#827: The Official Collagen of the Chicago Cubs and Other Dumb Corporate Partnerships

August 9th, 2017 § permalink

Wrigleyville when the Cubs aren’t playing is a desolate place.

The economy has girded itself to boom and bust. The lines of bars stand vacant, save for a barkeep idly tapping an iPad or a geared-up waitress in V-neck T and skirt staring longingly out the window. The empty merch stores get a rare chance to straighten their wares and even the beggars seem content to let the odd passerby go unquestioned.

At the field that feeds the neighborhood, the TV screens on the upper level outdoor bar patio show a multicolor test pattern, as the famous Wrigley sign sings an electronic message to lonely, fanless streets:

“Vital Proteins, Official Collagen of the Chicago Cubs” » Read the rest of this entry «

#723: It’s Time We Talk About the Cubs and Trump, Part 2 of 2

December 9th, 2016 § permalink

On Wednesday, I laid out some of the tight political and financial ties between the family of Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts and President-elect Donald Trump.

This is all leading up to me deciding if I can still support the team that means baseball to me. » Read the rest of this entry «

#722: It’s Time We Talk About the Cubs and Trump, Part 1 of 2

December 7th, 2016 § permalink

This is a less-typical 1,001 Chicago Afternoons, in that it’s not about an amazing local Chicagoan, observations from the sidewalks or me saying “fuck” 8,000 times and then deleting it because I remembered my mom reads the site.

I’m going to use this space to lay out some thoughts on the Chicago Cubs’ ties to President-elect Donald Trump and, on Friday, decide if as a moral person, I can continue to support the team I love. » Read the rest of this entry «

#708: Joy in Mudville

November 4th, 2016 § permalink

When I was a kid, I thought Chicago was a perpetual carnival.

It was a place where the Cubs lost and the Sox won, but I didn’t care because the Sox were pooey dumb-dumb heads who smelled like poo. And I loved the Cubs. » Read the rest of this entry «

#654: The Cubless Cubs Game

July 1st, 2016 § permalink

The crush of meatflesh oozing out of the Red Line at Addison.

The bars. The crowds. The water bottle and bootleg T-shirt vendors hawking wares and the how-are-they-not-arrested scalpers yelling “Tickets! Tickets! I got extra!” from their pre-arranged Wrigley stoops.

Slow cruises of suburbanite SUVs trickling slowly, slowly down Clark looking for that holiest of Grails, a cheap parking spot by the field. » Read the rest of this entry «

#653: The Patron Saint of the Belly-Itchers

June 29th, 2016 § permalink

Catch. Throw. “Ah, I overthought it.”

Catch. Throw. “I could feel it slipping.”

Catch. Throw. “Oof. Sorry, Dan.”

As I mentioned last month, I’ve been asked to throw out the first pitch at an upcoming Kane County Cougars minor league baseball game in August. I’m sort of a sports Einstein (in that I play like an elderly physicist), so for the last several weeks I’ve been practicing.

I know I’m not going to get great, but as visions of 50 Cent’s and Snoop Dogg’s humiliating first pitches swirled my brain (and Carly Rae Jepsen’s was no prize either), I decided to drive to the suburbs once a week to get pitching lessons from a friend who coaches his son’s Little League team. » Read the rest of this entry «

#643: Who I Want to Be

June 6th, 2016 § permalink

He shuffled into the train, a thin, fussy old white man wearing New Balance sneakers over brown socks.

He wore light khakis. He wore a checked button-up shirt under a cardigan under another cardigan.

He looked around, his fine mustache twitching, and found a spot. From his canvas bag advertising the Environmental Law and Policy Center, he pulled a folded-over copy of the New York Times. He pushed his thin bifocals up on his nose, twitched the ‘stache a time or two more and proceeded to read the Times, article by article, in order. » Read the rest of this entry «

#534: Error on the Play

September 25th, 2015 § permalink

Ring ring.


“Hi… We’re still friends, right?”


“The tickets were for last night’s game.”

Loud laughter. » Read the rest of this entry «

#516: Leaving Wrigley

August 14th, 2015 § permalink

The hot dogs had been eaten, the seventh inning stretched.

We had finished our beers, sang our “Take Me Outs” and, after a 10-inning nail biter saved when Montero cracked a walk-off homer to left field, had screamed and cheered and sang “Go Cubs Go.” The Brewers fan who had heckled and flicked off the field the whole game slunk off with two beautiful friends. » Read the rest of this entry «

#471: The Fan

May 1st, 2015 § permalink

There’s always someone who loves baseball more than you do.

I went to Wrigley. I did the things. $8.50 beer, $5.75 hot dog, $49.50 hoodie because I misjudged the chill night breeze.

We sat and laughed and watched the Cubs lose badly, cutting out early when the game got too dire.

That’s a thing you do at Wrigley too.

Then came the man in the bathroom. » Read the rest of this entry «

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