In May, I took Foster to Houston for his birthday, and my dad met us there to stay in a hotel and go to a Cubs game. Foster has just recently started getting into sports in general and the Cubs in particular. I bought him some Cubs baseball cards over Spring break and I was using them like flash cards to help him remember the names of the players. We arrived into Houston, went to the hotel, had a quick swim on the top-floor (though indoor) pool, then went to the game at Minute Maid Park, just down the street from the hotel (picture below taken from our hotel room).
We got there early, and the gates hadn't even opened yet. When we got inside we went towards the Cubs dugout along with quite a few other Cubs fans (we're everywhere). I was really hoping we could get Foster a ball, but everyone wanted a ball, so I knew the chances weren't good. Here are some pictures I took, my favorite Cub Reed Johnson, Aramis Ramirez chatting with Lou one day before separating his shoulder, and a good one of Soriano.
I wanted to yell to him, but didn't. But it was like I was communicating telepathically because he looked over at us as if to say: "Someone want this?" I said: "Right here!" And even though I called for it, there were still plenty of people who could have snagged it. Sure enough, the ball came right to me, I reached above the smaller young woman standing in front of me, and caught it. "Here you go, buddy. Happy birthday." At that moment, I thought: whether we win or lose, or this is the worst game ever, our trip has been a success. (Note: it was Joey's last great play as a Cub as he was traded to the Orioles the very next day).
We were sitting behind home plate (incredible seats) next to another Cubs fan, but there were mostly Astros fans around us, view from our seats below.
There were 2 particularly obnoxious Astros fans sitting in front of us who thankfully left after the 3rd inning. The game didn't start well with our pitcher giving up a two-run home run in the bottom of the 1st inning but we came back, Soriano hit a home run (remember when he did that?), and we were leading for most of the game. Lo and behold, the obnoxious fans returned in the top of the 9th and decided it was time to start heckling the Cubs. Soriano came up and they started yelling, "Soriano! Have you even been on base tonight?" Then it was quiet, so I said, "He actually hit a home-run earlier, guys. So technically, no, he wasn't on base. But he was on them all briefly." They felt a little embarrassed, but were undeterred. They continued to razz him, and I was thinking: "Please hit a home run. Please hit a home run." And right on cue, Soriano drilled another one. I went crazy and might have gotten myself in a fight but chilled out. We then spent a day in Galveston with my mom and stepdad. Foster and I bonded, we had some quality time with the grandparents, the Cubs won, he got a ball...what a weekend! And Foster has the ball to prove it.