Celebratory day for Cubs' legend Ryne Sandberg ends with a dud game

New York Mets v Chicago Cubs
New York Mets v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

39,000+ spectators at Wrigley Field rose to their feet Sunday night when Hall of Famer and Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg came out to throw the first pitch. Just three hours earlier, the Cubs unveiled a statue of Sandberg's likeness at Gallagher Way to honor the man who helped bring the team back to relevancy in the mid-80s. Special guests spoke at the unveiling ceremony, including broadcaster Bob Costas and former Cubs Shawon Dunston and Larry Bowa. This is in addition to Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and Marquee Network's Cole Wright.

The day was filled with celebration and emotion, especially considering Sandberg's recent battle with cancer. Cannot fail to mention Sandberg's big day came on the 40th anniversary of "The Sandberg Game" in 1984 against the Cardinals. The hope among fans was that the good vibes could help bring a Cubs win over the Mets and secure a winning homestand. Much like this season as a whole, the results were very disappointing.

Instead of a Cubs win, the day ended in an overall uninspiring 5-2 loss. Cubs batters struck out 14 times and once again could not get a clutch hit in several big spots in the middle and later innings. Javier Assad was not particularly sharp and was honestly lucky to only be tagged for four runs. Shout out to Pete Crow-Armstrong's defense as the bright spot, but that's about it.

What was really disappointing was how badly the fans at Wrigley Field wanted their team to win that game for Ryno. Obviously, the crowd is always into it at Wrigley, but there was a bit more of a "big game" feel to this one. It was on national TV too. When the Cubs got a few guys on, or even had a hitter with a full count where a baserunner could get things going, the fans stood and cheered like you'd see in a postseason game. Chants of "Let's go Cubbies!" rang around the park all night long. Every bit of momentum and potential turning point with the crowd on its feet ended with a quiet thud, including Cody Bellinger's 12-pitch at-bat that ended with a strikeout with two on. Even down by three in the ninth innings the fans stayed optimistic and into it until the final out. There was an extra buzz when Mets reliever Edwin Díaz was ejected from the game due to having an illegal substance on his hand.

Of course, we know the Cubs were not trying to spoil anything, but it was just too bad to see how the game played out. It felt so much like this season, starting with some feelings of hope and excitement only to see those glimmers fizzle out. Even looking back to Saturday when the Cubs had their largest margin of victory since the opening weeks of the season, the hope was there that maybe they could get something going, and then the glimpse of momentum was followed up with Sunday's dud. That has been a common theme all year.

Nothing will truly take away the special day Sandberg had. It will always be a great memory for him, his family, the organization, and Cubs fans everywhere. People will look back at that statue unveiling with much happiness and joy. Years from now this game will likely be forgotten by most. As mentioned before, it's just too bad the game went the way it did, and it's particularly frustrating with how this team has played this season. It felt par for the course which is unfortunate to say.

Regardless, a big congrats to Ryne Sandberg and everything he has accomplished. He deserved all the love and support he got and will continue to get.