I’ve been playing a new fun game this fall, that I’ve decided to name the “~8 Second Game”. For those who don’t know, I’m currently living about a block north of Wrigley Field which means I get the pleasure of hearing sounds from the Cubs home games. Usually it’s not a big deal since I’m either 1) sleeping with a giant fan on that drowns out the vast majority of the noise, or 2) watching some other sports event (usually the Brewers during the summer) and I don’t notice any of the sound from down the street.
But with the Cubs in the playoffs, I’ve watching the games on tv in combo with them being played in real life a block south of me. And because of the tape delay, I’m experiencing some 8 second delay between the actual play and it being shown on tv. And thus began the ~8 Second Game.
I first found out how fun this game is In the divisional series, when the Cubs played the Cardinals. The Wrigley semi-faithful made this sharp yell that grew into a roar, and then tailed off into a semi-groan. After a second of thought, I correctly guessed it was a pop up that the Cubs caught in foul territory, but with a few players banging into each other. An odd guess that was amazingly proven to be true.
Some of the plays are pretty easy to guess from the crowd noise. A roar followed by some music 100% means the opposing player at bat got out. A roar followed by sustained cheering means strike two on the other team, and the crowed amped up for a possible strike out.
But the other plays, the ones with different levels of cheering. Those are the interesting ones.
The top of the 6th inning in game 3 of the NLCS had Cespedes reaching third on a stolen base. With two strikes on the Met’s hitter, I heard a giant roar that almost certainly indicated the third strike. But just as quickly, and in an impressively linear fashion, the sound went silent. I admit that I didn’t win this round of the game. Turns out the Cubs catcher had dropped strike three allowing the batter to reach first and Cespedes to score the go ahead run from third.
Then the next Mets player, Wilmer Flores, ripped a ball to right that got past Cubs right fielder and made it all the way to the ivy. When Dexter Fowler got over to the ivy, his hands went up indicating a ground ruled double. According the rules, this meant that instead of scoring a run like he almost certainly would have, the runners would be on second and third. I wasn’t able to guess this since the crowd wasn’t exactly cheering for the Mets there.
Right after that, there were a few roars when the Mets manager was arguing with the umpire about how the runner on third would have certainly scored if it was a normal wall, but neither of the roars from the crowd were loud enough to mean that the manager was tossed.
Top of the next inning when a little bump in noise indicating a hit turned dead silent when Schwarber dropped Cespedes’ hit. Run scored, leaving men on second and third. Next play was partially drowned out from a passing red line train, but I could hear enough of the groan to know a run scored, though I couldn’t tell it was combined with an out at first.
Final time I played the ~8 Second Game tonight was with the first batter in the bottom of the 7th. A loud roar followed by quick silence I diagnosed as warning track fly ball. About 8 seconds later, Jorge Soler flew out to the warning track in right.
I say that was the rest of the plays I could figure out from the noise because the score was now 5-2, and the impending loss was starting to become a reality for the Cubs fans. And when you know your team is going to lose, it’s tough to make enough noise to travel the distance of a Chicago city block.
With the Cubs down three games to none, tomorrow’s game 4 might be the last time this season I get to play the ~8 Second Game. So I better enjoy it while I can.