Wrigley Field and the Abbott

Trip Start Apr 17, 2001
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87
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Thursday, May 10, 2007

"The key for room 103, please?" I asked.
"I'm sorry. No guests are allowed," replied the desk clerk at the Abbott Hotel on West Belmont Avenue in Chicago's Lake View district.
"I'm not a guest. My name is Jack Drury," I said, spelling out my surname. "I'm in 103, please check the register."
"We have a Mr. Lloyd and a Mr. John Drary, but that's not your name. You said—"
"Here, look at my passport. It's what I used to register. Look at the photo, then at me. We're the same," I said, shoving my travel document in front of him. "The other clerk that was here must have spelled my name wrong in the registry. Jack is a nickname for John, just as Bob is short for Robert and Bill is for William. It's a North American thing. I don't know why. Please let me in. I need to pee."
The clerk looked at me still not sure, then said, "I'm sorry Mr. Drary, please go in." as he pushed the entry buzzer.

Ten minutes later Lloyd entered the lobby and had to go through the same routine.

The Abbott Hotel is a ten minute walk from Wrigley Field, home of the National Baseball League Chicago Cubs. Lloyd and I were on our second annual Major League baseball pilgrimage. We arrived earlier in the morning from Milwaukee.

Walking the streets that surround Wrigley Field you feel as though you're in another time; more 1920's than new millennium. A small one truck fire station built in 1915, a year after the final construction of Wrigley, sits on Waveland Avenue adjacent to the left field bleachers. Wrigley is surrounded by old bars and restaurants that most likely were built at the same time as the stadium itself. Wrigley Field is to the baseball fan what Mecca is to the Muslim; St. Peter's Basilica to the Catholic. It's my favorite ballpark and I wanted to show it off to my amigo.

There were a few things I hadn't taken into account though. I'd bought the tickets
on the web back in March. They turned out to be in the very top row of the top level. And although the day had been warm and sunny, a cold breeze blew in off Lake Michigan. Of course we were short sleeved while all our other top row mates were dressed in sweaters and jackets. There was a floor to ceiling steel girder that obscured the pitcher's mound. Lloyd could see the wind up, but not the pitch. I could see the pitch, but not the wind up. Wrigley was built in 1914 when the typical tall American male might reach around 5' 8". I was okay, but Lloyd is 6' 2". Despite its certain flaws, to me it's still a gem. Lloyd won't be back.

We left the game after the 7th inning. It was 10 o'clock. Back on West Belmont, hookers of nondescript gender prowled outside the Abbott while roaches roamed inside. Down the street at Wrigley the game went into extra innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the Cubs in the 15th inning. Lloyd and I were both fast asleep when the final run crossed the plate.



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