Baseball Stadium trip Game 5- Wrigley Field Chicago Cubs

 It was an afternoon game so we didn’t really have to get there at noon, but we did. We had to walk around, had to take it in for as long as we could. This stadium had had so many great players on its field. They likely walked were we did at some point. We were a part of the history now, we had placed foot to concrete. We took a couple rounds the park walks to take it all in. The smells of grilled onions and brats, the hawkers selling peanuts, the random pre-game announcements. I broke away and called my dad as I was walking around. It was pretty emotional; we had tossed around a ball for years, now I was in one of the places it had all started! It’s a favorite moment to think back on, there were lots of pauses, we both likely teared up a bit. I composed myself enough to get a brat, eat it in the right field bleachers with a beer. That’s all I needed.

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We were front row bleachers that day and as we found out, you really want to be about three people in on the front rows. They have a security guys stand at certain markings so if you are first seat, first row, you have zero view. We found out just in time to get people to move over a bit but the security guy was indeed a dick about it. He wasn’t there to discuss this, you need to move over, my position is here. We felt he could lean on the other rail instead of directly in front of us is all. A call out to the bleachers we found a bit of room, shove down, a bit more, ok! We caught a glimpse of Sammy Sosa who was on a hitting streak but was on the DL today. Toenail thing, a foul off the foot. It was yet another good day for baseball in Chicago.

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When leaving we got a Right Field Bleachers shirts and discovered we had been parked  in. We literally had to wait for someone to leave and even then, it was expert back and forth with some good fellows directing us outside. Surrounded by cars on all sides.

You guys are in the Cubs lot, they stay the whole game and then some! Yup most people may leave their cars overnight, too, yeah. Ha-ha’ he cackled.

We had to thank him profusely as he spent 5 min helping us get out. Back up an inch at a time, a few inches forward, then back… But on the other hand, he wasn’t doing much, that beer in his hand wasn’t going to drink itself, you know. He’s the man for that job.

We arrived in Oklahoma City about 7-8 am the next morning. We pulled into a truck stop for gas and encountered some ladies of the night, they were working the scene. They said hello first and asked where we were coming from, sort of gas filling up small talk that happens in smaller towns. Then one of them came out with it and asked if we are partying, if we want to party with them. Nah, pass on that. I don’t think they were too either way, pretty or ugly. It cannot say I’ve encountered prostitutes who propositioned me in a gas station before or since.

A short time later I was back in Denton’s warm embrace.

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Baseball Stadium trip Homestretch- no game Canada to Chicago

Again we were stopped and searched at the US border; again we left our ticket stubs out so they’d see a pattern to our trip. I knew they felt we had grass, why else do you drive up from Texas? Oh to see the Blue Jays? Yeah we are going to need a moment to search your car. They too enjoyed our road signs. We were telling the truth, and it sucks to not be trusted at the border by your own country. I’d heard about a border crossing into Canada that just has a phone, you call someone and tell them you are coming in or leaving? There could be a lot more trust between us is all.

We had one more day to kill before our Cubs game. We made it back to Chicago and stayed on the outskirts of town, a few exits from Wrigley. Our plan was to check out the area around the stadium. We found a dive bar and headed in. It was a long wooden bar, jukebox on the left, a small stage followed. Stationed ever present to one side of the stage was the DJ and dictionary thick song list.

I generally sing Johnny Cash songs since its pretty much just talking low, not really singing. I picked wrong, wrote down the wrong number but for sure they played a song I wasn’t prepared for, Convoy! Ha I barely know that tune, for sure didn’t know there was a movie about it, CB radios. I stumbled through it, aided by pints Old Style for $1.

 

We eventually made it to Wrigley Field later that night. The area we were in was park and walk. We walked out on the street, staring at the glowing neon red sign: Welcome to Wrigley Field! We took pics and then located another bar to post up in for a bit. We wound up encountering an unencumbered camera. This was an early model digital camera, probably a hundred bucks or so. We talked to everyone in the bar, even the bartenders, no one knew whose camera it was. We tried to look at the pics but the camera had run out of batteries. The bartender said it was ours, they didn’t want to hold on to it.

In our hunt to find the owner, we get to talking to a business guy who was interested in  the camera. He said he’d just buy it if we did not want it. I think we found and sold a camera in Chicago and used that money to buy a pitcher of beer. That’s what happened.

Baseball Stadium trip Game 2- Chicago White Sox Stadium

Chicago White Sox were the closest option to Milwaukee and had an afternoon game the next day. It was a short drive and at some point along the way we decided to make signs. Of course being in our early 20’s, they were all crude and crass. Phrases such as: show us your boobs, honk if you’re horny, and just Honk! It was the person riding shotgun or backseat’s job to display these signs upon determining the attractiveness of the person we were passing. Usually the 18 wheelers automatically got the ‘honk if you’re horny,’ option. Not too many female long haul drivers out there, much less any whose boobs you’d want to see. The reaction was mostly positive from the 18 wheelers drivers as they were likely just as bored as we were. Some just smirked and did not pull their horn. Those are truly lame people. No one flashed their boobs, but it was worth a try.

Upon entering Chicago, we made a point to drive around Solider Field where da Bears played. It is a cool area, one way streets so I am sure we did a loop or two to ensure everyone got a view. It was that or we were lost, we were using dang paper maps that were updated during the Reagan administration! We arrived to the stadium and I finally understood why they always said South Side. This wasn’t a totally safe area at night I’d bet but it was ok during the game. So far it’s the only place I’ve seen playgrounds covered in a dome of chain link, not sure if that is to keep kids in or bad guys out but it is there.

The fans were noticeably different, too, and not in a good way. Openly hostile to anything Cubs, perhaps even the color blue. There were always vendors in the parking lot, but these souvenirs were homemade and proudly proclaimed,

‘it’s always bear hunting season; kill the Cubs; death to Cubs,’that sort of sentiment.

I for sure would not wear anything Cubs near this stadium. I got the impression that they would physically remove any Cubs article of clothing forcibly; they’d just rip ‘em off. I am all for a bit of rivalry, but not violence. Just because you are a fan of a team does not make you my enemy. In fact, fans have very little to do with the game, you just show up and watch, cheer. People are way too serious, it is a game.

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The stadium is open and has grass field. It was a hot, afternoon game so I procured a hat, nothing special. We sat in the outfield bleachers. We always tried to get down to the bleachers, but some places had better security than others. The Sox played Detroit and I am fairly sure this was a walk off homer or a grand slam, a rare event game ender is for sure. At some point we decided during the game to head over to Detroit Rock City after the game. It must have been when we saw who was playing, ‘Detroit is close right?’

I remarked once we were passing through Gary, IN that it was the home of the Jackson 5, the only thing I knew about the city. First time in Indiana, too. We located our hotel and hunkered down for a night in Detroit.

 

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