Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I'm in Chicago today for work. It's cold and rainy, which is not what I was hoping for... I didn't really pack well for cold, wind, and rain. It looks like my run along the lake may turn into a treadmill run. Or just a shorter outdoor run... Damn.

As long as I was coming to Chicago during baseball season, I got tickets to see the Cubs game last night. What a difference from seeing a game at Fenway. Let's compare two recent game experiences - Red Sox v. Yankees on Sunday night, and Cubs v. Brewers on Tuesday night:
1. Ballpark: Fenway and Wrigley are both storied fields, and maintain their historic nature. I'd never been to Wrigley which was part of the reason I wanted to catch a game. Love the extra bleachers on neighboring houses. Fenway still stands out as a great old park, though, with the odd shaped outfield, Green Monster, and prime city location. Fenway has also been updated a bit more, making access to food and drinks a bit easier. Cubs fans seem to love cotton candy in bags, as that was the most frequently sighted vendor.

2. Tickets: I could not believe how easy it was to get Cubs tickets. $20 for decent seats, and plenty of tickets left on game day. The most expensive tickets have a face value of less than $50 (compare that to just over $300 a pop at Fenway, for seats behind home plate). We ended up moving down to the field around the fourth inning, as there were plenty of empties.

Getting a ticket for a Red Sox game is a test of wills and negotiating power, for the most part. While I have been known to stand outside the park and offer $20 to a scalper until they come down to meet my offer (takes until the third or fourth inning), in general the only way I've been able to get any tickets is by either a) corporate connections, or b) a friend of a friend that can't make it to the game for one reason or another. Good luck finding two seats together through the online MLB system.

Reminds me of when the Democratic National Convention was in town a few years ago, and there was a Sox/Yankees matchup. As a volunteer assigned to taking care of the Oregon delegation, I fielded (no pun intended) a number of questions regarding tickets for the game. When I told them how much they should expect to pay if they went to the park, they thought I was crazy. When they came back later in the evening, they expressed their shock at the ticket price, and overall madness of trying to get a ticket. My experience in getting Cubs tickets helps me to better understand their position. I am skewed by Boston...

3. The game: Admittedly, this one is really subjective. I happened to be at a pretty incredible Red Sox game, where the Sox hit four homers back to back on the third (lots of yelling, waving of arms, and slapping strangers' hands) and still had to fight to the last inning to win by one run. No way we were leaving until the end. No one did.

Cubs game, on the other hand, was less exciting. The Brewers are in first at this point, the Cubs in last. It showed in their playing. We watched a routine pop up missed by the catcher, poor decision making in base running, outfielders trying to be heroes by throwing the ball home and thus allowing extra bases by the visiting team... Half the crowd was gone by the 6th, and with each subsequent half inning more flooded out.

It's hard to be a Cubs fan.

Given the chill and rain, we left after the 8th to finish the game out at a local bar. This turned out to be a lot more fun. Very friendly people, lots of conversation with folks I'll never see again. It would have been great to stay a while post game, but I knew getting up this morning would suck. And it did... The heavenly bed at the Westin was certainly sleep inducing, and it was tough to get up an hour early for eastern time meetings.

Soon I have to put on a suit to attend some sessions and work a table for my company. In other words, gotta go put my game face on.

I love this town, and wish I could stay longer.

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