October 25, 2020

We all need a little “crazy” time

Sometimes you just gotta do something a little bit crazy.

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Gail is away on a retreat this week, giving me a little freedom to do some different things, and I’ve been feeling “blah” for as long as I remember. I thought it was time to get out of the doldrums by doing something to wake myself up. So I decided to drive to Pittsburgh to see the Cubs vs. the Pirates game.

This would be the first game of the playoffs, a one-game match to decide which team gets to play in the National League Divisional Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. So I left work and departed Indy about 12:15 pm, drove to Pittsburgh, watched the game, and drove back, arriving home at 5:00 am Thursday.

What a blast!

First of all, the drive time gave me a chance to decompress.

Second, Pittsburgh has a beautiful downtown lakefront area, and I got a chance to walk and enjoy the spectacular views.

Third, playoff baseball. Intense, especially when you are one of about 1000 Cubs fans in the midst of 40,000 Pirates fans!

Fourth, fantastic game. Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta has set an all-time record for the best pitching performance in a season after the All Star Game. He has not allowed a run now in his last 31 innings (3 1/2 games). He shut the evil Bucs out. Kyle Schwarber, who played locally for Indiana University, hit the longest home run I’ve ever seen in competition. He hit the ball in the dang river, folks! It was breathtaking. When you add great plays in the field, a little drama with hit batsmen, and the excitement of watching the Cubs in a meaningful playoff game, well it all made this one a memorable contest.

Fifth, cell phones, social media and texting made this even more fun, as I did FaceTime calls before the game to show my grandkids where I was, and had “conversations” with family and friends throughout the game about what I was experiencing, complete with pictures and commentary.

Sixth, Cubs win! They beat the Pirates 4-0 and advance to the NLDS on Friday night to begin a best-of-5 series against the Cardinals.

Seventh, on to St. Louis? Maybe, if I’m feeling crazy enough. At least that’s a shorter drive.

Eighth, what’s this all about?

Seriously folks, this is not just about me being a crazy Cubs fan. Sometimes you have to break outside the box, jump start the old vitality, do something that will get your blood and childlike juices flowing again.

We wrote recently about “the joy of humans at play.”

I usually tend to think that play is optional, something you do when and if you get your work done. Kind of like dessert after eating your veggies. But I’m realizing that if I don’t incorporate some playfulness into my life regularly, I get sick and die — in my spirit, that is. Play is veggies, that’s how good it is for you.

And the angel said to Mike, “Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Do something crazy once in awhile.”

I’m pretty sure that’s how the original Hebrew reads.


  1. Christiane says

    the Church really knows how to celebrate with joy

  2. Did you go alone? And how in the world did you get a ticket?

    And since the next round is Friday night does this mean an abbreviated Ramblings, or an outright suspension? Either way, it’s fine with me…

    • Ticket through StubHub, went alone — just jumped in the car and took off.

      Planning on Ramblings as usual.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        Call me shallow, but the question about the ticket is what immediately came to mind. If you don’t mind saying, what did it cost?

        I have only attended one postseason game in my life, when a buddy had an extra ticket. It was either Game 1 or Game 2 of the 1988 NLCS. Either way it doesn’t matter, since I’ll claim it was Game 1 of the WS and I saw Kirk Gibson’s home run live, and not on TV like all you losers.

        I have had the desire and theoretical capability of attending later postseasons, but always balked at the price.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Recognized where I stayed last time I was in Pittsburgh. In “Riverfront at Night 1” there’s a building just to the left of the bridge with a large arched lightwell cut out of the side facing the river. That’s the Renaissance Hotel. When I was there, there was a game over at the baseball stadium almost every night; street was overrun with crowds, bottled-water & T-shirt vendors, and ticket scalpers.

  4. Roberto Clemente was my first favorite baseball player. Thanks for posting the pic of his statue. Here’s to the Cubs and Astros in the World Series.

  5. CUBS WIN!!! CUBS WIN!!! CUBS WINN!!! I still, after all these years, hear that in the voice of Harry Caray. Grew up on the west side in Westchester and Elmhurst. Glad you had a great time, Mike.

  6. Congrats on the game (although my mom’s side of the family is from Pittsburgh, so….). Now on to conquer the evil RED EMPIRE…. looks like my Royals might not get that far…

  7. CM,

    Welcome to Pittsburgh! I hope everyone of the Pittsburgh natives were on their best behavior. The city itself is beautiful and its a great place for pictures. Hopefully you had a chance to head over to Primantee’s (though it’s best experienced at about 2:00 AM).

  8. Nice! I’m sure you had fun. Downtown Pittsburgh is really nice area, and PNC Park is one of the best places to take in a game.

  9. Steve Newell says

    Welcome to meaningful baseball in October. For fans of the North Side team, this is something new For us in St. Louis, October normally red. Red with leaves turning, red with Cardinals playing. Enjoy. I hope your stay is a short one.

    Go Cardinals.

    Let’s have another I-70 World Series.

    • I’ve been waiting for a Cubs-Cards series like this for a long, long time. Wish we could take in a game together.

      If I weren’t a Cubs fan from birth and genetically incapable of rooting for St Louis, I’d follow the Cardinals. They just do it right.

    • Word of prophecy from Steve…… the bloodmoon says so.

  10. I have to admit this was fun just reading about it! Thanks for allowing us to vicariously participate in your adventure, Chaplain Mike–and thanks for the salutary lesson!

    • My wife and I have been weighed down by sickness and fatigue the last few days and I had to get up early today to prepare for a major call, reviewing what we need to do for a major client. This was just the right thing to break me out of my rut. Thanks again, and praise God!

  11. Well done!

    Last year, on a similar whim, I bought a last minute StubHub ticket and drove from NY to Fenway Park for Derek Jeter’s last game ever.

    As a lifelong Yankees fan, and someone who was only 12 when Jeter was a rookie, I was filled with regret that I hadn’t been to a Yankees game all year, and even more regret when I didn’t attempt to go to his last home game at Yankee Stadium, for which of course he provided the game-winning hit.

    So I suited up, skipped church, and walked bravely, by myself, into the belly of the best with my enemy colors on. Turns out it was really just a giant goodbye party anyway. But the 5 hour drive, the lack of having anyone with me that I needed to pay attention to, and opportunity for 20 years of memories was so good for my soul that day.

  12. The only time I’ve been in Pittsburgh was on a bus on my way to Virginia to pick up a car I bought on eBay, which I still have twelve years later. Looking out the bus window as we drove thru, I was amazed at how unspoiled the downtown area was by modern buildings. Wonderful skyscrapers, looked like Superman or Batman would be right at home there. Took me back to happier times before cities became something that may eat you for lunch if you aren’t careful. Great photos. On to St. Louis indeed!

  13. Wow Your post gives me hope as a Mariner fan that suffers with so many that after 14 years, (can’t compare to the Cubs I know) that their is still hope! I am amazed that in the driving, you could decompress! Whatever it takes, huh?

    • Hey, Jerry…do you live in the Seattle area? I’m near Kent. I’m so glad Jack Z is gone. We’ve had some ugly, ugly years…

  14. Off Topic, literally just heard about this this morning. I can understand my IFB schools suppressing this, but did everyone forget about it?


  15. Good ‘whole-i-ness’.

  16. David Cornwell says

    Being a little crazy– something we forget how to do! It’s too bad when we have to look all the way back to college days to remember what it is like.

    Glad you had fun & was a good day.

  17. Great to see the Cubs in the playoffs. I am a long-tiime Cardinals fan and will be pulling for the Cards, but I must admit, there is a small part of me that wants to see the Cubs go all the way. If it can’t be the Cards, then let it be the Cubs!

  18. Lifelong Cub fan, but a lot of the “heart” went out of it in 1969. Glad they are in the run again. Beat those Cards!
    Sounds like you had a great experience.

  19. Wow Mike! Good for you!! I’m watching game 2 of Rangers vs. Blue Jays as I type. Lifelong Rangers fan (well, at least since ’72 when they moved to Texas) but lived in Chicago for several years. One of my all time baseball memories was attending the first night game at Wrigley–still have the souvenir cap. I’m hoping it plays out Cubs vs. Cards and Rangers vs. ‘Stros with Rangers vs. Cubs for all marbles.

  20. This is so great, CM! I really needed this reminder to have fun! I took tell myself I’ll schedule some fun when all my work is done — which I know it will never be. So I will try to think of a way to go a little cray this weekend! Bless you!

  21. Randy Thompson says

    The Cubs beating the Pirates was Gospel (for some, at least).

    The Cubs beating the Cardinals will be Apocalyptic.

    The Cubs winning the World Series will be eschatological.

    Some random, theological thoughts on the Cubs and the post season.

    Congratulations, Chaplain Mike, on doing something crazy and seeing the Cubs win in the process.. I watched the game wondering if you managed to get there.

  22. Rangers take first two in Toronto.