Dodgers at Cubs, Thursday 09/06

Continuing our series of overlong, self-indulgent and not the least bit timely game recaps, here is one from the September 6th Cubs game vs. the Dodgers. It was a bit of a mini TMS meet up, with Chip, Dave Thomas and Chaim all along for the ride (and Mark, a co-worker of Chip). Just consider this insanely long piece three posts for the price of one!

DODGERS vs. CUBS, September 6th, 2007

Chip: Christ, like every Cubs game I go to these days, it all starts at the buttcrack of dawn with me leaving town around 6 am. Coming with me as usual is my friend from work Mark. The wife bakes us some kickass turnover deals stuffed with ham and cheese, and with that and a large cup of coffee, we embark down a virtually deserted I-88 to Chicago. Mark was able to snag his sister's I-Pass so we could buzz through all the tolls with ease. (A quick aside. I love how the I-88 tollway is called the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway. Is that because the drive is so agonizingly boring that one has a tendency to forget who they are after a while on it?)

BERNIE'S

Chip
: After meeting up with Chaim, we take the bus up Ashland to Addison and walk a few blocks to Wrigleyville. We plan on meeting Dave at Bernie's. Never having actually seen him before we're relying on spotting him based on his detailed description of "I'll be wearing a red shirt and a Cubs hat." Not a whole lot of people at Bernie's when we arrive so we snag some stools right at the bar and commence to tie one on. Ahhh, that's the best $4.75 can of Old Style I've ever had.

Eventually Dave shows up and we converse as he shows off his iPhone. Just before we leave for Wrigley we notice the insane amount of people that are now pouring in, obviously having just gotten off one of the tour buses, thus making the majority of patrons at Bernie's Iowans.

Dave Thomas
: I walk into Bernie's looking for anything that says Thunder Matt and just as the bartender brings me my first Old Style I see the guys at the bar. After some casual banter about how it may or may not rain on us in the next few hours and a few drinks, we head over to the park.

Chaim: Looks like Chip did the heavy lifting for this post, so I will just throw in the occasional snarky aside. Bernie's. Good bar but lots of old guys that wear Hawaiian shirts and have really red faces. And really white hair. Think Santa Claus if he retired, shaved his beard and moved to Arizona. It's like an AARP convention every time.

BLEACHERS

Chip: This was my first time in the "Bud Light Bleachers". New seats, new concourse, same shitty urinal troughs. Some things never change. Someone forgot to give us the memo on where the Old Style is sold now. The old beerstands in the middle of the ramps have been replaced with ATM's. The Old Style vendor is now tucked away in the side concession stand under the scoreboard bleachers. We snagged some seats in left field. The only Thunder Matt sighting comes during BP when he's spotted talking to Juan Pierre in the outfield.The wide array of various Cubs hats seen was reaching new heights on the unintentional comedy scale. My personal favorites were the pink Cubs hat (on a dude), some old guy wearing a Cubs batting helmet (taking Glenallen Hill's advice a little too serious I see), a hunter's orange camouflage hat, and a tree bark camouflage hat. While I didn't see it, apparently a chick and some dude got into a fight one section over from us, which ended with the dude shoving the chick backwards down the bleachers. Classy. While I have no real evidence, I'm just gonna say they were wearing White Sox gear. 3:00 rolls around and I realize I haven't eaten anything since the breakfast my wife made me early that morning. "Hmmm, maybe I should grab a bite to ea- hey another Old Style! Thanks man."

Oh yeah, the game. Pretty good up until Ryan Dempster ruined it. I have not attended a Cubs game where the actually won since 2001. I blame the time in 2003 that we opted to scalp our tickets and watch the game over at Bernie's instead since we had bleacher seats the following day. Cubs beat the Cards that game and the next day we get rained out in the infamous Hurricane Buechele* game. Since then I haven't seen them win. The lesson kids, is don't ever be a Cubs fan, because after a while you come up with weird conspiracies and retarded curses and superstitions as to why these clowns always lose.

Dave Thomas
: I hadn't been in the bleachers since the renovation but they looked just about the same. More ATMs and micro brews have replaced the Bud Light and Old Style vendors. It took me an entire lap to find that they only sell Old Style in the main concessions counter under the scoreboard.

The bleachers are always a colorful crowd but this time I mean it literally. Between the guy to our right wearing a pink Cubs hat and the guy to our left wearing the orange and brown camo Cubs hat who wanted to make it painfully clear to everyone within earshot that he owned a salon, everyone was represented. There was a bit of a fight where a guy "tossed a girl down a few rows" but I can't confirm this since I was always the one sitting and holding the basketball during team pictures.

Chip started off the 8th inning by proclaiming the first song we should play on the jukebox at the Gingerman should be 'Baba O'Riley'. I think it's fair to place the blame for the impending Dempster collapse square on his shoulders. It should be noted that this declaration was fueled with the fine fresh taste of Old Style. At least it didn't rain.

Chaim: Remember how at the Media Social, Thunder lost his train of thought when he thought he saw Juan Pierre? Well no, you probably don't remember, but point being Thunder and Juan Pierre are besties.

First time I've been in the bleachers this year. With all that remodeling they did I wish they would have added seat backs. I'm getting old and need these creature comforts. I suppose one could argue that is part of the 'charm' of the bleachers but I would counter by making that person give me a backrub to work out all of the kinks.

Cubs lose as Dempster blows it. I place the blame on Chip's diabetes. We've got a good base of liquor in our systems and dangerously little food to counterbalance it.

GINGERMAN

Chip: "Hey, I really should probably think about eating something finally- Hey pitchers of PBR! Sweet!" I take it easy on pumping money in the jukebox as the dude before me appears to have paid for an entire box set worth of music. I plant some Thunder Matt's Saloon cards around the bar as part of my lame ass 'guerrilla marketing' campaign. All in all I probably just annoyed the barkeep who had to sweep them all off the floor at the end of the night. At one point Chaim and I began to clap loudly along to one of the songs playing, which somehow spurred on others to do so as well. I've always been a good loud clapper. Strangely this impresses no one. Mark being the oldest of the bunch begins to wear down, and starts refusing beer refills, telling us he needs to slow down. We acknowledge his wishes, but then continue to fill his glass while he's not looking or when he's in the can. With the will power of John Daly at a no stakes poker table, Mark continues to drink.

Dave Thomas
: I knew I had been to this place before. Sure enough all the drunken memories flooded back to me along with a few pitchers of PBR while we watched people scatter like fire ants as the skies opened up moments after we sat down. We listened to some music and waited out the downpour and then it was off to Merkle's.

Chaim: My life is spiraling out of control already. PBR is flowing like some of the mullets in this place. Jake and I clap loudly to some random song on the jukebox. No one seems to notice or care. $12 seems like a criminal price to charge for a pitcher of PBR, but given the prices in Wrigleyville, I suppose...none-the-less I consider calling the police to report this crime but after another $12 pitcher I forget.

MERKLE'S

Chip: This is when things get a little fuzzy. My recounting of details beyond this point may conflict with the others'. Having ditched my pro drinking status for an amateur card about 5 years ago, the copious amounts of Old Style and PBR with no food intake begins to take its toll, so we set out for some sustenance. As we walk down Clark Street, it seems no one can decide on where to go. I then make an executive decision and head into Merkle's. We tried to order two chicken nacho platters, which if you read my game recap from May, you'd know are gigantic. The waitress laughs and says we'll only need one. With our masculinity crushed, we reluctantly agree and order one nacho platter and some waters. Dave not taking this lying down, decides to rally the troops back to respectable manhood and orders a round of Jager-bombs. I'm quite certain that every incident that I can recall in my past involving Jagermeister resulted in my face being planted firmly inside a toilet bowl. So like the pussy I am, I sipped my Jager bomb, eventually handing it over to Mark, who had officially given up on life at that point to finish it off. Maybe I lost a shred of dignity, but I was able to keep my dinner in my belly. After destroying the first nacho platter, we ordered a second one just to spite the waitress, and toss in some fries and chicken strips for good measure!

Dave Thomas: We sat down and I ordered a beer and a round of Jager bombs for the group. They ordered water and the waitress asked if they'll be ok. They countered with an order of nachos. Touche. The food came and the guys dove in just as the Colts Saints game started. I convinced the waitress to take a shot of Rumpleminz with me after which I promptly head to the bathroom. I couldn't have been gone more than five minutes but when I got back there was not only another full platter of nachos on the table but some fries and chicken strips as well. We finished the food up and headed out. This was the point where I had to head home and ready myself for work in the morning. After the lackluster Jager bomb "incident" my faith that the others would get home was wavering but I left them to their own devices.

Chaim
: I hadn't done a Jager Bomb since my second tour of duty in 'Nam. For good reason I think. Ken brings over the glasses and it's overwhelming size is reminiscent of a Big Gulp. It takes me three tries to finish it off. Mama would be proud of her baby boy. We play a random movie game that is kind of like '6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon' where one person names and actor or a movie and then next one has to name something else they have been in or someone else in that movie. The game always ends with Mark, despite our numerous attempts to give him hints. Chip dusts the cobwebs off of Rick Ducommun. At this point in my life I'm not accountable for my actions. I killed a man in the bathroom.

BATTING CAGES

Chip: As we left Merkle's, we parted ways with Dave and were walking up Clark for what was appearing to be the journey back to Chaim's place when we pass Sluggers. The following exchange then took place.
Me: "Hey Sluggers, don't they have batting cages?"
Chaim: "Um, yeah."
Me: "Hey Mark! Batting cages!"
Mark: "Let's go!"
We started out with the slow pitch machine, which apparently was too "easy", despite that fact that our drunk asses couldn't hit 50% of what was thrown at us. So we moved on to the fast pitch machine, where we couldn't hit a god damn thing. Nothing like watching your friends swing wildly at chest-high fastballs. One ball ricocheted back and nailed me in the shoulder blade. Mark walked to the back corner of the place and fell asleep on a bench. We eventually moved on to air hockey on what was easily the worst air hockey tables in the world. In fact I think they advertise that on their door. That shit had huge gaping holes in the surface, hardly any air came through, and there were sticky spots from spilled beverages that appeared to be days old. Mark came to, and joined us, just in time for the dude working to kick us out. Not for being rowdy so much as we were the only stupid fuckers left in the place and he wanted to lock up and go home.

We get back to Chaim's to crash for the night where I have to convince Mark that going back out is a bad idea, despite his thinking otherwise. I think it was the second Jager bomb that sent him over the edge. Eventually after explaining to him that unless he was handy with a switchblade, we probably didn't stand a chance at one of the bars in Chaim's neighborhood, logic prevailed.

Chaim: Nothing like trying to catch up with an 80 MPH heater when you can't even see straight. I was seeing four different balls come at me and had to make crucial decisions as to which ball to swing at. Can I just say, worst bats ever? No plastic tubing on the handles, just masking tape, so that every time you made contact it took a year off your life. Seriously, no matter how solid you would hit the ball (not that we had many 'solid hits') it would send tremors through your hands that traveled all the way to the deepest recesses of your soul.

We head home and I try to blowup the air mattress for my guests. I sit there on the floor, despondent as the mattress doesn't seem to be blowing up. I notice a good sized gash in the mattress. Must be Chip's diabetes. I continue to try to blow it up, despite the fact that air is hissing out of it nothing less than an astonishing pace. I am sad and confused. I finally give up and just lay the flattened air mattress on the floor as a 'base' for Mark to lay on. Throwing them a few blankets and wishing them 'good luck with that', I retire to my bedroom, defeated and drunk, with dreams of a better tomorrow. And another nacho platter.

And now what you kids seem to be clamoring for these days. Game photos!

For the 6 of you that didn't know, didn't care, or was raised by wolves in the wilderness, this is what the front of Wrigley looks like.


Thunder Matt, fraternizing with the enemy. You can't tell but Matt is gazing in Juan Pierre's direction. "IDK, my BFF Juan."


This picture is a metaphor of Jock's relationship with the fans during his Chicago tenure.


Unintentional comedy hat #1 of 4. His girlfriend was pretty hot though. Apparently he owns a salon and is an avid hunter.


His playing days long behind him, we find Hector Villanueva outside the stadium in a weiner costume dancing and posing for the passersby in exchange for some bus fare and menthol cigarettes.


The jukebox at Gingerman. For the record, Baba O'Riley is not in it. Note in the bottom righthand corner of the jukebox window there's a small Thunder Matt's Saloon card.


Chaim trying to channel his inner-Julio Franco, while we anxiously await any possible nutshots.


Nice hack from Chip, despite the diabetes, as he channels his inner-Ron Santo. Unfortunately he can only muster up his inner-Ron Cedeno.



*Some day we'll tell you kids the legendary story of Hurricane Buechele. (staring off into the middle distance with a look of despair and somber remembrance) Some day...

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