Chicagoing Out - Sports

In a previous installment Candy mentioned that she may come to Chicago if it involved a trip to Wrigley Field.  I knew I was going to write about our sports scene, but I didn't think it would be this soon in the series.

According to Wiki, we have a ton of pro sports teams, but to be honest, most people in town wouldn't know that we even had 2 pro rugby teams (Lions & Griffins) let alone an outdoor lacrosse team(Machine).  I'm going to hit the biggies.  As a side note, I'm not really a diehard fan of ANY of the Chicago teams, and this is really more about the venues and the event-iness of it, rather than really about the teams themselves.

Chicago Cubs / Wrigley Field:  Sorry Sox fans, but they own the It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood summer.  True, some treat it as nothing more that a beer garden with a hefty cover charge.  And the LPT's in their pink Cubs hats asking what down is it (so not you MelO, if you're out there) can be annoying.  But the grass, the brick, the ivy, the neighborhood on game day.  It simply cannot be beat.  It's old, and shows it's age.  But with dignity and grace.  With Boston's Fenway Park it is a baseball shrine that every true fan of the game should visit.

And yes, "Wrigley" is an extremely popular dog's name.

Extra curricular:  I saw Jimmy Buffett here one Labor Day.  It ruled.

Chicago White Sox / U.S. Cellular Field aka "The Cell" aka New Comiskey  Park:  I was just there, and A great place to watch a game, and rarely a CELL out.let me tell you, if you have a chance to watch from the Jim Beam Club, do it.  But only if you aren't paying for the ticket.  And dear GOD in heaven, do not sit in the upper deck.  I never made it to the old stadium, but this new one isn't as bad as everyone will tell you.  And tickets are MUCH easier to get.  And you can take the Red line L right there, just don't wander around the neighborhood.  But if you want to watch good baseball, not a bad place to go.

Extra curricular: I saw the Rolling Stones with the opening act of the Pretenders here.

Chicago Bears / Soldier Field:  No, there is no "s" or " 's".  Just "Soldier Field".  This place was a nasty OLD hole before the redid it a few years ago.  It is now a nasty NEW hole.  Butt ugly modernist stadium stuck in a classical shell.  You've seen the  pictures. ET - That's a no parking zone!

It's worse in person.  And stupid.

I ask you, if you're dreaming of hosting the Olympics, why would you spend a crap load of money remodeling your primary stadium, but make it TOO SMALL to host the opening and closing ceremonies?  Cluster fuck.  But ask me how I really feel.  :-)

And it is a MISERABLE place to watch a game in December.  That lake wind which can make a July baseball game feel like it's in November, can make a football game in December a special kind of hell where they tell the wind chill in Kelvin because it's easier.

Extra curricular:  I saw some exhibition soccer games here in the 90's.  Otherwise, I got nothin'.

Chicago Bull & Blackhawks / The United Center:  To be perfectly honest, I've never seen either team in this Bronze = Airvenue.  Not a huge fan of either team.  But I can tell you, this is an extremely soulless and sterile building.  The best features are the Jordan statue out front, and the very wide concourses, which are nice.  (At this moment, the Bulls just were defeated (not "lost" there's a difference) in the playoffs by Boston (Go Green!) but the 'hawks are still going strong.)

Extra curricular:  I saw the first event here, a Billy Joel concert on the 'River of Dreams' tour.  And later I've seen the Eagles and Rush here, too.

16" Softball: But you can't talk Chicago sports withoutChicago - We've got big balls mentioning 16" softball.  It's a dying game, but it's still big here.  You probably know it as 'mush-ball' from grade school PE with that huge ball.  There are jammed fingers and mangled knuckles all over the city.  It's being replaced by the much more common 12" variety.  Not that I play either.

Chicago Marathon: And there's also the Chicago A badge of honorMarathon.  It's an "open" marathon.  Unlike Boston, you don't need to qualify.  And also, unlike Boston, there are no hills.  When I ran it, I think there was about 42,000 people registered.  It's a thundering herd that passes fairly close to most of the venues listed above, but the crowd is amazing.  Usually 2 or 3 people deep.  Shoulder to shoulder.  For most of the 26.2 mile course.  All cheering for YOU.  There are spots (down by the Cell) where the crowd thins, but there's always people there cheering for you.

An amazing experience.  But I don't overly recommend starting a new job the day after your first marathon.


Cora said...

Yeeeeeesh ~ starting a new job the day after your first marathon? I can imagine. Yikes!

Love the header, Scope. That's truly fantastic!! How long did that take you?

mo.stoneskin said...

*sits for five minutes stunned, totally dazzled by the header*

Can't believe you didn't mention Al Capone.

wigsf said...

You know, there's a good ol' Norris Division rivalry back in Chicago for the first time in a long time. The Red Wings are coming to town for the Conference Finals. Might be time for you to go see a Blackhawks game at the United Center. Sure, it ain't the good ol' Madhouse on Madison, but it will have to do for now.

Scope said...

Cora - Actually, the header took about 30 seconds last night. I had the graphic from years ago when I used to to create a birthday card for someone (and oddly, today happens to be her birthday, too!), I just needed to update the text layer, save, load, blah, blah, blah. If it wasn't just a "one-day-wonder" heading, I would resize it so it fit better.

Mo - Despite our image in the worlds, we do not consider murder most foul a "sport". However, with Johnny Depp's "Public Enemies" coming out soon, I guess I should do a ganster post.

And sorry if the banner left you like a deer in the headlights.

wigsf - I did see a bulls game at "the old Stadium" while Jordan served his one year secret suspension, I mean retired to play minor league baseball. I just didn't grow up on hockey. But it is nice to see the 'hawks doing well after SO MANY YEARS of not making the playoffs.

Cowguy said...

Hey! I've seen some of those things from the freeway!

I never missed a Bulls game on the tube during the dynasty period... it's actually the only time in my life that I ever sat and watched sports. Ever.

I too am impressed with the banner Scope!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Here's a little extracurricular for your extracurricular: Jimmy Buffet has only ever played in two stadiums (though that might be changing now that he's sponsoring the Dolphins). Wrigley Field is one, the other is Fenway Park.

Grant Miller said...

I am a lifelong, rabid Sox fan and have enjoyed the Jim Beam club a few times. For me, it is nearly heaven on Earth.

Scope said...

All - I want to be clear, I stole the artwork for the banner, but did all the lettering myself.

Grant - As long as someone else is paying the $281 for the ticket, I am all about the Jim Beam Club. Open MY wallett? Zoinks, that's a lot of coin.

Morgan the Muse said...

running a marathon... I cannot advise you to do it, ever. :D

Candy's daily Dandy said...

The header needs to stay! For sure, pure brilliance.

I'm sold, I NEED to see a game at Wrigley.

Great post! Loved every inch of it, especially when you throw props to my homies in Beantown. FTR-they are saying that the last play-off series between the Bulls and the Celtics is possibly the greatest play-off series in the history of the NBA. Bird and Jordan are eating their hearts out.

You learn something new every day, like I never knew you had a marathon in you! I am humbled by this factoid.

And, also for the record, I adore you too. I cannot tell you how much your kind words brightened my morning. Thank you my friend.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Hate sports, but loved this post. Especially as you remembered each venue by which concert you saw there. And Yay! for you for running a marathon. I get queasy just watching all that running. My cousin is a triathlete, but he still found it funny when I told him the only time I run is when I'm being chased.

sAm said...

I love the Windy City. The only reason I started "running" was to get back there for the Rock&Roll Half in August. I needed a "good" excuse to go. Hmmm. I'm impressed you ran the whole Chi classic - very cool!
I saw the Dave Matthews Band and U2 at Soldier Field. And while it may not fit the needs mentioned in your post, I have to say that it's WAY better than the Pontiac Silverdome - saw both acts there as well and it sucked.

Sassy Britches said...

Ohhhh, I hope the 16 inch softball doesn't end! I told you on our visit that I played for a summerr league, adn it really is so much fun! Especially if you don't want to be all that competitive.

And shoot me now. I DESPISE the new Soldier Field. It was so regal and imposing at one time, especially riding into town on the late night Amtrak train, when the spotlights were on it. *sigh* Now I seriously have to avert my eyes, I hate it that much. It's like this kick ass front, with a d**n spaceship coming out its head.