Sunday, April 3, 2011

Take me out to the ball game

Listening to: Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box by Radiohead & thunderstorms outside

Springtime in Chicago: not that I’m complaining, but it’s like it happened overnight!  Light fleece jackets replacing Eskimo gear! Temperatures nearing 50 degrees! Today I even noticed Cuna on Belmont had their big windows open.

Yes, something has changed in the air here in our fine city, and it’s actually becoming apparent that people in fact live here. The streets are filled with real people instead of sky high snow piles, and once again Emily and I are reminded of our observation that everyone in our Southport neighborhood is either the proud owner of a dog or a baby (without exception.)

So along with my personal restoration of hope in the world, I couldn’t help but notice a shift in the metaphorical attitude winds of my fellow Chicagoans. It started with the buzzing within the walls of my dude-dominated office.

That’s right, folks, I’m talking about …



Now at the risk of being burned at the stake, I have to admit I am a cubs fan in sheep’s clothing. In fact, if we’re talking about the cubs in terms of the nitty gritty baseball performance, I am outwardly no fan. I grew up a Braves fan, and have been choppin’ my tomahawk at Turner Field for close to as long as I can remember. However, I will be the first to admit that the cubs have got the whole gameday atmosphere thing figured out. From the belligerent fans to rooftop specials, Lakeview is one fun place to dwell during the summer months – that is, if you can get over the crowds and occasionally violent over-served cubby-loyals.

When I think about baseball, it strikes a particularly poignant cord of nostalgia for me. My dad is a huge baseball buff and made no bones about hiding that fact during my childhood. A baseball game broadcast over the radio is enough to send me reeling back to the days of lounging by my parent’s pool, visiting turner field, and lots of other summertime nuggets of joy.

So, in an effort to both preserve this family tradition and further break in my new home in Chicago, I’m drafting a take-me-out-to-the-ball-game to-do list, and it goes a little something like this:

  Enjoy at least a couple games from the comfort of a rooftop.

Unobstructed views of Wrigley? Auto-replenishing supplies of gameday grub plus tasty adult bevvys? Sign me up.

   Catch some of the action in the bleachers section, prime heckling spot.

Because nothing screams Chicago Cubs like aggressive fans and under-21-year-olds getting bounced out of the joint.

Check out a White Sox game

Because one time I heard Chicago has another baseball team.

    Try as many crazy hot dog concoctions as possible

ObObviously if you've visited Chicago for more than 5 minutes or ever turned on a television you know this city serves up a mean 'dog. I myself know this embarrassingly well. BUT, what are these Loaded Dogs you speak of, Wrigley Field?! The Taco Dog? The Frito Pie Dog? Other creations, including those topped with mac & cheese? Ok, gimme a piece of that. 

    Sip a bloody mary at Vines on Clark

No explanation needed here.

Get to Atlanta for a couple games, preferably with John in tow

Partially so I can have my shot at smooching Brian McCann, mostly so I can enjoy the sport and show my fiance what I grew up with. Also to prove to John that he and Mr. McCann are, in fact, doppelgangers (anyone else see it?)

Pretty standard list. I think it’s safe to say that I’m hopping around with excitement to enjoy my first full summer in Chitown. Filling it with baseball, I am sure, will be one of the most worthwhile ways to soak up the sun.

Oh, and… Go Braves. 

heeeyy batta batta batta ...