You’ve likely seen it by now on SportsCenter, your local news or on your favorite sports blogs: the infamous minor league fight between the Cubs single A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs and the Cincinnati Reds’ affiliate, the Dayton Dragons. The video is being forwarded to millions of inboxes every day. These same Chiefs take on the Kane County Cougars at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night at 7:05 PM. Tickets to the Cougars-Chiefs contest at the Friendly Confines start at just $5; so here’s a chance to see the baseball cathedral on the cheap. The Chiefs are currently managed by Ryne Sandberg, an iconic figure for a whole generation of Chicago Cubs fans. The 2005 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee is considered to be one of the greatest second baseman in history. Sandberg had no part in this infamous brawl though because he was away in Cooperstown for the annual Hall of Fame weekend ceremonies. Sandberg’s fill-in, as well as the Dragons’ manager, were both ejected.
I caught up to Sandberg right before his Chiefs visited the Chicago area to start a three game set with the Cougars earlier this month. I asked him about all the fans that swoon around him at every minor league game. “I sign autos for about 20-30 minutes every single day whether we’re at home or on the road. Since its Opening Day last year the routine hasn’t stopped. I hear all the stories about grandparents and great-grandparents. Everyone’s a fan of mine and the Cubs; so I see all the pictures of me posing with these kids when they were three or four years old and now they’re in the 20s and 30s standing there in line for autographs. It takes me back, looking at the old stuff, seeing what these people collected and bring out of the closet. Some days I’m amazed; other days it’s the same stories repeated, it’s all good stuff,” Sandberg said.
I’ll be at Wrigley on Tuesday night attending Sandberg’s pre and post-game press conferences. Before I find my place in the press box, I’m going to be a guest on the MILB Radio podcast, which will be broadcasting live from the Cubby Bear. If you’re going to the game or going to be in Wrigleyville, please come by and check out all the baseball-related fun!