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Chicago - The Northside

Holy Cow, are we bull$%/& lucky or what

Today looked like it was going to be a disaster. The forecast called for a thunderstorm right about when the ballgame was scheduled to start. I was going to spend the day with Scott and his family, but his daughter Aven was feeling under the weather. So instead, I decided to join the boys for a drive through downtown Chicago. We left the hotel and took North Avenue all the way in, it was over 25 miles. It didn't take long before the thunder rolled and lightning flashed in front of us. The rain quickly followed and we were certain that a rain delay was in our future.

Undaunted, we continued our drive down North Avenue. It had four distinct sectors that we passed through on our way downtown. The area near our hotel (not far from O'Hare) was a typical suburban area with a mixture of small houses and larger ones. Next came an area that was predominantly African-American. (Please note, I am just writing what we observed). We were amazed with the number of barber shops and beauty salons in this sector. At one point, there were three of them in a row. They averaged every two storefronts. Wayne considered getting an African braid done to his hair, but we talked him out of it. Then all of the signage switched to Spanish as we passed a bunch of storefront churches and Mexican restaurants. As we got closer to downtown, the street started to get a trendy feel. Starbucks and fitness clubs started to pop up.Then we passed a brand new Apple Store and a Crate and Barrel.

As we got closer to the lake, we passed plenty of pouting people who had planned to spend their day watching the air show. It looked very unlikely that they would get to see anything. We drove along the lakeshore area, but the weather ruined any view that might of been. It would have been great to get out of the car and spend a few hours wandering the Navy Pier and/or Grant Park, but nobody wanted to leave the safety of the vehicle. Instead I pointed out some of the sights that my wife and I enjoyed during a visit to Chicago pre-marriage.

We made our way to Wrigley Field, preparing for the worst. First off, we found a little parking lot that would give us EZ access out, in case we decided that it was time to hit the road, instead of sitting through a lengthy rain delay. It cost $35 to park, which was a deal compared to other lots. One place we stopped offered us EZ out for $45 and boxed in for $30. If you have never been to Wrigley, you need to understand that it is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood of condos, pubs and restaurants. Parking is at a premium. We suited up in our rain gear and then hit a diner for lunch. While sitting there enjoying handmade milkshakes, the weather turned drastically. Proving that we are bull$&@? lucky, it cleared right up and turned into a perfect day for baseball.

Wrigley Field, simply put, is old (it was built in 1914). Ron was disappointed with the rundown look of the outside of the historic stadium. More disappointment waited for him inside the place. Along with our tickets in Minneapolis, these were our most expensive purchases of the trip. When you go to Wrigley, you are paying to soak in the history and the ambiance, not for the modern-day amenities (they are few and far between, heck the scoreboard dates back to 1937). In Ron and Wayne's case, they were paying for a view of a post. Their seats were directly behind one of the posts that supports the under deck. Thanks Stub Hub!


Scott and I were further back and to the left. A post only obstructed our view of third base. Luckily for the other two, there were two seats further down their row that went unclaimed for the whole game. Ron was not pleased! We also found out that good seats were available outside the stadium for less than face value. For example, someone could have purchased a $100 seat for a mere $20, if they so desired.

The first couple of innings were played with the sound of jets roaring in the background, the air show was finally underway. The St. Louis Cardinals quickly loaded the bases, but Matt Garza got out of it and the Cubbies went on to a 3-0 win. Scott and I managed to miss all the scoring while we were stuck on the concourse in the bowels of the building. Wrigley is known for two main things, it's Ivy-covered outfield walls and the fact that celebrities lead the crowd in the singing of "Take me out to the Ballgame!" Even that was a disappointment, our celebrity was James Denton of Desperate Housewives fame. He was no Will Ferrell, but at least he could sing.

Click for our rendition of the song... (Don`t ask who the fifth person its)

No matter what we paid for our seats, it was at least half the price that people pay to sit on the rooftops across Sheffield Avenueor Waveland Avenue. There $150 (approx.) will buy you a bleacher-burned butt and all you-can-eat and drink.
Rooftop Bars

Rooftop Bars

Posted by redrob 04:47 Archived in USA

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Anyone who doesn't like Wrigley Field doesn't like baseball. The best idea to get to the park is to take the El (elevated train). An even better idea is to stop in at a couple of taverns that surround the ballpark to get properly lubricated for the game.
Who cares if you have to pee in a trough or that there's no garlic fries or fish tacos at the concession, when you can look out to the ivy in centrefield and know that 79 years ago Babe Ruth called his shot and took Charlie Root out of the yard right there! There's just not too many places you can get that feeling anymore, including on the south side where if you want to see the patch of grass Shoeless Joe Jackson patrolled sans footwear you have to dig through the asphalt in U.S. Cellular field's parking lot. Sigh.

by rmtaylor12

Ron's disappointment was two-fold. One, being sold a seat behind a post. We checked "the view from this" option and the post was not there. Two, he had recently been to historic Fenway and at least the outside and concourse look modern and appealing, while the park itself maintains its history.

by redrob

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