The Great American Bro'd Trip Day 4
Escaping the mullets after a Blackhawks' Stanley Cup party
After several frozen cocktails at Under the Volcano on empty stomachs, converted Houstonians Jeremy C. Little (a publicist) and Colin “Dabbo” Dabbs (a junior high history teacher) finally decided to do it. Eight days, 10 Major League ballparks, the Budweiser brewery, and enough fried food to give Carlos Lee the gout. It’s the Great American Bro'd Trip and this is the account of day four.
Day Four: Milwaukee to South Bend, Indiana — 183 miles
Like going back to a bar in daylight
Ever been in a bar in daylight?
That’s what we were expecting on a return trip to Miller Park for a look-see under the morning sun. Much to our surprise, from the outside the building is quite striking as is the rest of Milwaukee in daylight. Bonus points for the impressive little league field located adjacent to the ball field, which we somehow missed the night before while weaving our way through the beer drenched masses.
The inside, however, remained inexplicably dark, even with the roof open on this bright, sunny day. Minute Maid Park, on the other hand, is brightly lit and cheerful under any circumstances. At least Houston baseball fans have something to be proud of. Hey, 2005 was a lot of fun. Right?
Blatant false advertising
Spotted on I-94 South between Milwaukee and Chicago: Bong Recreation Area, Exit 340 (too bad it wasn’t Exit 420).
The Medina to Fenway's Mecca
If Boston’s Fenway Park is America’s most beloved ballpark — and it is — then Chicago’s Wrigley Field is a close and worthy No. 2. Built in 1914 for the Chicago Federals of the defunct Federal League, Wrigley Field remains happily lost in time; an enduring relic of an era when men wore hats and ties to ballgames.
If professional football is about grandiose spectacle, and pro basketball is about star power, baseball is about reverence for its own history, and only John Updike’s “lyric little bandbox” in the Fenway section of The Hub has more of it than the ivy walls in Wrigleyville. Unfortunately, we were going to Chicago's other baseball stadium.
Before heading to U.S. Cellular Field for another division rivalry — this time the AL Central’s Tigers and White Sox — we took a 90-minute tour of the “friendly confines” of historic Wrigley Field though.
Our fantastic tour guides, John and Darrell, were a knowledgeable pair of grizzled Cubs lifers. As recently as October 26, 2004, Red Sox fans and Cubs fans were kindred spirits — cursed and doomed to eternal heart break:The Red Sox by a fat, whiskey-soaked Yankees slugger, and the Cubs by a vindictive bar owner with a goat fetish. While The Bambino no longer haunts the hallowed halls of Fenway, Bill Sianis and his beloved goat still give Moises Alou night terrors.
Hang in there, Cubbies. If Mark Bellhorn can win a World Series ring, anyone can.
Reevaluating the Cell and the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup championship
I attended two Red Sox-White Sox games at U.S. Cellular Field back in 2005 while in Chicago for my oldest brother’s bachelor party. Not surprisingly, the only thing I remember about our weekend in the Windy City is that Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk threw out the first pitch in game one, and Mr. T threw out the first pitch in game two while wearing Hanes heavy duty socks (get it?) and a pair of American flag pants.
The cinder block stadium built in Chicago’s rough and tumble South Side has gotten a great deal of flack since opening in 1991 for looking like a prison. Given the neighborhood, the jokes write themselves.
Having experienced the giant beer advertisement that is Miller Park the night before, U.S. Cellular, by contrast, was a low-key, comfortable environment. In terms of advertising saturation, it bares a closer resemblance to crosstown Wrigley than Milwaukee’s Miller. Despite the Chicago Blackhawks game taking place simultaneously in Philadelphia, a healthy crowd turned out to watch their Sox thrash the Tigers 15-3 in just over two and a half hours.
The highlight of the night came in the second inning when Dabbo’s Facebook friend Juan Pierre robbed the Tigers of a sure homerun with a leaping snag over the wall.
Following the victory fireworks (gimmicky but fun), a handful stayed to watch the end of the Blackhawks game on the Jumbortron. The overtime win in game six secured the city’s first Stanley Cup since John Kennedy was in the White House.
Having witnessed six Boston championships over the past decade (three Super Bowls, two World Series, and an NBA title) I knew it was time to head for Indiana, and Dabbo and I made a desperate dash for the car. Last thing we needed was to have our ride lit up like a roman candle by an overexcited guy with a mullet.
Douche/Not a Douche: The nonexistent douche
I really didn’t see this one coming, but U.S. Cellular Field seemed to be douche-free. I guess greased up Chicago thugs don’t like the White Sox. Who knew? You stay classy, Chicago.