened to get my hands on some extremely rare, and totally unavailable Cubs/Yankees tickets for the first game of the series up in Aisle 403. That is the very last Aisle on the left field side of the Upper Deck, so we were sitting pretty much right above Al’s favorite seat and we could see him clearly as he diligently kept score throughout the game.
The first thing that I really noticed was in the bottom of the 7th inning. Doug Davis had somehow miraculously managed to shut down the Yankee lineup and was going along with a 3-0 lead. With one out in the seventh, Davis came up to bat, and a large part of the crowd rose to give him a rousing ovation for providing, what was to this point, the absolute highlight of the Cubs season thus far. As I rose to applaud, I happened to look down towards Al, and there were his companions, likewise standing and cheering, but Al was just sitting there with his scorebook on his lap, looking like he may have been having some intestinal distress.
I thought that was odd, but I thought maybe I had missed him clapping briefly. Or maybe he just plain doesn’t like Doug Davis. I know he’s pitchng in the spot in the rotation that Al felt should have been Kerry Wood’s, so maybe he’s bitter. I don’t know. But it intrigued me that he was one of the few Cubs fans in the park not acknowledging the minor miracle we were witnessing on the field.
The game played on and in the top of the 8th, Davis got one more out and then gave up a double to Nick Swisher. Quade came out of the dugout and as Davis walked off the mound, he got another even more rousing, well-deserved ovation from the crowd. I again snuck a peek down at Al as I clapped and sure enough, he was sitting there scribbling in his scorebook. He was probably writing in Davis’ totals, and as I mentioned, maybe he has something against Davis. So what did I expect?
Marshall then struck out Curtis Granderson after a battle and the crowd loudly cheered. Al quietly penciled in the K in the scorebook (presumably) with no other acknowledgement. Then after a Texiera single closed the gap to 3-1, the atmosphere got even more tense. Carlos Marmol was called on to record a 4-out save and he proceeded to strike out Alex Rodriguez swinging to end the inning. No reaction from Al. I had officially become obsessed with Al’s non-reactions.
When the bottom of the ninth rolled around, we were treated to a prototypical Reed Johnson circus catch that robbed Robinson Cano of extra bases and brought down the house. Al just looked on.
Now, I was busy clapping and high-fiving my buddy and a few people around me after these events, so it is entirely possible that I missed some applauding or any sort of show of appreciation from Al that occurred before I remembered to look down there, but I don’t think so. His companions were usually standing and cheering, while he just sat or stood there with his arms crossed or taking his notes onto the scorecard.
When Marmol struck out Chris Dickerson to end a victory over the New York Fucking Yankees by the hapless Cubs who have trouble beating the Houston Astros, Al’s reaction was some more scorekeeping and a quick packing up of his backpack in preparation to leave. People around him were jumping, clapping, singing and plain rejoicing and Al was planning his quick getaway from his perch in the bleachers.
He just didn’t seem to be enjoying himself at all. If I didn’t know better, I might have guessed he was doing something like recording barometric pressure readings for a science lab or something.
I was having a hell of a time as I managed to finally witness a Cubs victory for the first time this season. If there were more games like that one, I might feel a twinge of regret for having given up my season package. But there was Al, acting like a robot after a game that could very well be the absolute high-point of the season for the Cubs.
If this game didn’t get your Cubs fan juices going even a little bit, then I have to wonder why you would continue to fork over the kind of cash that it takes to own that season ticket package every damn year. I have to wonder how he manages to pull together the energy to blog about what he witnessed when he doesn’t seem to care that he witnessed it. He doesn’t appear to be savoring every moment.
Once again, I am just plain baffled by Al Yellon.