Steve Henneberry, an assistant public relations director at the University of Minnesota, drove to Chicago a few days ago even though he didn’t have a ticket to the World Series and probably couldn’t afford what the scalpers were selling them for.
But Steve had something better, it turned out. He had a long-time friend.
On FoxSports’ website, Dieter Kurtenbach says he was walking around Wrigley last night, just to watch how people in the neighborhood were taking in the game.
I had my headphones in, listening to the Cubs’ broadcast of the game, but I heard it. Then I saw a larger black SUV with a well-dressed man, white and middle-aged, hanging out the window.
“Hey, come here,” he yelled.
This ought to be good, I thought.
“We can’t go — you want a ticket to the game? Just one.”
How do you say no to that?
I’m a Chicagoan, but I’m not a Cubs fan — I grew up rooting for Frank Thomas, Mark Buehrle, Juan Uribe (my favorite player of all time) and the White Sox.
I took the ticket anyway.
Bingo! Dieter’s going to the ballgame.
But Dieter isn’t a Cubs fan; he’s a White Sox guy.
And Dieter has a friend. His best friend from high school.
Steve moved to Minnesota a few years back, and he and his wife Kelly started a family. We had some good times, but I’ve never seen a happier photo of Steve than the picture he took of him, Kelly and his son Thomas at the kid’s first Cubs game.
Steve drove in from Minnesota to see if he could get tickets to any of the three games this weekend. He found out rather quickly that wasn’t going to happen – if he was lucky he could have gotten a standing room-only ticket for $1,000. We watched the game together with other friends Saturday night, but he and Kelly wanted to be as close as possible to Wrigley for Sunday night’s game. They set up shop at Lucky’s Sandwich Shop on Clark, three blocks south of the ballpark.
One minute after receiving the ticket, I called Steve, but didn’t get a response. I sent a text:
Call Me Now!
Ten seconds later, a call and the offer — you want the ticket?
Steve wasn’t sure. Only one? He didn’t want to leave Kelly at the bar. I told him he had five minutes to think it over — I was heading towards Lucky’s.
We met outside the watering hole — I refused to take no for an answer. He really didn’t need much convincing. Sorry, Kelly, you’re flying solo.
If you know real baseball fans, you know dozens of stories just like this one:
Steve’s mom died when he was in middle school. He was the oldest of three, and he helped his dad raise his two sisters. He worked his tail off in high school and then worked his way through college at Creighton. There were an incredible amount of ups and downs — he had to become an adult long before the rest of us. Through all of that, the Cubs have been a constant. For a long time, they were the only steady thing in his life.
Dieter? He stayed outside the park breathing in the atmosphere. He obviously could hear the crowd inside cheering as the Cubs held on to stave off elimination in the World Series.
Then, he says, he cried for his friend’s happiness.