Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 14. Windy City Thunderbolts; Midlothian, IL. In Which the Gang Totally Doesn't Start a Fire, Finds Shelter From the Storm, and is Reminded How Much We Love DAAAAAAAAA BEARS.

Sweet Home Chicago! There isn't too much to report from the road today, except that if anybody is looking for a business opportunity, try opening up a Wendy's in rural Illinois. That's what we wanted for lunch, and we had to drive over 50 miles for one. And when we got there, the line was out the door. I'd never seen that! Wendy's, you clearly haven't saturated the Illinois market or the arteries of its citizens. Get on that.

We continued on to Chi-city, where Ben and I killed a couple hours at Powell's Books on 57th Street. If you've never been, and you like...y'know, books, you should go. It's epic. And they have three shelves dedicated to baseball. WAHOO!

I decided to play the Walgreen's game (for those of you not familiar, going to a drug store and buying the wackiest combination of items you can to confuse the cashier) at Powell's. So I bought a book about end-of-life care (a take on the Terri Schiavo case from a law professor, specifically), a Thomas Pynchon novel, and a Philip Roth novel. Draw your own conclusions.

Then we dropped our stuff off at my friend Megan's place and proceeded south to the suburb of Midlothian for that night's game.

The game was cut short due to rain, but the 'Bolts were up 6-1 after 6 innings, so that's a victory. We left when they rolled out the tarp, and it was a good thing, too. 'Cause the lights went out about 15 seconds after we hit the road.
Meh, no one cares about traffic lights in Chicago, anyway.

We almost got washed off the road, then it started hailing like a mother right as we were a few blocks away from Meg's place. We took shelter under a bridge, then ditched the car on 53rd Street and took shelter in a most reputable neighborhood establishment. 

The beer is up to $7.25 a pitcher now (I can't keep living this rock 'n roll lifestyle, man), and Ray no longer tends bar, but I still love the place. The lights were on, and we ran into my old drinking buddies Other Megan and JP there. I can't tell you how good it felt to run into my old haunt out of a hailstorm on a random Thursday 3 years after I leave town and find 2 friends there drinking like old times. Glad some things never change.

Now, back to reminiscing about the game.


1.) Not two minutes after pulling into the parking lot, a fire breaks out in an A/C unit at the senior center across the street. We were calmly drinking some PBR about 50 feet away, and on the other side of the aisle from us (closer to the fire) were 5 or 6 guys also sitting around calmly drinking beers and talking about the game. Bonus points for the guy who, when I suggested we had enough beer to go put out the fire, said "It's gonna have to get a lot bigger than that for me to waste my beer. But...(rubbing his rather sizeable belly) I might have enough in here to do something." Still, we decided to wait for the professionals.
Yep, that thing was on fire. And probably releasing tons of noxious gases.

2.) Bonus points to the stadium staff for not making us move.
Ooop, yep, it got into the refrigerant there. Should we move away from the toxic gas? ...Naaah, beer's not done.

3.) Thiiiiirsty Thursdays! And they had the beer everywhere in the park, not just one location with a huge line like River City.

4.) Appetizer 1: fried banana peppers. Wouldn't think these would be that great, but the light spice really mixes well with the salt of know, frying. Anyway, delicious!

5.) Appetizer 2: popcorn cheese balls. Turns out these were "popcorn" in the sense that they were small, but still delightful.

6.) Appetizer 3: Mini-tater skins. These were a triumph of food engineering. Every part of a potato skin, but folded in on itself and fried so it's, like, the cleanest thing ever to eat. Bravo, Thunderbolts!

7.) Thanks for a beautiful lightning show, Chicago. It was awesome until the cell decided to swing southwest over the park. Still, real pretty. Like, 10-15 strikes per minute pretty.

8.) 3 more errors and 2 more passed balls. Yay, Minors!

9.) The fine upstanding citizen who accosted Meg for wearing her Cubs gear to a game on the south side. I'm with you, brother.

10.) Although we paid for lower level seats, we decided to sit in the upper deck since we were finally at a stadium where that isn't the club level. Awesome change of pace. Thanks, Windy City!

Regularly Scheduled Metrics:

8.5 pts: Just 'cause we got here on Thirsty Thursday doesn't mean they don't get the points.

Most Caloric Item
4 pts: No single item was that ridiculous, but all the appetizers were definitely not good for you. Probably the giant theater-size boxes of candy they had were the worst.

Minor League Personalities
5 pts: Local celebrities? Kind of a big market for that, unfortunately. Family Out for a Nice Night Together and Teenagers on a Date? Yup! Major League Fan? Meg counts, and so does the Sox guy who accosted her. Minor League Diehard? There were kids there with jerseys galore.  Little League Team? Not only that, it was girls. Bonus points!

Free Seats:
0 pts: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Couldn't even get any on the 1st base side for some reason.

6 pts: It was pretty much only doze guys near da fire, but I'm pretty sure one of them was actually named Bob Swerski. I'm home.

Funniest Roster Name
4 pts: Zach Aakhus. Not only does he spell it right, but if you say it fast it sounds like Secaucus.

7 pts: Not only was it Thirsty Thursdays, they also handed out pint glasses on the way in. Glasses. This is officially the most dangerous promotion of the trip, leaping ahead of the real baseballs in Lynchburg. Shatterable projectiles? Sign me up!

1 pt: It may have been more like 20%, but I expect more from a team with an actual diverse town to draw from.

Men's Room
9 pts: Ahhh, small parks. I love them so!

Bonus points
+4 for the fire, +1 more for not making us move away from it, +3 for the delicious array of appetizers, +5 for the Superfans, +2 for the sweet lightning show, +3 for the Sox fan accosting Meg

Total: 68.5. Not a bad start, Chicago. Not bad.

Final Take: There were definitely some fortuitous events that made this day better than it might have been, but we're not about objectivity here. I love fire, I love Chicago, and I love the Superfans. Oh, and I love copious amounts of super-cheap beer. 7/10.

1 comment:

  1. I thought the walgreens game was "find the most absurd Barack Obama product on sale at Walgreens"

    #3 - the talking Obama Pen
    #2 - the Obama Chia pet (which was on sale at walgreens before it was recalled due to racial insensitivity)
    #1. The BaRock - Obama's face carved on - say it with me - "A REAL RIVER ROCK!!!"