Like other Chicago Cubs season ticket holders, Brandon Yopp was thrilled to finally see a World Series game at Wrigley Field last weekend. In fact, he saw two – Game 3 on Friday night and Game 5 on Sunday.
Then he flew more than 600 miles home to Raleigh.
Yopp, the director of communications and marketing at Campbell University Law School, has had Cubs season tickets since 2013. He says the World Series, which will end Wednesday night in Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians, has been “unbelievable.”
“It’s been fantastic,” he said Wednesday. “Even if the Cubs got blown out tonight, they’ve still had an amazing season.”
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Yopp, 33, said the Cubs have been his favorite team since his freshman year of college at N.C. State University. He said he visited Chicago as a freshman and fell in love with the city, the team and historic Wrigley Field.
Laughing, he added that he doesn’t consider himself a “bandwagon jumper” because the year he became a fan, 2001, the Cubs lost 74 games.
Yopp wasn’t deterred by the losses. He said the next year – when the Cubs lost 95 games – he came across a link on the Cubs’ website where you could sign up to get on the waiting list for season tickets. Thinking he would likely never get off the wait list, he remembered saying, “Why not?”
More than 10 years later, in January 2013, he got a call from a ticket representative.
“He said, ‘Hey, we pulled your number,’ ” Yopp said. “And I said, ‘OK, I wasn’t planning on this.’ ”
After learning that his name would be placed at the bottom of the wait list if he passed on the tickets – and that there were “something like 89,000 or 129,000 names ahead of me” – Yopp went home to talk to his wife, Amber.
“My wife is really the star of this story,” Yopp said. “She knew how important this was to me and what a cool opportunity it was. Fortunately for me, she was completely on board.”
He decided to purchase one season ticket for a bleacher seat. He typically uses it on opening day, a couple of other series during the year and the playoffs, if there are any. This year, with the Cubs playing so well that it looked like it would go deep into the playoffs, he went to fewer regular season games to save money and his vacation time.
Yopp resells the tickets he doesn’t use. The first two years, he lost money, he says, and about broke even last year. This season, with the Cubs winning 103 games, he made enough on the resales to pay for his travel to Chicago.
When he’s not able to able to make games in person, Yopp is still a dedicated fan at home.
“Out of 162 regular games a year, I probably watch either all or a significant portion of at least 130 games,” he said. “I’m watching a lot of baseball. It is amazing that my wife has put up with this.”
He added that after Wednesday night, he has promised Amber that she will have “full control of the TV remote.”
For his bachelor party, he went to Chicago with his brother and dad and watched the Cubs play for three days. He even watched a game from his honeymoon in Jamaica.
“I’ve watched a lot of bad baseball for a lot of years,” he said. “They lost 101 games in 2012. The way the franchise has turned around in a relatively short amount of time is just mind-blowing.”
He said he plans to watch Game 7 on his couch with his wife, and that he’ll put his phone on airplane mode.
“Or else I’ll get too many text messages,” he said. “I have to stay focused.”
Rachel Chason: 919-829-4629