Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On The Road With Joey & Iggy: The Real Chicago Bears

Hi, everyone!  We're Joey and Iggy Beartran and we'll be your tour guides today.  Where are we taking you?  How about the Windy City, the Second City, the city that Jake and Elwood tore apart (especially the cop cars).  We're talking about Chicago!  So sit back, have yourself a nice Polish sausage or some deep dish pizza and enjoy the ride.  Batter up!

We flew out to Chicago on Thursday morning, one day after the Mets completed their second 0-6 homestand since the All-Star Break.  Fortunately, the Mets were off on Thursday so they couldn't lose that night.  To celebrate the Mets' inability to lose that night, we had a delicious breakfast of biscuits and gravy.  Then we made our way to the Loop and the Chicago River, where we found the famed Chicago Theatre.  Iggy was so excited, she shook her Mets pom pom in jubilation.  (I always wondered where she keeps that thing.  It's not like she has any pockets for it.)

That night, we wanted to experience what a pennant race feels like since the Mets haven't been involved in one since 2008.  So we hopped on the Red Line and got off at Sox-35th St.  It was time to visit U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.

The White Sox, who are managed by the great singles hitter, Robin Ventura (the Grand Slam Single was a single and it was great), were hosting the team directly behind them in the American League Central, the Detroit Tigers.  At the time, the Tigers were one game behind the White Sox and were looking to pull into a first-place tie with the Pale Hose.

Although it was a cloudy night, we made it inside the ballpark on time and were looking forward to the first pitch.   But 7:10 PM came and went and there was no "play ball".  Why?  Because this happened...

No, we're not talking about blurry pictures.  We're talking about rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Enough to delay the start of the game by one hour.  Then at around 8:15 PM, after we had sampled some of the tasty burritos and nachos the Cell had to offer, my colleague went out to snap more pictures of the field.  When he came back, he showed us this photo...

Clearly they didn't get the memo that we were only going to be in Chicago until September 15.

That's right, loyal readers.  Despite the fact that the game had playoff implications and was to feature an outstanding pitching matchup of Justin Verlander (the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner) against up-and-coming Chris Sale (a 16-game winner for the White Sox), the weather gods had something else to say.  The game was postponed, to be made up two days after we'd be returning to New York.


But the trip to the South Side of Chicago was not a complete washout, as we were able to get these photos inside the ballpark (see below).  The first one is the White Sox homage to "The Franchise", Tom Seaver, celebrating his 300th win with fellow future Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk in 1985.  The photo in the middle is another shot of Tom Terrific in his hideous mid-'80s White Sox duds, as he set the major league record for most Opening Day starts when he took the mound for the 16th time in the season's first game in 1986.  The bottom photo is a shot of John Travolta with various members of the late '80s Southsiders, including Fisk, Ozzie Guillen, Steve Lyons and future Mets centerfielder Lance Johnson.

Well, if we couldn't watch baseball in the South Side of Chicago, perhaps we'd be luckier on the North Side.  And lucky we were!

On Saturday, we made our way to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, by far the oldest ballpark in the National League.  It's about the same age as Jamie Moyer, who might just be the only person alive who can remember the last time the Cubs won the World Series (it was in 1908, for those who don't know).

The Cubs were entertaining the Pittsburgh Pirates on a beautiful late summer day, but it was us who were entertained.  Just check out the photos below!

No, the six-foot-tall bear in the photos is not related to us.  His name is Billy Cub and he and his siblings were standing near the corner of Addison and Clark Streets as well as the corner of Waveland and Sheffield Avenues.  The humans in the photos are our Studious Metsimus colleagues.  But you already knew that.

The game itself was all Pirates for the first seven innings.  Pittsburgh, who has slumped recently but is still fighting for the second wild card spot in the National League, scored in each of the first three innings and held a 7-3 lead going to the bottom of the eighth.  But the Cubs pushed across a run in the eighth to cut the Bucs' lead to three, then scored twice in their final at-bat before a bases loaded strikeout ended the rally and the game.  Even the Wrigley Field scoreboard operator was pretty bummed out about the failed comeback attempt by the home team.

Well, that does it for the recap on our trip to Chicago.  We visited U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday for the White Sox game that never started and Wrigley Field on Saturday for the Cubs game that almost never ended.  So what did we do on Friday?  Hmmm...

Maybe we took a side trip.  Maybe we went north to Milwaukee.  Maybe we visited Miller Park to see the Mets play the Brewers.  Maybe we did and maybe ... WE DID!

(Click on "WE DID!" for the recap of our Milwaukee trip.  But whether you click on the link or not, please try to keep quiet.  We're very tired after our trip to the great Midwest...)

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