10/02/08 9:56 PM ET
Cubs counting on Wrigley crowd
Players feed off fans' excitement, passion for ballclub
By Nick Zaccardi / MLB.com
"I thought it was a corporate crowd last night for the playoffs," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said before Thursday's NLDS Game 2. "It was a 5:30 [p.m. CT] game, too. I think today they'll be out on the street a little longer, and it might be a little louder."
How silent was Wednesday?
"You could have heard a pin drop when [Dodgers first baseman] James Loney hit the grand slam [in the fifth inning]," Cubs second baseman Mark DeRosa said. "I was the same way when it happened."
If the Dodgers win two out of the next three, Thursday could be the final Wrigley Field game of the season. Cubs fans, known for being forlorn, may just want to forget Game 1.
"I'm a diehard Cub fan, and it doesn't matter what happened last night," said Jeff Sexton, 23, of Kenosha, Wis. "It was a little bit of bad pitching, that's all -- no big deal. It's not going to make me abandon the team. There is no Billy Goat [curse] this year."
Wrigley housed its latest scheduled start of the year on Thursday at 8:37 p.m. The public address system played the theme music from "Rocky," which upped the decibel level considerably for the first pitch.
Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Special measures were put into effect, such as no alcohol after the seventh inning (usually the cutoff is after the seventh or 9:20 p.m., whichever comes first). Also, there's no organ music after 10 p.m. due to local noise ordinances.
The capacity crowd will have to get loud to make up for the difference.
"Our fans have been great," DeRosa said. "They've been true to us to a fault sometimes. So I've got no complaints with them."
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.