Flyovers, past and present, plus a few notes from yesterday’s win.
Play was halted for a minute or so on Monday as four F-18 fighter jets flew, separately, over Wrigley Field, presumably in honor of a nation-wide observance of Memorial Day.
“Flew over” is probably a little misleading, because that would suggest the jets were flying at the same general altitude as a normal commercial jet — high, high in the air. Not so much this time. They were low — so low that from the press box, it looked as if they were just feet above the large scoreboard that sits atop the bleachers in center field.
Flyovers are thrilling — the noise, the speed, the patriotism that they represent. But it’s also entertaining when the first one passes over, just to watch how startling it is to the people on the ground. When it happens during a baseball game, the players have no idea it’s coming, and considering how loud these jets are, it can cause reactions and body language normally not seen on a baseball field.
Monday’s flyover brought back a memory of another similar incident that happened when the Astros were here in Chicago 13 years ago. I didn’t remember the details of it, only that Brad Ausmus was batting, and that there was an air show going on in Chicago, and some of those planes ended up above Wrigley Field at a most inopportune time.
The memory stood out to me because Ausmus, as you probably remember, was always Mr. Cool, always in control, never rattled. There were two times that I ever saw him even slightly freaked out. One was when the plane flew over Wrigley during his at-bat. Another was when he read some documentation that argued — pretty convincingly — that the team hotel in Tampa was haunted (the same day the team traveled to Tampa to play the Rays).
I mentioned the former on Twitter, and within five minutes, Astros fan Kash Sarkaria posted a You Tube link on my Facebook page that showed video footage from that game at Wrigley in 1998. Ausmus was batting, or trying to bat, when the Blue Angels popped in for a visit.
Notes from a 12-7 win on a windy, sunny and hot day at Wrigley…
Jeff Keppinger is a career .318 hitter in 61 games against the Cubs. He was 3-for-5 with a double, home run and four RBIs on Monday, to fortify what is the fourth-highest average among active players versus the Cubs. Keppinger has hit safely in his last 10 games at Wrigley, dating back to April of last year. He is 16-for-41 (.390) with five walks, seven runs, a double, a homer and 10 RBIs during that stretch.
Hunter Pence has hit safely in 11 straight games, going 20-for-46 (.435) during his most recent double-digit hitting streak. His solo homer in the fifth inning tied the game at six.
Michael Bourn also had a big day, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored, a stolen base and a triple.
Jordan Lyles will start tonight, and after he throws one pitch he will officially be the first Astros player born in the 1990s to appear in a Major League game. Let’s hope this one starts on time — the weather isn’t looking so great. It’s supposed to storm pretty steadily starting at around 5, with a short one-hour break arriving around 7. After 9, the forecast looks pretty clear.
So while I think we will get this game in, I sense we’re in for a long night at the ballpark.
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