Chicago: a sports writer’s journey [UPDATED]Published 11:00am Monday, June 27, 2011 Updated 9:52am Monday, June 27, 2011
During the week of June 14, I traveled to the Midwest Mecca of sports…Chicago.
Disguised as an anniversary vacation (no really it was), my wife and I headed to the Windy City for a little R and R.
Our trip started in the lovely city of Aurora, Ill. Known mostly by my generation for its Wayne’s World fame, we would stay with my wife’s cousin for our first few days in Chicago.
On Monday, we did all the shopping two people could handle in the nearby suburb of Naperville, but I couldn’t wait to get to Wrigley field that evening.
My wife and I hopped on a train and rode towards the second oldest ballpark in the Majors. I envisioned a stellar game between the divisional rival Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers fitted with a hotdog, a beverage and the camaraderie of the Chicago fan base.
As we got off the train to the city, we immediately looked for the Redline train that would take us to Addison Avenue (this apparently was harder than it should have been).
After a few confusing stops at different stations, we made our way to Wrigley in the crowded but enthusiastic train. Listening to the patrons aboard the train talk about the Cubs and how they are going to move up in the NL Central warmed my heart, reminding me of my team’s own struggles to make it back to the top.
The train stopped and we made our way towards the park. The crowds outside Wrigley had us worried about getting tickets, but I assured my wife that it was Monday and there was no way this was going to be a sellout (might be one of the first times I was right…mark that one down).
We purchased cheap seats and took in the amazing view from the fifth deck. I didn’t really care where we sat, I was there to admire the Ivy and take in what many sports fans consider a must.
It was a real battle between Cubs’ pitcher Ryan Dempster and Brewers’ hurler Randy Wolf. After bringing in Jeff Samardzija to relieve, the Cubs were able to squeak a run across the plate sending the fans into the frenzy. What a night!
The ride back was another story, after taking the Redline back to the station, we got back on the train to Aurora. We rode with several jovial fans, but made an unexpected stop in the middle of nowhere to “let” a over joyous fan exit the car. We finally made it to Aurora (15 minutes after our expected time) and made our way back to my wife’s cousin’s apartment.
Day two was geared more towards my wife’s interests. We were to walk to Millennium Park and later that evening catch the Blue Man Group (if you ever have a chance to see them, do it).
We took in several of the sites, including the fountain from Married with Children, a giant reflective bean and the park’s gardens. We walked over the museum district and started to plan Thursday’s excursion, when I noticed a sign to Soldier Field.
My wife, knowing that her husband is a sports fanatic, humored me as we walked around the stadium and went into the gift shop (I did not purchase anything as it goes against my code of ethics on rival teams).
This became an appetizer to the entree that I would receive the next day when we traveled to South Bend to see the University of Notre Dame.
Look for Part 2 in Tuesday’s edition of the Journal