Nacho Man

Reliving the magic of Nacho Man

Reliving the magic of Nacho Man

There have been so many memorable baseball moments between the Cubs and Cardinals throughout the years. 

In 1958, Stan  Musial collected his 3,000th hit at Wrigley.  

There was the “Sandberg Game” — June of 1984, where Ryne Sandberg hit a pair of home runs off Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter.

Skip ahead to 2008, when Ted Lilly collided with Yadier Molina at home plate during a game at Busch Stadium. Few could forget that.

Just a few years ago, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch in what the Cubs viewed as retaliation, so Joe Maddon dropped the Soprano reference: “We don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff.”

And last season, there was Addison Russell’s run-in with Nacho Man, which is likely to go down as the only collision to bring the two rival fanbases together.

It was something I witnessed firsthand. Sitting next to the Cubs dugout on the third base side in Busch Stadium that night, the play transpired so quickly it was tough to see from my vantage point.  As he often did, Russell broke backward for the foul ball and started sprinting towards the wall in left. I could tell from the crowd reaction that the Cubs shortstop didn’t make the play, but I could see that he was slow to get back to his position. It was about this time that the video board in center field showed the replay of Russell diving into the stands and crashing into a Cardinals fan who had lost his full plate of nachos.

Russell had nacho cheese all over his arm and I heard the dugout yelling, “Get him a towel! Grab a towel!”  As Russell wiped the cheese off his arm, a few of the coaches next to me were collaborating on a way to get some new nachos for the man. Within minutes, a tray of nachos were delivered to Dave Martinez — the Cubs' bench coach at the time — and later passed along to Russell. In between innings, the often-reserved infielder made amends by bringing out another order of nachos and taking a selfie with Nacho Man.

"Normally I don't do that, but being the case of me being nacho'd all over — my cleats even — I was like, 'you know what, why not?'" Russell said after the game. "A once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Within minutes, the video of this exchange went viral. Both myself and Jim Hayes of Fox Sports Midwest set out to get our in-game interview with Andrew Gudermuth, the Nacho Man. Not exactly hard-hitting journalism, but it was entertaining nonetheless and boy did Gudermuth enjoy his 15 minutes of fame.  

“I came to catch a foul ball, but instead I caught a Russell,” he joked.  

Which to be more accurate, Gudermuth’s poor girlfriend actually “caught a Russell.” If you watch the replay, she took the brunt of the hit, but what a good sport!

No doubt, an unforgettable night for all involved, and one that proved that one thing can bring Cubs & Cardinals fans together — nachos!

The telltale signs from Jon Lester that Cubs aren’t at all worried about Nationals yet

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USA TODAY

The telltale signs from Jon Lester that Cubs aren’t at all worried about Nationals yet

WASHINGTON – The franchise that gave Bartman a World Series ring and the team that took a selfie with Nacho Man watched some big dude in a white pinstriped Kris Bryant jersey make a one-handed catch in the first row of the right-field seats.

Whether or not manager Dusty Baker’s mind started racing and flashing back to the 2003 Cubs in that fourth-inning moment, the Washington Nationals had to be wondering: What happened to the rocket-launcher lineup that scored 800-plus runs during the regular season? How much does $210 million ace Max Scherzer have left for an elimination game after feeling a “tweak” in his dominant right hamstring? Why do these teams keep underperforming in October over and over again?

And then just when it looked like the Cubs had all the answers on Saturday night at Nationals Park, Bryce Harper slammed Carl Edwards Jr.’s curveball out to right field and into the second deck. Ryan Zimmerman beat Mike Montgomery by lifting a ball over the left-field fence. That bullpen meltdown in the eighth inning flipped a 3-1 lead into a 6-3 loss, ruining a vintage Jon Lester playoff performance in Game 2 and the latest advertisement for Bryzzo Souvenir Co.

“I’ll take C.J. in that situation 10 out of 10 times,” said Lester, dressed in a gray windowpane suit for the flight back to Chicago, where this National League Division Series now becomes a best-of-three matchup. “If they don’t feel any support in this room, then something’s wrong.

“We all got their backs. Hell, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s a starting pitcher or a bullpen guy or whatever, it doesn’t matter. We’ve all been there. We’ve all given up big hits. We’ve all given up big homers. Turn the page.”

Lester’s body language is always telling and you could see it when he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, screaming and shaking violently after striking out Trea Turner swinging. There were enough concerns about Lester’s overall health and late-season struggles that Kyle Hendricks cut in front of the $155 million ace and got the chance to paint a Game 1 masterpiece.

But Lester looked like a three-time World Series champion, allowing only one run on two hits across six innings, walking just two of the 22 hitters he faced, all good indicators for a team anticipating another long run into October, even if the Nationals suddenly have new life.

“I don’t think anybody in this room expected anything else,” Lester said. “They’re a good team. They’ve played well all year. They got a great pitching staff and their bullpen’s doing a hell of a job.

“We knew it was going to be a battle.”

Lester usually warms up the more he talks at his locker, but you could sense the frustrations with his lack of feel and baffling command issues near the end of the regular season, even after beating the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 25 at Busch Stadium as the Cubs closed in on another division title.  

While Addison Russell played along after diving into the stands and knocking over a fan’s tray of nachos, Lester took those 15 minutes of fame as another sign of the decline of Western civilization and his throwaway comments, of course, went viral.  

Fast forward to Anthony Rizzo crushing a Gio Gonzalez curveball that hit the railing and landed in the right hand of a Cubs fan from Virginia identified as Sean Thompson, who didn’t really need the camera hanging around his neck.

The TBS broadcast went to split screens: Home Run Dude, Rizzo pacing the visiting dugout and the umpires huddled on the field for a review that lasted 2 minutes and 16 seconds. The sellout crowd booed when the replayed confirmed Rizzo’s two-run homer.

Near the end of a Q&A that lasted more than seven minutes, Lester smiled and started laughing when asked to compare the two plays.  

“I need to clarify something about old Nacho Man here,” Lester said. “I wasn’t saying nothing about him personally. I was saying the fact that people were asking for his autograph and taking pictures and him doing interviews…I have no quarrel with Nacho Man.”    

Nacho Man has the craziest night of any fan ever

Nacho Man has the craziest night of any fan ever

It's not often Cubs and Cardinals fans can agree on anything. Monday night, however, the two bonded over the phenom known as Nacho Man. 

The unsuspecting Cards fan had an eventful night -- to put it mildly -- beginning when Addison Russell went flying headfirst into the stands in attempt of a highlight-reel catch

The rest is history as Nacho Man's cheese doused Addy before the two seemingly made up. 

In a CSN Chicago exclusive, which is sure to give Kelly Crull another Emmy Award, Nacho Man said he had a new level of respect for the Cubs. 

"I've been a Cardinals fan all my life," Nacho Man said. "It gave me a little more respect."

Nacho Man's girlfriend, who took the brunt of Russell's tumble, said the shortstop was her new favorite Cub. 

The couple's wild night didn't end there, though. 

As luck would have it, the dude then caught a foul ball and, because Nacho Man is a role model, handed it to a kid. 

This guy is a flippin' sensation. Forget Marlin Man and Foul Ball Guy, Nacho Man FTW. 

Enjoy those 15 minutes of fame, my friend.