Sweet Home, Chicago

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Monday, April 4, 2011

No breakfast (like I needed it after all I've been eating this weekend!), Skip and I headed to a great restaurant and a Chicago institution for lunch; Al's Roast Beef in downtown Chicago.  Well, we headed there after I forgot I left the tickets in my brief case...only a few minutes back to Skip's house.  Skip made me leave my brief case at his house...too embarrassed to see me walk in a Major League Ballpark with it.  

After pictures at Al's Roas Beef, I ordered the Italian roast beef with both sweet and hot peppers, and more importantly, dipped.  Dipped, you ask?  After putting all the fixins on a haogie bun, they dip it in beef juice.  That, fries and a diet coke, and it's time to eat.  Skip ordered a similar sandwich.  You talk about messy!  You need a bib!  But it was delicious.  And I didn't even get any on me!  Shock! 

After lunch we headed north on Clark Street toward Wrigley Field.  I asked Skip to find out where the St. Valentine's Day Massacre occurred.  As I recalled, it was on North Clark Street...his iPhone confirmed 2122 North Clark.  Just wanted to see it.  It's an empty lot today.  Skip said he thought he saw a plaque, but we didn't stop.

Got to Wrigley and parked a couple blocks away from the park ($25).  And headed to the front of Wrigley to get pictures of the signature marquee.  Very cool.  

Went into the park (Right Field Bleachers) and the Diamondbacks were taking batting practice.  With the wind howling out to right field, it was a field day if you wanted a baseball hit into the crowd.  We, however, didn't get one, but lots of other people did.  

Boy it was cold.  45 degrees Skip said, but 43 wind chill.  Glad I had all my warm gear on.  I was comfortable.  

Wrigley Field is the oldest ballpark in the Majors.  I've been there many times.  And I know most Cubs fans are purists, but I feel they need to tear it down and rebuild it with all the modern conveniences.  They can share Comisky (or Cellular Field as it's known now) for a year, and move into a wonderful new ballpark but retain the look and feel of the current Wrigley Field.  And after seeing two beautiful big video screens, they could use one as well, if nothing else for replays. 

Debbie Bull texted me to look out for a Linda lady in the RF bleachers whom she met at Spring Training.  I'll know her by her the "Rambikins" strapped to the railing.  I asked Skip if he knew what "Rambikins" were.  I was comforted by the fact that he didn't either.  But I went looking anyway and found her in CF...apparently Rambikins are some kind of stuffed doll.  I introduced myself and told Linda that the Bulls said hi...later I came back and she sang me a Cubs song...nice lady.   

Now to the game.  On the fourth pitch of the game, Randy Wells gave up a home run and the Cubs were down 1-0 in the first.  That would be the only run the D-Backs would get.  Soriano homered to tie it and the Cubs scored two more runs in the last two innings to win 4-1...and we got to sing "Go Cubs Go" and watch them raise the big blue W in center field indicating a Cubs victory.  

The last out was interesting.  Wrigley Field is invaded almost every day about 3:00 pm by a huge flock of seagulls, (or as one rather inebriated fan yelled..."Look at those flying rats!") and they actually land on the field.  There were about 20 or 30 of them in Center field on the last play of the game when a fly ball was hit to Marlon "BYRD" in CF...he struggled a bit, but made the catch despite the seagulls.  

Made our way to the car and headed toward LSD (Lake Shore Drive).  Parking tip:  The best area to park in to get out of the game quickly is southeast of the ballpark...we were on LSD in no time.  To complete my baseball and gastronomic weekend, Skip and I headed for the original Home Run Inn Pizza on 31st Street in Chicago.  I like their frozen pizza, but their fresh pizza is to die for.  The area is a bit rough...some gang activity, but lots of cops and "blue lights" (indicating high crime area and therefore everything is being recorded on cameras).  Skip told me that and the man who waited on us confirmed it.  I felt safe.  

I dropped Skip off at his house and headed for home.  I was in Bloomington by 8:30, a bit tired, but feeling like if this is any indication of how the rest of my adventure goes, I will enjoy myself all the way!
Did I mention I'm 3-0 for the home team in my travels?  

I don't take off again until later this month when I tackle the Eastern swing...Detroit, Toronto, Boston, NY, Philly, Washington DC, Baltimore and Pitt before returning home.  Looking forward to it!  I'll download some pictures either later today or tomorrow.  

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Mike on

not Al's--Portillo's Italian Beef!!!

dblegldave on

Going to Portillo's on another trip to Chi-town Mike!

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