It’s been nearly a month now but I’m sure you all still want to hear about our trip to Chicago. My bff has lived in Chicago for several years now. I’m embarrassed to say that I think it’s been 5 years or more and we’ve yet to visit him. Compounding this ridiculousness is the fact that Cute Boy’s bff also lives in Chicago. We did visit him once…6 years ago. That was a great trip for us. We saw almost everything Chicago has to see and we left…betrothed!
Sadly, each year we attempt to plan a trip and something always gets in the way. Last year when we couldn’t get our schedules together I promised Harvard that 2013 would be the year. We flew in on a Thursday and after doing very well on the plane (the wine may have helped) and a short train ride we made it to our hotel. I’d booked a supa cheap room at the JW and I warned Cute Boy that this would be the nicest hotel we’d ever stayed at. It didn’t disappoint.
And I took a photo of the bed. Weird.
Harvard was working (at 10pm) so Cute Boy and I grabbed a quick drink and dinner in the hotel bar.
The next morning we woke up early, had breakfast and headed out the door for our only tourist activity of the trip: a tour of Wrigley Field.
When we were in DC one of our favorite activities was a tour of the baseball stadium. After that experience we started researching other tours. Turns out Nationals Ballpark has one of the best tours around. Tons of access you won’t see in other towns. Still, we wanted to see what Wrigley had to offer. Growing up I watched alot of Cubs baseball. I’m still not sure why but my Dad has always had a thing for Chicago. My entire childhood I remember asking him, as he put on his shoes, “Where are you going?” his answer was always, “Chicago.” You just can’t get a straight answer out of the guy! I sent him the above photo as we waited for our tour to begin. I knew he’d be excited for me.
The tour wasn’t as good as it could have been simply because it was a gameday. That meant there was less access to places like the clubhouse and bullpen. Still, we learned a lot and saw most of what there was to see at Wrigley.
The only MLB Stadiums I’ve ever been to are: Kansas City, St. Louis, and Washington DC. What do those 3 stadiums have in common? They are all relatively new. Wrigley is old. Like built in 1914 old. The bleachers and scoreboard were built in 1937. Little has been changed about the ballpark since it was built. Needless to say, it was small. And older than I’m used to. Not sure what I expected of this historic ballpark but it just seemed so…small.
Due to the fact that the stadium was built in 1914 there wasn’t a lot to see:
Our guide told this crazy story about how still to this day only men work in the scoreboard during games to update the scores of different ballgames. It’s partly because there is no ac or heat in the scoreboard and partly because the “bathroom” is a hole.
He also told us that until recently the Cubs did not receive any revenue made by the folks that owned the rooftop seats. It wasn’t until the team officials decided to build a 90 foot backdrop to cut down on that famous Chicago wind (riiiight) that the owners of the rooftops started giving a SMALL portion of their sales to the team.
Seating in the outfield provided a very upclose view of the field. If you wanted to you could cause some problems from those seats.
Our guide also told us about the “Bleacher Bums” and he alluded to the idea that he might have been one. Due to their antics in the 70s the net above was added. It is said that it was added to catch items that fans might drop but it’s quite obvious it’s to catch actual fans. The wall was also pitched the way it is now due to their antics. Apparently once every game, 2 fans would stand at opposite ends of the wall. They’d start running towards each other and whomever reached the other side first, won. I’m sure you can imagine, as I did, that there were a lot of fans who didn’t complete the run.
As I mentioned, the Cubs had a game a few hours after our tour. They played the Cardinals that day and while we didn’t attend the game there were already numerous people on the field affiliated with the teams. I took photos of everyone I saw, convinced they were someone famous.
Even though we didn’t get to go in the bullpen or clubhouse we did get to step onto the field and take some photos.
After the tour we headed to a bar where some people were pregaming. I got some Chicago-style pizza. And a beer.
After lunch we went to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank to check out the money museum. Seriously. Cute Boy literally RAN to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in DC so when he found out we could visit the Federal Reserve Bank he was very excited. For the record I was going to take him to KC Federal Reserve Bank for his birthday but it’s only open on weekdays and it’s seeding season. The guard at the entrance had a total power complex and when we walked in the door asked, “What are you doing here?” Dude, chill. I just want to see the money! We made it through the medal detector and got to see very important stuff. Like this floor of change:
And these bills:
Oh, and this happened:
Later that evening we met up with Harvard, his brother, Cute Boy’s BFF and his wife for dinner. While I failed to take a SINGLE photo of any of us I did take a photo of my champagne at dinner. Priorities. It reminded me of “An affair to remember” because it was pink and in a tulip glass.
Harvard and his brother said they frequent the restaurant we went to because they serve Boulevard beer. You can see on the menu, “Kansas City, MO”. I didn’t even plan that.
We had the most fun night ever and stayed out much later than our old bodies are used to. Perhaps we drank more than we’re used to as well. Cute Boy also took this photo of the view from Harvard’s apartment. I barely remember that we were at his apartment.
The next day Cute Boy and I spent a good deal of time napping and watching Netflix on the iPad. Later that evening we headed out to Cute Boy’s BFF and his wive’s new condo. They had just moved in that very day. We had a great time and headed out to dinner at a restaurant near by. It was my kind of place. Lots of local ingredients and wine. I again failed to take any photos of people but did photograph my meal:
The next day we checked out of our awesome hotel and flew back to Kansas City. It was a short but much needed vacation. We’ll have to do it more often. And perhaps take some photos!