For the last 15 years, fans listening to Cubs baseball on the radio have been fortunate enough to find Pat Hughes chatting his way through some difficult moments, finding relevancy in many a wasted season and making every meaningless solo home run sound like a World Series winner. But just like the thousands of fans who have been vacating the stands at Wrigley this season, the WGN Chicago flagship station itself just stopped listening during Tuesday night’s Cubs-Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field, and Hughes was left up to his own devices during a long, violent, stormy rain delay.
“I tried to throw it back and nobody was there,” said Hughes. “So I started out killing some time by describing the raindrops and how wet the field was and what fantastic grounds crews we have here in Chicago, on both sides of town, and how their speed would eventually allow some ball to be played, were we not blown into beautiful Lake Michigan. It was more exciting than several of this season’s games.”
Hughes was running out of material by hour three, even with impending doom roaring across the darkened sky. But both the intrepid announcer and a few fans who had been listening to the broadcast stuck it out.
“He was describing the temperature of his coffee and how lucky he was to have a beverage that kept him warm in such high, dangerous winds,” said fan Garrett Mahoney. “And then he joked that they would have left if Keith Moreland wasn’t too cheap to split cab fare to a nearby fallout shelter. And then someone hit the cough button for about 30 seconds, but I’m pretty sure I still heard screaming.”
“It was like an infomercial,” added Tim Dutton, another Cub fan. “You’re just sticking around wondering how they summon the energy to describe the same ridiculous thing a fourth and fifth time. Rain or shine, that’s what we seem to get.
“But Pat Hughes is no joke — that’s just a miracle.”
By Dan Bradley