Okay, this is a very unique post for me–I don’t think I’ve ever done an article specifically about sports before (although I did blog about the “Curse of the Colonel” once). This is more of a “today in history” post, but it has to do with sports. The short version is this: 25 years ago today, on August 8, 1988, the first night game was played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, one of the last holdouts for stadium lights. But before we get there, a (brief) bit of personal history.
You don’t hear me talk about sports much, but I did used to be a sports fan. Back in the late ’80s my sport was baseball. I don’t think I’ve even seen a baseball game since the first George Bush was in the White House, but in 1988 not only was I a baseball fan, I was–and I’m embarrassed to admit this–a Chicago Cubs fan! The perennial losers of the baseball world were my team, largely because many of my friends were Cubs fans, and I admit that rooting for an underdog has always appealed to me.
I split the summer of 1988, spending part of it in Omaha, Nebraska (where a very strange event happened to me) and the rest in Philadelphia. It was from my bedroom in Philadelphia, on a very muggy night 25 years ago today, that I watched the first Wrigley Field night game. The weather was disagreeable that night. In fact the Cubs, who were playing the Phillies, didn’t finish the game; it was rained out after three innings. Fans do remember that game and especially the date it was played. Years later I visited a sports bar that named a sandwich the “8-8-88” after the day they turned the lights on.
Okay, below is why you clicked on this post. Here’s unedited TV footage of the Cubs game for that night, but there’s a lot more than that–you get to see a much younger Bill Murray interviewed by Harry Caray (the longtime voice of the Cubs), plus some insipid interviews with fans and a lot of horrible late 80s TV commercials. Here it is, as it was, on 8-8-88, not exactly a brilliant milestone in history, but at least somewhat illuminating.
I’ll stop now.