Sunday, July 1, 2007

Chicago






I just returned from a whirlwind 32 hour trip to Chicago for some baseball games. Lots of fun times were had, I saw one big Brewer victory and one disappointing loss, oh, and my body absolutely hates me right now. The trip went like this:

Saturday, June 30 at...

7:01 am. I woke up early. Lots to get done before I boarded the train to Chicago. I felt pretty good about the upcoming games even in spite of the brutal 6-5 loss on Friday after Aramis Ramirez's walk-off dinger against us. If you want to see it, watch this clip. But pay special attention to the post-dinger celebration. The Cubs are obviously very, um, "close"...



(Edit: That youtube video keeps getting taken down so watch it here)

7:22 am. Got ready. I Drank a glass of Ovaltine and walked to the Wallgreens down the street for camera batteries, memory card, Redbull, tagboard and rubber cement. Had a Wallgreens employee making minimum wage look at me like I was completely bonkers.

7:45 am. Made sign. I went with "2007 - THE HUNT FOR NED'S OCTOBER" Get it? Ned refers to Ned Yost, the Brewer's GM, and October is obviously a reference to the playoffs. I'm so fucking clever. Actually I'm not. Some guy on the Brewerfan.net message board is so fucking clever.

9:30 am: Made sure I was properly attired. I went to Grand Avenue Mall and purchased a new Ryan Braun jersey. I wanted to get Matt Wise, but I don't think they make Matt Wise jerseys. The only person with a Matt Wise jersey is Matt Wise. It's kind of too bad, because Wise is a real card. The man missed half a season due to a salad tongs injury. But he's been kicking butt this year. Anyway, I instead settled for the young slugger/Robert-Downy-Jr.-look-a-like.

10:50 am: Boarded train. A former classmate of mine happened to be riding on the same train. So that was nice. But what wasn't nice is that, as far as I could tell, there was no bar aboard the train. I'm new at train travel, but I was expecting a bar. I've been totally misled by Jason Mulgrew.

12:24 pm: Arrived at Union Station. I made a quick call to Matt to tell him to pick me up. While I'm waiting a little kid in a Redsox shirt standing near me looks at my Brewers jersey and says, "Brewers? I like the Redsox." Did I get on the wrong train that somehow took me to Boston in an hour and 34 minutes? "The Redsox are oh-kay kid, but I like the Crew." See ya later kid. At least you're not a Cubs fan.

12:32 pm: Matt arrived in his ridiculously large Toyota truck. Who drives a ridiculously huge Toyota truck in Chicago? Matt does.

[A funny story about Matt's ridiculously large Toyota truck: the tires of the truck have these sensors that monitor the pressure. If one of the tires has lower pressure than the others, a light goes on on the dashboard. The light went on so Matt checked all the tires and the pressure was fine on all of them. He consulted the ol' interweb to see what the problem might be. He was advised to check the spare tire, because it too had a sensor. So Matt checked the spare tire, which was... gone. Stolen. So I guess those sensors and warning lights are good for something.]

So Matt picked me up in his spare-tire-less, ridiculously large Toyota truck. Also present were Pretty Paul and his brother Brian, who would be attending the game with us.

1:15 pm: Pre-gamed. We hit The Cubby Bear for some pre-game drinking. You might think that with a name like "The Cubby Bear," this bar would embrace all things Chicago. But don't be fooled. It's a Packer Bar. My brother joined us for beers, but he had to miss this game. We drank several rounds of over-priced Miller Lites. The Crew was well represented here, which was a good sign. Although the "Biggest Douchebag in the Bar" award would have to go to one of our fans. There was a guy wearing a custom Brewers jersey adorned with the #4 and the name " Favre." I hate to tell you this buddy, but Favre only playes football, the #4 belongs exclusively to a guy named Molitor, and you're a douchebag.

Here's a picture of us at The Cubby Bear:

2:40 pm: Entered the Ballpark. We crossed the street and headed into the stadium.

[By the way, when Miller Park was being built, there was some debate about where it should be located. Some people wanted it to be down town instead of in the middle of nowhere. The pro-middle of nowhere crowd cited "tailgating" as one argument in their favor (parking, cost and some other crap were sited as well). That's a solid argument, but I really really really wish they would have built it down town. I love a good tailgate party, but there's something truly awesome about having a stadium in a neighborhood. There is something even more awesome about walkin 100 yards from a bar to your seat in the park.]

2:50 pm: Found our seats. We were in about the 13th row, on the first base side out in right field. Great seats. Wrigley Field is really a very cool ballpark. It's like going back in time. It's all brick and iron, nothing fancy. I don't even think it has electricity. The scoreboard was a bit charming, but sort of difficult to follow. On this day, it wouldn't matter.


2:51 pm: Got Beer. We ordered a round of... Old Styles? Wha??? Like "Pure brewed in God's country" Old Style? I thought I'd be stuck drinking Anheuser Busch products at this dump, but Old Style would do just fine. Although it's no longer pure brewed in God's Country (LaCrosse, Wisconsin) it is pure brewed in Milwaukee since Miller contract-brews Pabst products these days.


3:00 pm: Got on TV? The Fox Sports camera guy was all over us for like an inning and a half. As far as I know we didn't get on tv though. Did anyone out there see us on tv? Four jerks in Brewer gear on the first base side with a cool sign?



3:15ish: Watched some ball. Nice hit Hart, Nice hit JJ, RBI Double for Ryan Braun! RBI Double for Prince Fielder! Looking good so far. The Crew would bat around the order in the first and score four runs.


4:15ish: Established dominance. The Crew is now up 9 to 2 in the third inning. Everybody is hitting. We had a round of kosher dogs and several more rounds of Old Style. Some girls two rows in the row in front of use invite us to a "singles party." We never made it though.


4:30ish: Ran into a friend. I headed out to find the little cowboy's room and ran into my good friend Kyle! Small world. There really were a ton of Crew fans there! We man-hugged near the concession stand and had a quick chat about how awesome the Brewers are etc. etc.


4:35ish: Took leak. Yeah, the bathrooms here really do just have troughs to piss in. No privacy at all. It really is like going back in time here. It looks kinda like this:




5:15ish: Sang. Seventh inning strech. 41,ooo fans sing "...for it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the ooold baallll gaame!" Four 4 jerks out in right field then sing "Rolllll Outt the barelll, we'll have a barell of funnnn...." It was great. A few Cubs fans threw beer and peanuts at us [I guess they don't like fun] but we were mostly well received.


6:15ish: Picked up the bro. I made a quick stop at the bro's place so I could drop off the sign and pick up the brother.


6:20ish: Drank more beer. We went to a bar called Moe's Cantina. Lots of Brewer fans were out celebrating. Most of us switched to Redbull-based drinks, hit on some ladies etc. My bro took off soon after. He's married and wasn't up for the general debauchery that was ahead for the rest of us.


8:00ish: Ate. Got some grub at Goose Island. I think it sucked, but I could be wrong.


9:15ish: Got bounced. We went back to Moe's Cantina, but this time, they wouldn't let us in... Because we were wearing baseball jerseys. It sounded a little fishy to me since the place wasn't exactly a club and the guys wearing the baby blue Robin Yount jersey and the pinstripe Ryan Braun jersey probably aren't in a gang. But whatever, we were happy to take our business elsewhere.


9:20ish: Got bounced again. Feeling jilted by Moe's, we went next door to John Barleycorn's. And they wouldn't let us in because we were wearing hats. Milwaukee Brewers hats. Now, I know for a fact that John Barleycorn's isn't anything close to a club. What the hell is wrong with this town. It's Wrigleyville for Chrisake, aren't they used to post-baseball game festivities?


10:00ish: Drank. We then went to a bar called Red Ivy where we spent the majority of the evening. Stuff starts to get very blurry at this point so the remaining times are "give or take 3 hours." We started talking to some relatively plain girls from Appleton, WI--Matt's home town. That got old fast so we moved on. Some Asian girls in white dresses started talking to Matt and I. They seemed innocent at first but... Anyway, we moved on and started talking with a group of Brewer fans at the bar, did some shots, danced like idiots (we danced in the polka and square styles. Heh.), hit on girls etc.


2:10ish: Bartime. So we moved on to a bar that's opened past bartime. Why don't we have these in Milwaukee?


2:20ish: Ate bad pizza. Stop for pizza at Pizza Ria, and boy did it suck. Sorry guys, but you can't put ketchup on a cracker and tell me it's pizza no matter how much I've had to drink. We met some young ladies though. However, Matt pissed them off when he dumped crushed red peppers all over their food.


3:00ish: Drank. We arrived at Frank's, a Sinatra-themed bar.


3:10ish: Vomitted. I threw up some black stuff. This was quite odd since I don't remember eating anything black...


4:00ish: Left. Had a spirited debate with Matt about whether we should walk back or get a cab. In the end, we pooled our remaining few dollars and flagged down a cab.


All in all, it was a very fun night.


Sunday, 7/1/07


9:22am: Woke up. I woke up with a painful case of hiccups/heartburn/acid reflux. Apparently I didn't get all of that black stuff out of me the previous evening. It wasn't the typical hangover ailments, this was a whole new animal to me and this animal really really sucked. I pounded some water, had some peanut butter toast and put on SportsCenter. [Now I've never been a big fan of Sportscenter and I rarely watch it. It's times like this that I realize why. What a stupid show. They devoted about 18 pico-seconds to my first place Brewers and like 45 minutes to this garbage team with a sub-500 record called the Yankees. What the hell is that? But to make it worse, they are doing this thing right now called "Who's Now?" They set up this bullshit bracket system to determine "who's now?" Answer: who cares? It works like this: each episode or day or something, that guy with the lazy eye takes two random athletes that the dipshits at SportsCenter embody a nonsense characterization they call "now," or more moronically, "nowness." Like this morning, it was Tiger Woods versus Matt Leinert. Voters are supposed to determine whether the greatest golfer to ever live is more "now" than some mediocre quarterback. So Stu Scott listed the accomplishments of the two. First, Tiger's massive collection of major victories and whatnot. Then he listed Leinert's accomplishments, which included, I shit you not, "rumored to have dated Paris Hilton and Britney Spears." What? I thought this was SPORTScenter? Is "nowness" determined by how many skanks an athlete bangs?] That was enough of that. Matt woke up and we headed out the door for game two.


11:25 am: Evaluated finances. We stopped back at Frank's so I could, you know, close my tab... Ooops.


12:13 pm: Beer and bags. Arrived at my brother's place for some beanbags and beer. The bro destroyed us all at beanbags, but I blame my acid reflux.

1:10 pm: Left for the park. We saw this enterprising young man on the way:


He's selling Mak's Curse-killin Lemonade. I like the curse, but I thought the kid was pretty cool so I forked over the the $.75. I don't think that Country-time crap is going to have much of an effect on the Cubs' curse anyway.

1:20 pm: Found our seats. This time we were on the third base side. One other thing I found charming about Wrigley Field was this:


This is a professional baseball stadium, not a sports bar. But there are all of these random 19 inch TVs all over the place. They aren't even uniform. It's like they were acquired during different Walmart specials over the years. But what makes them even funnier is that United Airlines apparently sponsors these random 19 inch TVs.


1:25: Close to death. My acid reflux was still kicking my ass. I was seriously dying there.


2:00: Get some Tums. I finally decide to see if I can find some Tums in this stadium. I locate an usher and she had some generic Tums in her little medical bag. She was also pretty cute. Thank you cute Wrigley Field usher girl. You saved my life.


1:20-4:20: Watched baseball. The game was mostly uneventful, with the only highlight being a Corey Hart home run, which continued his hitting streak to 17 games. Nice work Corey.


After the game, I hung out with my brother and his wife for a while, grilled some dinner and caught the train back to Milwaukee. And I'm spent.

15 comments:

Amanda Lee! said...

Wow. Sounds pretty bru-tal.

You should've mentioned the salad tongs injury when we were trying to figure out who my favorite Brewer would be. I'm instrigued by such things. You'll have to fill me in!

Danny from Milwaukee said...

Amanda,
Matt Wise cut his index finger on a salad tongs last year. He couldn't pitch for like two months.

Matt said...

Your brother mentioned to me on Sunday that they could actually hear the Brewers fans singing Roll Out the Barrel after TMOTTBG on Fox, so it wasn't just 4 jerks, it was probably closer to 4000. Hot.

Anonymous said...

that clip of the cubs dugout is fantastic.

PaulNoonan said...

They came back just in time for "Gangs all here" and maybe a little "budupadup, budapadup..." but that may have just been my brain.

Danny from Milwaukee said...

Matt,
I've had a few other people say that too. I hope it's true.

Anon,
Yes, the Cubs are totally gay.

Paul,
It's time you got Tivo so we could be sure.

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