It was ’70s Night at Wrigley Field Tuesday, and for some reason, most fans decided to celebrate by wearing clown wigs and random big hats. But on this most special of occasions, what was most obvious during the Cubs 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks is that if you have been umpiring since the ’70s, perhaps it’s time to retire.
The Cubs hit four homeruns during the first five innings, but almost had to settle for one less. With John Mabry on base, Matt Murton sent a ball over the right-center field fence, which deflected off a fan and back into play. Bruce Froemming, a 237-year-old umpire, too large to waddle down the right field foul line and get a good look on the play, decided the easiest thing to do would be to ignore the play all together and continue his day dream about deep dish pizza. Murton and Baker argued, and Froemming finally talked with his fellow officials before giving the home run signal. He then borrowed Baker’s Motorola dugout phone to order him up a pizza pie.
Fans may remember that Monday, Froemming called Juan Pierre out at second when he was clearly safe. And let’s not forget the 1970s, in which Froemming ruined Milt Pappas’ bid for a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning by calling two straight balls on a 2-2 count.
Besides Murton, Aramis Ramirez, Michael Barrett and Jacque Jones hit home runs, and newly acquired Cesar Izturis had two hits and a handful of fine defensive gems. The rest of the game was devoted to hearing ’70s Night guest and former star of the “Brady Bunch,” “Partridge Family” or “Hawaii Five-0” David Cassidy kiss some Cubby Blue butt for a half hour and share odd details about Len Kasper’s sex life. After the game, Cassidy was put back in his personalized Tribune Company vault, which will be opened in time for next season’s ’70s Night.
Oh, and Rich Hill pitched eight strong innings, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out six.
Number of the day: 1
Department of Children & Family Services phone calls expected by the bleacher fan who went after the Ramirez homerun ball while holding a newborn baby.