Wrigley Field’s sellout crowd were all standing on Wednesday night but were staring more at the scoreboard than the field.
The reason was the fans wanted to see the reading from the radar gun following each ninth inning pitch made by Chicago’s new closer Aroldis Chapman.
He did not disappoint. He began with a 101 mph fastball, followed by one of 102 mph then ended the Cubs win with a fastball clocked at 103 mph.
The Cubs won 8-1 and their fans now have another way to watch baseball games – staring at the outfield scoreboard.
Chapman threw 12 pitches that were clocked at 100 mph or faster for his debut with the Cubs.
The Wrigley Field fans began cheering when Chapman walked towards the Chicago bullpen during the seventh inning. Those cheers grew louder when he started to warm up.
In the ninth, as he approached the mound, the fans rose to their feet screaming and clapping.
Joe Maddon the Cubs manager called the ninth inning entertaining thanks to the excitement of the crowd. He said he has seen Chapman on the opposing side and it was now nice seeing him on their side.
No signs were seen protesting Chapman due to his domestic violence incident that took place over nine months ago. Chapman himself was the only one who displayed any sign of anger as he became incensed at all the questioning during his press conference Tuesday to introduce him as a new Cubs player.
A number of columnists from Chicago ridiculed the team for acquiring the talented closer.
When he arrived in the clubhouse, he declined at first to talk to any media. He could be seen waving his arms animatedly, shaking his head and his voice could be heard rising. Not until a half an hour later did he reluctantly answer some questions.
Through his interpreter, his catcher Miguel Montero, he said he wanted to move on and put all that behind him.
His performance in his debut, showed why Chicago believed it to be important having him if they wanted to end their drought of 108 years of winning the World Series.
New teammate Jason Heyward called Chapman an unbelievable talent saying that it was not only his fastball of 100 mph and higher, but he now is able to control every pitch he has and has the confidence to throw other pitches.
A good example was the leadoff hitter for the White Sox in the ninth. Jose Abreu saw three straight fastballs from Chapman to fall behind in the count 0-2. Abreu then weakly swung at a slider of 91 mph to strike out.