10/03/2003 6:13 PM ET
Wrigley forecast: Cold and loud
CHICAGO -- A frigid rain wasn't the only thing filling the air here Friday afternoon. Along with the cold wet weather, Cub fever has gripped this city and will reach a fever pitch tonight when Atlanta's Greg Maddux meets Chicago's Mark Prior in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field.
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
The two teams did not take batting practice because of the conditions, including a drizzling rain that slowed late in the afternoon and temperatures in the mid 40s. But the football conditions didn't stop Cub fans from starting the party early. Hundreds of fans were already holding impromptu pep rallies at restaurants and bars, and four hours before game time a wedding was being held just outside Wrigley Field at the corner of Clark and Addison streets. Cub fans united in front of their shrine.
It should be quite a reception.
It's probably going to be the loudest crowd I've ever been around, and it was pretty loud the other night at Atlanta," Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles said. "These Cub fans are pretty hungry. I'm looking forward to it."
So are the more than 40,000 fortunate who have tickets to tonight's game. It's been a sellout since shortly after the tickets went on sale.
"Atlanta was 15,000 wild Cub fans, and, here, it's going to be 40 (thousand)," Chicago manager Dusty Baker said.
"I think (it will be) the same as Atlanta, really vocal and loud, I think it should be fun," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "It was fun downtown, the people, the city, everywhere downtown they were talking about it. The people here have waited a while for this."
With the wind blowing in off the lake the evening is expected to favor the pitchers, not that Maddux and Prior needed any help from Mother Nature.
"Our team is pretty prepared to play in these conditions, we've played in these conditions most of the year," Baker said. "I don't know if it will be an advantage for us but I like to think it will."
Cox said the conditions would be "difficult for both sides I think."
The two teams split the first two games of the best-of-five series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. CT.
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.