Airplane! alert: “The fog is getting thicker” at Wrigley Field


"The fog is getting thicker" as Anthony Rizzo stands at second base.
Anthony Rizzo stands alone at second as the fog rolls in at Wrigley Field last night.

I love the movie Airplane!  It was so full of stupid, corny jokes that it’s my go-to movie when I need a laugh. It gave us the comedic genius of Leslie Nielsen, the sight of Barbara Billingsley speaking jive, and it forever turned Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into a pilot named Roger Murdock.

One of my favorite scenes is when one of the air traffic controllers announces “The fog is getting thicker!” And from out of nowhere, the scene-stealing character of Johnny (played by the late Stephen Stucker) literally bounds into the scene. He finishes the sentence by adding “And Leon’s getting laaaaaaarger!” and then bounds off, just as dramatically as he had entered. It’s so random and nonsensical that it always cracks me up.

I thought about Leon and the fog as the Chicago Cubs played the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field last night. A heavy fog came in, and the game seemed as if it was played in a creepy, ominous mist. And baseball is sort of in a gray area (no pun intended) when it comes to this sort of thing. It doesn’t make the base paths and the infield sloppy, and it doesn’t make the ball any harder for the pitcher to grip and throw. It won’t clear up, like a rain shower would, and there’s no way to make the fog go away, either. All that can be done, really, is to play through it.

So, it felt as if Stephen King had scripted a baseball game last night. It didn’t prevent Scott Feldman from serving up a grand slam to Brandon Phillips, though. Fifteen hits were tallied, and eight runs crossed the plate, so the fog did not curtail the offense too much. But it made for an interesting game and, more importantly, gave me a chance to dust off “the fog is getting thicker” Airplane! reference. I can’t ask for anything more than that.

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