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Vegas Diary: Cubs fans raising stakes in Arizona

By Norm Clarke
VSiN Columnist

March 19, 2017 02:55 PM
kris_bryant
Cubs fans are springing to life in Arizona to watch Kris Bryant and the World Series champions. @USA Today Sports Images

Cubs Nation is out of hibernation and in full roar this spring.

Chicago Cubs fans are showing up at Arizona’s Cactus League in record numbers and still reveling in the glow of ending the longest World Series drought in Major League Baseball history.

I saw evidence of the Cubs’ proud reign at every turn after attending nine games in seven days over the past week.

At 6-foot-7, Tom Wolfsmith, 21, stood out in the sea of blue, proudly wearing his Kris Bryant jersey at a sold-out Cubs game last week. Nearly five months ago, on Nov. 2, Wolfsmith and his roommate at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb anxiously settled into their off-campus apartment to watch Game 7 of the World Series.

“We played ‘Go Cubs Go!’ for four hours,” he said, referring to the team theme song.

After coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to force Game 7, the Cubs rallied from a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the eighth to defeat the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Wolfsmith did what countless other sons and daughters did after the heart-stopping classic.

“I called my dad after the game. He was crying. I was crying. I knew how much it meant to him. He’s seven-foot and a big teddy bear,” said Wolfsmith.

Bryant and Anthony Rizzo jerseys are flying off the racks at the merchandise shops at Sloan Park, the largest spring training park by capacity (15,000) in MLB.

Cubs fans are sporting fresh tattoos, naming their children after the stars who ended the 108-year curse and waiting in long lines for a photograph with the World Series trophy. The Cubs finally rewarded a fan base that remained loyal through so many disappointments.

Wolfsmith sees a bright future from the Cubs’ young talent-rich roster. And Bryant, he said, “could be one of the greatest Cubs of all.”

The scene and heard
Los Angeles-based CBS reporter Lee Cowan featured the Neon Museum on his “CBS Sunday” report. “There are few cities as infinitely bright as Las Vegas,” he said, while exploring the graveyard of iconic Las Vegas signs…

Rumors are flying that former Findlay Prep standout Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian are engaged. She’s been recently photographed flashing a humongous diamond ring. He was a star forward on Findlay’s two national championships before before signing with Texas, where he starred for the Longhorns in the 2010-2011 season. He was the Cleveland Cavs’ fourth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft…

Planet Hollywood headliner Britney Spears will reportedly perform in Tel Aviv this July during a stop in her concert tour in Asia. The show’s producer told Haaretz.com that the announcement could come as early as this week. It would be her first performance in Israel.

Sightings 
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spotted at McCarran International Airport on Saturday… Supermodel Shanina Shaik, in town for the 21st birthday party of Colorado-raised model Taylor Hill, a Victoria’s Secret Angel and the face of Lancome since last year. Shaik has been engaged to DJ Ruckus since January 2016. He’s been a DJ at several Las Vegas clubs in recent years, including Hakkasan (MGM Grand) and Marquee (Cosmopolitan).

On this day…
March 19, 1932: The Apache Hotel, which features the first elevator in Las Vegas, opens with the biggest party the town has ever seen. The 56-room hotel, which includes a nightclub and casino, becomes the swankiest place in town before eventually transforming into Benny Binion’s Horseshoe.

The punch line
“I read that Americans could spend over $5 billion for St. Patrick’s Day this year. Yeah, that’s JUST on bail money.” – Talk-show host James Corden.

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