I really enjoy it when the Padres beat the Dodgers at home, because the type of Dodger fan that decides to represent in San Diego is generally obnoxious. I'll admit, I don't handle it very well. It gets under my skin and I find myself gritting my teeth as Dodger fan decends from parts unknown to spew bile and leave their muck in our nice city. I act irrationally.
Peanuts have been thrown.
The next best thing is beating the Cubs at home. I wouldn't go so far as to say the Cubs fans are "obnoxious", though the two guys behind me were certainly trying to make their case. I think what bothers me most, and what makes it oh so sweet to see a Padres victory is that the Cubs fans are so numerous. Thousands of them. I have no idea where they come from. The midwest, I assume. If California's largest export is agriculture then Illinois' largest export must be Cubs fans.
Not to get too biblical on you, but walking through the Gaslamp Quarter before the game, I felt like Daniel in the lion's den. Cubs fans everywhere. They were spilling out of doorways. Every restaurant and bar had cubs fans from wall to wall. And they were yelling to one another from across the street. Haven't they heard of instant messaging? And here I was. All alone. Going to meet the rest of the group in my Padres hat. Only a few Padres fans here and there. I imagine most of the fairweathers were in hiding (No offense to you, Fairweather). You know what saw me safely through? Padres Faith, dear reader. That and the fact that I walk pretty fast and don't make eye contact with strangers.
Eventually, I met up with the crew (Jbox, Jess and her cousin Sara), and we took our seats. Directly behind us were some Cubs fans. Already, my skin began to tingle and itch. Adam started the night slowly, giving up single after single. Double after double. In the second, Michael Barrett, who somehow is beating Ramon Hernandez in the All-Star voting, doubled in a run and the pitcher Segio Mitre, got a single. And Cubs fans started going wild.
"All night! It'll be like that all night!"
"Eaton's done! We'll eat that guy alive!"
"Even our pitcher's hitting! I predict 9 runs on 15 hits, with Mitre shutting out these chumps!"
"I love coming to San Diego! There's more Cubs fans here than at Wrigley!"
After a single: "That should've been a triple!"
With two runners on: "I smell a grand slam!"
Literally. Those are actual quotes. I couldn't take it anymore. Derek Lee came up with two runners on and two outs. The crowd started chanting "MVP".
I started clapping and shouting. My voice was cracking with frustration, "Let's GO, Adam! You get this guy! Three bullets right by him!" Adam threw strike one, swinging. The MVP chant died a little bit.
"That's it, Adam! You got this guy! Show them who's an MVP!" Adam threw strike two, swinging. MVP chant gone. I jumped to my feet.
"Where's your MVP now?! Let's go, Adam! Show this MVP something!" On strike three, swinging, Adam showed their MVP where he could put his batting helmet and then pointed out a nice spot to put the MVP's bat.
Though I was a little happier, the guys behind me were still pretty obnoxious. Eaton settled in pretty good, but these guys were still convinced that two runs were going to hold up. Then a minor miracle occurred. Two rows back from us was a well dressed gentleman in his 50s. He was in a nice tie and a leather jacket and was sitting directly behind the loud Cubs fans. A couple of Padres fans showed up to the game late and politely pointed out to the jacketed gentleman that he was in the wrong seats. I hadn't heard peep out of this guy so far, but after doublechecking his ticket he realized that the Cubs fans were in his seats. He spoke up.
"Oh, you're in my seat! Well good. Get back to your seat. I'm tired of hearing you."
Cubs fan said, "Well I'm just a few rows back. You'll still be able to hear me."
Jacketed man said, "Why don't you just e-mail the Cubs with everything you want to say. That way, we don't have to listen." Cubs fan left the seats. The other Cubs fan was still there.
"I'm still here, though. You'll have to hear me."
Jacketed man said, "Well if this wasn't his seat then I know that's not your seat. If you want to stay, then keep it down."
Cubs fan stayed for a few pitches, alone and surrounded by Padres fans, before finally leaving the seats.
And somehow, that's when everything went good. The Padres scored their first run in the fourth and then followed up to take the lead in the fifth. Adam Eaton came alive and suddenly started singing Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better) by hitting a single, scoring a run, then hitting a triple and scoring again in the very next inning. Any ball you can hit, I can hit farther. I can hit any ball farther than you.
Hammond eventually came on in relief in the eighth, got two outs and then got into a jam as he couldn't find that third out and he loaded the bases. The Cubs fans came to life once again, and that's when Aki found himself back in rightful spot in the bullpen:
Strike (swinging), Strike (looking), Strike (swinging), J Dubois struck out swinging.
Aki finished up the ninth and got the save. Adam Eaton got a well deserved win and showed why he's one of the best hitting pitchers in the National League going 2-3 with 2 runs and a triple. Derek Lee, who I'll admit is one of the hottest things going, went 0-5 with 2 Ks.
Two more games in the series. Cubs have finally lost a game at Petco. Everything feels right in the world.