It was a hazy night at the ballpark. The wind blew in from beyond the bleachers, bringing with it … a lake-effect fog?
No! It was enough smoke from a dozen rooftop barbeques across Sheffield and Waveland to blacken the sun and darken the moon on an otherwise beautiful night at the old ball yard.
Harper arrived ready for action!
Chat around the ballpark was all about Darwin Barney and his streak of error-free games. If he played a clean game tonight he would break the all-time National League record for a second baseman of 113 games without a fielding mess-up! He hadn’t made an error since April. Since there has been absolutely nothing worth cheering about this year, except for the Cubs’ weird winning record in July (won 15, lost 10 – if they had played that well all season they’d be in contention for a wild card spot, and be only 9 percentage points behind the Reds for first place in the NL Central), Cub fans embraced the chance for something, anything, to celebrate.
Harper flew to her seat in anticipation of a fun evening at Wrigley Field.
Pen in hand, she was ready to keep score, so Admin just turned his card over to her.
(Photo by Son of Admin)
And then it happened. An attempted steal … the ball gets by Castro and rolls toward center field. The runner gets up and heads for third. Out of nowhere Barney appears, fields the ball and throws to third. It looks like the runner is going to be out by a mile! But the ball skips by Cub third baseman Valbuena.
“Oh no!” cried Admin. “Did that bounce in to Valbuena? There goes the streak on a fluke play!”
Sure enough, the scoreboard posted E4, an error on the second baseman, Barney. Bye bye record book!
“No way,” protested Harper. “I saw the play. That throw was perfect. It hit Valbuena’s mitt on the fly. I’m scoring it E5.”
(Photo by Son of Admin)
“But Harper …” began Admin.
She cut me off. “Gimme your cell phone. I’m calling the official scorer!”
After talking to the press box she said, “You’ll see it in the replay when we get home …”
Sure enough, Harper was right and they changed the scoring to E5, an error on the third baseman. Barney’s accomplishment was confirmed!
“Nice going, Harper,” said Admin.
“No problem,” she said. “You can’t beat fun at the old ball yard …
… and years from now when fans talk about Darwin Barney and how he broke the record, I can say, ‘I was at that game.’”