09/30/2003 8:56 PM ET
Cubs caravan cruises into Atlanta
Chicago fans make trip to root on Cubs in NLDS
ATLANTA -- The Yaeger family drove 14 hours in a car with three children under the age of 9 to get to Atlanta on Tuesday to watch the Chicago Cubs take on the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS.
Now that's dedication.
Sheila Yaeger wins the Wife of the Year award for humoring her husband, John Yaeger, and making the road trip with him and his cousin, Matt Yaeger.
The two men were at Wrigley Field on Saturday as the Cubs clinched the NL Central Division with a doublheader sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. So it seemed like a great idea to road trip south for Games 1 and 2.
So Sheila Yager went online, saw tickets were available and purchased them.
They brought along the Yeager's three children: 8-year-old Jason, 5-year-old Justin and 4-month-old Amanda. Jason, who said his favorite player was Sammy Sosa or Mark Prior, but was wearing a Kerry Wood jersey, was just happy he didn't have to share the backseat with his brother the whole time.
Matt Yaeger, along with the thousands of Cubs fans pouring into Turner Field before Tuesday's game, said he had to be there to cheer his team on.
"I knew if we got into the playoffs, anything was possible," he said.
While the Cubs fans were loud, the Braves fans turned it up a notch before the first pitch. All ticket-holders were issued foam tomahawks on their way in and they put them to good use with their familiar chant as the teams readied for action. "Let's Go Cubs" chants could be heard, although not by much over the fired-up Braves fans.
But Kenny Lofton's single to lead off the first inning prompted a cheer worthy of Wrigley Field from the Cubs fans on hand.
Cubs fans, used to arriving early to get a good bleacher seat at Wrigley, got to Turner Field in plenty of time as well. Three hours before game time, a line snaked its way toward the gate and it was mostly Cubs fans -- hootin' and hollerin' and high-fiving each other.
Drew Sandberg, a 10-year-old native of Chicago who moved to Atlanta last year, was decked out in his Cubs finest. His friend Tripp Miller, however, was whacking him with a Tomahawk before the game.
Sandberg said he planned to root for the Cubs, Miller for the Braves. Miller's dad, Ken, said they would be all right with any outcome.
"If the Cubs win, we'll be happy because we like the Cubs," Ken Miller said. "But we got to a lot of Braves games."
Mike Mumper, on the other hand, does not attend a lot of Braves games. He does, however, attend a lot of Cubs games in Chicago. The Lincoln Park resident said he was monitoring the airfares and ticket prices for a week before the Cubs clinched the division.
"And then when they won, I bought some tickets on eBay," he said.
Mumper dragged his two buddies along -- they needed less than a little arm-twisting -- and the threesome took in the sights while consuming a few beers after coming into the stadium and stopping in the Plaza, an open area with shops and restaurants directly behind the center field batter's eye and scoreboard.
"And we have tickets for the games at Wrigley, too," Mumper said proudly.
Amy Sternig is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Amy Sternig / MLB.com