Fans catch Waveland Avenue party

10/8/2003 - Chicago Cubs

CHICAGO -- There were plenty of Chicago Cubs fans outside Wrigley Field for the first game of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins.

Home runs by Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa disappeared into the
large boisterous crowd on Waveland Avenue beyond left field, but
the Cubs fell short, 9-8 in 11 innings Tuesday night. Game 2 of the
best-of-seven series is Wednesday night.

Sosa's two-out, two-run homer that tied it 8-all in the ninth
was his first postseason homer.

About 500 people gathered on the streets around Wrigley,
including vendors, a juggler, fans in colorful wigs and a man who
hooked a Marlins logo on his fishing pole.

Like the fans inside Wrigley Field, the fans outside were decked
out in Cubs' gear and carried signs to proclaim their allegiance to
the team that hasn't won a World Series since 1908 and hasn't been
to one since 1945.

Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers, a popular figure among
Cubs fans known for his shrill cheers, walked outside Wrigley,
high-fiving people and wearing his Cubs uniform with a red, white
and blue cross around his neck.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," the 61-year-old
Wickers said. "It's just like I'm halfway to heaven. I told people
back in spring training they're going to the World Series."

And Dennis Holmes was the big winner early, emerging from a
large scramble of fans with Alou's first-inning home run ball.

"All of us are gonna play with this ball," he said, crying and
hugging a friend.

Jacob Peterson, 18, sported a red wig, a Cubs
T-shirt and a sign that read: "Today's Special: Grilled Marlins."

"There's no other place that I'd rather be besides heaven -- no
wait, this is heaven," Peterson said.

His friend, 18-year-old Victor Ireland appreciated
the significance of the moment, given the Cubs' history when it
comes to the World Series.

"Because it's the Cubs, it's probably the only time in my life
I'll be able to see it," he said.

Not able to get seats inside, Ireland was just as happy outside.

"I'm out here in the party," he said.