Ballpark fun

It’s days like today that I can sit back honestly and profess how much I love my job …

I spent the day visiting Chicago ballparks and everything baseball … Our assignment: to find everything and anything a baseball fan and his or her buddies can surround themselves with on game day.

A train ride down to Davis Street, and the El to the Sox-35th Street dropoff, we started at The Cell -- home of the World Champion Chicago White Sox. Sox fan or not, no Chicago person can not appreciate saying that … we paid homage to the home plate of old Comiskey and admired the architecture of the stadium. Then, on a whim, we decided to try seeing if we could get inside the stadium. … we stepped into the Sox front offices and a receptionist was nice enough to hook us up with a PR guy who gave us a full walking tour of the stadium, all while painters put the finishing touches on doorways and windows and a grounds crew worked on the field.
But the excitement was only beginning …

From The Cell, we took the El south to 47th, which later proved to be a mistake, because we were destined for the Negro League Café, which is located several blocks east of 45th Street … oh, the walk. But well worth it. If people aren’t scared off by the gritty neighborhood this eatery calls home, the classic burger-and-fry type entrees are quite tasty, while the walls full of Negro League memorabilia make the place a museum of its own …

From there, we walked about a mile the other way to Grandstand, a sprawling memorabilia shop, loaded with everything from jerseys and hats to shot glasses and steering wheel covers, all with the logos of your favorite team. In fact, I indulged a little myself, buying a commemorative Sox World Series ball.

Then … to Wrigley. A baseball lover’s shrine, I say.

We took the El and got off at Addison as the sun was setting around Wrigleyville. Business women on cell phones were walking to cars and apartments. Men were jogging. Kids were playing and couples were walking dogs. … far from the environment that surrounds the park on game day (see tips here), it was peaceful and wonderful. Like Central Park in Chicago’s north side -- except without all the grass, water and forest area.

We walked through the Cubs-themed McDonald’s on Clark, peeked our heads inside ImprovOlympic and admired all the architecture and eclectic life that defines Wrigleyville … I’ll be back on April 8th, and I can’t hardly wait.

By 6:30, we were back on the El and I was settled into my latest copy of Entertainment Weekly

And lovin' it.

No comments: