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Fans in right-field corner in Maddon's heart

Cubs manager appreciates those sitting in less-than-ideal seats

CHICAGO -- The first thing you see from aisle seats 101 and 102 is a steel pole with a TV at the top of it. It blocks first base and part of the pitcher's mound, and in order to get a better angle, you have to crane your neck to the right.

The second thing you see from the seats in aisle 240, row 31 is another pole and the overhang it helps support. You lose track of fly balls as you look up and see the overhang from the seats. And in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Mets, which the Cubs lost, 5-2, there were bound to be baseballs launched.

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But the third thing you can see from the right-field side of Wrigley Field is the entrance to the Cubs dugout along the third-base line. That's the same spot Cubs manager Joe Maddon walks to before every game and looks up to seats 101 and 102.

"Whoever sits in that last seat up in that corner I'm impressed every night, because the view cannot be the best," Maddon said. "The overhang has got to get in the way. There's got to be all these obstacles, but you still want to be there.

"So that's just a part of the allure of this ballpark. You'll even take that seat to be at Wrigley to watch a Major League Baseball game and a postseason game. Whoever that fan is, I always appreciate that fan every night that I look up there and see that that seat is filled."

Those fans are a pair of sisters from Orland Park -- Yvonne and Liz Avina. They got playoff tickets in "the Cubs lottery" and Yvonne Avina "just got the first ones we could." But she was online at 11 p.m. waiting for the tickets to go live at midnight.

The Avinas had come out for the National League Division Series, and they didn't want to miss the opportunity to see even more history being made.

"Our grandpa passed away at 100 years old and he was a diehard Cubs fan his entire life," Yvonne Avina said. "He never got to see a World Series, but we get to come out thinking of him."

When they first showed up, they went to the wrong seats, only to find out they had to go "all the way up" to their seats in the corner. They admitted the seats weren't bad; after all, they could still see the batter's box without obstruction.

The sisters showed up nearly 45 minutes before the first pitch, but Cindy Blaire and her husband came when the gates opened to claim their spots in the standing-room area behind seats 101 and 102. They didn't mind the spots, so long as they had a chance to watch.

No one in the section was aware how Maddon felt about their seats, but they were watching when he came out of the dugout to see where he looked -- even if they had to crane their necks for a better view.

"That's very special he thinks that," Yvonne Avina said. "You think these are bad seats, but it's awesome knowing he cares about you. It's definitely worth it to be here.

"I'm just glad I have a seat."

Greg Garno is an associate reporter for
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