Walking home and listening to “beisbol” on the radio

Back in the early days of “el exilio”, we lived in Wisconsin and would listen to afternoon baseball. It was Chicago Cubs baseball over WGN radio, a powerful signal that came in loud and clear. We would listen to the games walking home from school, or at the baseball practice or in the car radio with our parents. Afternoon baseball and the Cubs happened because Wrigley Field did not have lights. It led my mother to say: “Que raro no tienen luces”.

The lights were finally turned on August 8, 1988, or 34 years ago today. By the way, Cuban Rafael Palmeiro was playing left field for the Cubs that night.

As I recall, the game was rained out, but the lights went on before the summer showers came.

It all started at 6:05 P.M.., when 91-year-old Cubs fan Harry Grossman began the countdown. “Three…two…one…let there be lights!”

Grossman pressed a button, and light towers were on. Wonder if Mr. Grossman was around for the 2016 World Series title? Hopefully yes, but I don’t know for sure. Millions around the country were probably caught up in the whole thing.

For years, Cubs fans were raised on day baseball. It was charming, especially for kids off from school. One of my first summer memories in the U.S. was walking to a park and seeing this older couple listening to the Cubs on their front porch. As I recall, the lady was keeping score because she was holding a book and a pencil.

During my time in Mexico, one of my neighbors had an early version of a satellite antenna, and we would often light up the grill and catch the Cubs on TV.

It made afternoon rush-hour traffic a bit interesting listening to WGN radio and driving home. It brought morning baseball to West Coast fans. It allowed the players to play ball and have dinner with their families.

Eventually, economics caught up with the Cubs. It’s hard to play daytime baseball when TV viewership is crucial to pro sports. It was fun while it lasted.

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