The Baseball Road Trip is Over

Alright fearless readers, this blog is back to having two authors. After today’s 7-4 Cardinals victory over the Pirates, I headed back to Columbia to lead the life of a normal human again. We met many interesting people and saw many interesting things all while sampling the finest in ballpark delicacies. I’m going to break my report up by city. I already did the Sox games because I had some brief internet access, so up next will be our trek through Wrigleyville.

The first game we saw was a day game, so we didn’t have much time to walk around Wrigley before the game. (I’m a late riser.) We took the train to the stadium and joined the swath of people headed into the famed Wrigley Field. I’d never been there before, so I didn’t know anything about how things worked. We didn’t know that the bleachers were unassigned, so all the Bleacher Bums showed up when the gates opened to get good seats. This left Dad and I without much to do during batting practice, so we scouted the food and checked out the stadium. We eventually settled on some bratwursts and settled in to our seats (not pictured at right) to watch the game. While we may not have been directly behind home plate, we were directly behind the Cubs’ dugout, giving us beautiful views of both Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez‘s homers. Ryan Dempster pitched well, Kerry Wood got the save, Fergie Jenkins sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, and the Cubs won 3-1. Then they played that annoying song about the Cubs winning; I’m not real sure where it came from, but it got everyone awfully excited.

A side note about Wrigley: It’s known as the Friendly Confines, but I found that this is completely misleading. The ushers there look harmless since they’re all about 80 years old, but they’re pretty mean when it comes down to it. They don’t like answering questions and they really don’t like when you don’t take their advice. An example: My Dad and I have started collecting samples of the warning track from each of the stadiums we’ve visited. Normally, security guards will look at you funny and leave you alone or in some cases, help you if necessary. We have never encountered a problem when doing this…until Wrigley Field. We made our way down to the front row, where a security guard told us we didn’t have tickets so we had to leave. Dad says we just want to get a little dirt and we’ll be off. He looks at Dad and says, “Take the warning track and it’s a felony. We will arrest you.” Naturally, we were taken aback by this. We left empty handed and quite confused. It turns out that they were selling bottles of Wrigley dirt outside for $5. So, whenever someone calls it the Friendly Confines, know that he or she is lying.

After we left, we headed to Harry Caray’s to have a beer or two and meet some of the local Chicagoans. We ended up meeting a guy who had some great stories about his run-ins with Sox GM Kenny Williams and his trip to the Super Bowl. He claimed he was one of about 20 people who were season ticket holders in the bleachers. I don’t know if this is real accurate, but it made for good conversation.

After Harry Caray’s, we walked a full circle around the stadium in search of the best and/or cheapest food. We came across the cheapest first since some bar was serving two dollar burgers, fries, and beer so we stayed there for most of the afternoon. We met some more Cubs fans, who were very cordial to us, especially after we told them about our trip. One of the main questions I asked the Chicago natives was, “Why are you a Sox/Cubs fan?” and the most common answer I got back was, “Because my Nana was.” I found that interesting. The second most popular answer was, “So I didn’t have to be a Sox fan.”

The second game was just as eventful. If you look carefully in the first picture, you will notice that most people have on shorts. Kosuke Fukudome’s bobble head night was not that nice. The game time wind chill was 35 degrees. I went from buying ice cream to hot chocolate overnight. We signed up for MasterCards so we could get the free blankets that came along with it. Now I have a Cubs blanket that I don’t know what to do with, but it was certainly nice to have at the time. The Cubs won 3-1 again, so we got to hear that silly song which stayed stuck in my head for 2 days. I don’t remember a whole lot else because I was frozen, but both games were a good time.

I will leave you with a quick story from batting practice during the second game. We were standing on the first base side, when a ball got lined directly at us. I didn’t have to move and had my glove, so I was ready to catch it. At the last second, a guy who had run from the middle of the aisle flung his blanket in front of my glove. The ball hit his blanket and then stuck in my glove. He pulled the blanket out and and with it came the ball. I stood in disbelief for a second and then realized that I’d been worked over by a professional. So I tip my hat to that guy, it was a very impressive stunt.

Milwaukee tomorrow…

3 Responses

  1. Chicago sounds like an interesting baseball town with two teams from there. I am not so sure I would have been as kind to the blanket thief. My hat is off to YOU for letting him go. Kuddo’s

  2. […] way over to the Miller Brewery for free beer.  Unfortunately, the 35 degree weather at Wrigley the night before had given me “flu like symptoms,” as they would be called in the NBA.  I felt awful, […]

  3. […] stadiums sand took in the local sights and more importantly, the local food establishments wherever we went. Until I got sick in Milwaukee, […]

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