Friday, August 14, 2009

Wrigleyfest, day 1

8:00: Got up on time, left the hotel with plenty of time to spare. Completely missed the $1.50-per-day signs in the two good parking lots, saw only the "reserved parking" sign in the third, and ended up driving around for 20 minutes until I found parking outside the commuter zone (4-hour limit). No big deal, but I'll know for next week year. (The 4-hour limit is Monday through Friday.)

Got my ticket, hopped on Metra, read the first half of my book, reached Union Station. On to the street, east on Jackson, onto the Red Line and north.

11:00: Met the first person at Murphy's. (This trip is so different when you aren't drinking.) Next guy shows up, then the last two, and we go in. Mental note: put contraband in your pockets. If you have a bag, they don't bother with the rest of it. (I had my trusty Xbox 360 messenger bag, primarily for two things: sunscreen and aforementioned book. I'll get burned this weekend, but not without a fight.)

11:40: Seated in left field with plenty of time remaining in Pirates BP, and it was worth it. Several balls hit onto Waveland, a few in the bleachers in each section. None very close to us, which was good. On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of protection, the people in front of us were about a 2. (A 10 means there's a guy who used to play outfield, so he's catching line drives for you. A 1 means that you're actually better off with no one in front of you, because this person will either deflect the ball into your face or duck at the last minute. No possible chance of catching it.) I know enough not to catch line drives, but I don't want a fly bouncing off my head.

1:00: Paratroopers. One first, then six later. Very cool.

1:20: Flyovers. Many of them. Also very cool. I love it when the air show is in town.

Cubs put 4 up in the first, 7 more before an out is recorded in the second, 3 more after that. Yeah, 14-0 after two, I think it's in the bag. 17-2 was the final. There was really no suspense. The scenery was decent, and I shared a bit of conversation with a woman who sat down next to us in the third or fourth inning. (Probably about my age, definitely a fake fan: they stayed about three innings and moved on, either to find younger guys or to find the party they were heading to after the game.)

4:30: Back to the Red Line, which was very much not crowded, surprisingly so. One guy gets off early for his hotel, the other one stays on til Jackson with me, and we walk back to Union Station. I head for the Metra counter and he heads back to his hotel; we'll reconvene tomorrow.

4:55: I get my one-way ticket (sigh, weekend passes are good only Friday and Saturday) and make a crucial mistake. I do not check to see which trains stop in Itasca. Sadly, the one I catch does not. I find this out by listening to the list of stops. At this point, it's started to move, so I can't get off. I hit the Metra website and determine that it's about 2.7 miles from Roselle to Itasca. No biggie, I'll walk. Lesson for next time.

6:45: Back at the hotel room; of course no tickets on my car. Chicago and surrounding area is pretty good at telling you where you can't park. No signs usually means no problem. (I did have to instruct one driver on the meaning of a green arrow. Apparently he felt that because there were two lanes, he could turn right into his lane and I was to turn left into mine. I pointed out that I had a green arrow and therefore he could either stop or hit me. He chose to explain his point of view, complete with gestures ... but apparently his wife/girlfriend/better half/conscience pointed out the error of his ways rather quickly, because he slowed down immediately and stayed well back of me. Normally if they think it's your fault, they speed around you. Yeah, I had the arrow, so suck it. And yes, that's how I drive in Chicago. Who doesn't?) Time enough to get cleaned up, check Facebook (what, it's down? Oh, there it goes), change clothes (jeans and nicer tennis shoes – hey, the rest of the gang just got done golfing) and map out my route to Texas de Brazil.

8:00: Strangely, none of the golfers are here. I make a trip through the mirrored dining room (always a weird experience), confirm this, and wait in the lobby. One comes in and recognizes my shirt (a What-If Sports shirt; I'm no fool, they'll recognize me even if I don't recognize them). Then the rest of the party shows up, and Meatfest begins.

9:45: We win, as usual. After three or four good passes, the servers slow down, then eventually disappear. Just as well, I probably ate half as much as I did last year and don't feel bad at all. (I intended to eat less this year anyway.) Check is paid, we go our separate ways. Back to the hotel for a few more days of WSM, a few checks on Facebook, and rest for tomorrow. (9:00 at Murphy's? Try 10. All I need to do is be there early enough to help wait in line.)


  1. Sounds like you had a good day.

    I would be one of the -1 people that would sit in front of you and cringe if a ball came toward me. I don't blame the people for not wanting flying objects coming in their direction.

    I am not sure if we should put you in charge of the directions anymore on our seem to be having some trouble in this area.

  2. Trouble? Trouble is when you are stuck and have no idea what to do. I knew exactly what to do ... and I was able to get enough information to figure out the best way to do it. (If necessary, I could have taken a bus; I think there are routes out by the Metra line.)

    Besides, it's good for me to get outside my comfort zone. I learn more things that way. The first time I went up to Chicago, I really wasn't sure how to get around and such. Now, I have no hesitation at all with different trains and stuff.