01 June 2010

Beer and Brats, Wrigleyville, and Detroit Rock City

Milwaukee - Mets/Brewers Photos

Well this should be a mighty big post since we've been thousands of miles since Atlanta if you count the flight to Milwaukee. We arrived at the airport there to pick up the rental car, and I believe we had our choice of a Toyota Corolla or a Chevy HHR (both extremely dull and boring, but functional). We happened to notice a brand new Camaro in the lot as well and had to ask just in case. The guy told us we could have it for an extra $10 a day. So of course being young males full of testosterone and gasoline, we opted for good ol' American muscle and haven't looked back. Sure it's a little cramped for three, but since Kyle is dropping off after Detroit, we'd rather look cool than be practical.


Oh, and as fate would have it...

...the tag is from Sweet Home Alabama!

After leaving the airport, we went to the Miller Brewing Company and took the tour of their facilities. We were forced to endure what amounted to a propaganda video for Miller Beer which sounded something like Duffman from the Simpsons would narrate. To give you an idea, one line from the video was, "when you reach that time of the night and you're trying to meet that special someone, it's always Miller Time." Lame. At the end of the tour, we did get a few samples of beer, which was the high point of the tour.

We moved over to Miller Park, which was quite a sight with it's huge retractable roof. The Brewers really hooked us up with some nice seats right behind home plate. No special ceremonies or tributes, just pure, unadulterated baseball in the heartland. Corey Hart put on a show, hitting a grand slam in his first AB and a two-run shot in his second. The game was a slugfest, with no half frame going scoreless over the first five innings. The Brewers won 8-6, which makes for a good day anytime the Mets lose.

Chicago - Cardinals/Cubs Photos

That night, we headed for Wilmette, a suburb of America's coolest city, Chicago. There, we went to the house of Rhona DiCamillo, a friend of a friend who was kind enough to take us in for the night. Her and her husband Joe already have a full house with three young boys, who are terrific by the way. She took us to a nice restaurant in the morning for pancakes and eggs and fruit and all that deliciousness. We got a tour of the area, which I'm pretty sure is the place I was destined to live at some point.


After saying our goodbyes, we headed to the Mecca of baseball in my humble opinion. Wrigley is a swarm of activity, even hours before a game. We were given a parking pass to the Blue Lot right next to the stadium and were greeted by Katie Marta, the Cubs Special Events/Entertainment Coordinator and all around Supergal who has the hook up with all kinds of folks as you'll soon see.


She took us down to the field where we met Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Stevens, James Russell, and Sean Marshall. All the players were great and signed a baseball for us and took photos which you can see on the link above. After meeting the players, we were introduced to Jeremy Roenick, former NHL player and now hockey commentator/super cool guy.

He said if we were going to be in town, he would get us tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals. I'm praying that the series goes 7 games so that Game 7 would be on the 11th of June when I'll be back in Chicago. Would that be too much to ask for? I think not. I was then completely surprised with a personalized jersey from Katie and the Cubs. Did I mention she's got the hook up? Normally, that would constitute a great day if it ended there, but there was much more. We got a personal guided tour of Wrigley, which included the Press Box, where we met Bob Brenly, the manager of the 2001 World Champion Diamondbacks and Cubs TV color man.

Before the game, I was scheduled to be honored on the field (in uniform of course) for my service I guess. I think they would've taken any Soldier with it being Memorial Day weekend, but I suppose I'll do. As we were waiting down on the field for the ceremony to start, the new owners of the Cubs, Pete and Tom Ricketts, as well as the Governor of the great State of Illinois, Pat Quinn, joined us on the field for a photo op.



Not bad for a day's work right? Right after I was honored in front of everyone and perhaps national television as well, I got to meet Lou Pinella before the National Anthem, where Challenger the bald eagle landed on the mound. Sadly, I didn't see this whole episode as I was rendering a salute to the colors.


After changing out of my uniform, we were shown to our seats by Katie, which were right behind the plate of course (would you expect anything else from them?). After catching a few innings of baseball, we were whisked up to the Press Box again to be shown how to operate the scoreboard and ACTUALLY GOT TO OPERATE THE SCOREBOARD AT WRIGLEY FIELD. Yes, it was awesome enough to warrant all caps. So when Alfonso Soriano came to the plate, I was the one who put in the batter number and Kyle and Jay got to do the same with other players as well. We also met the organist and Mr. Ron Santo, who is a Cubs legend if you didn't already know. Ron also works provides color commentary for the Cubs radio broadcast.



After leaving the Press Box, we headed to the PNC Club, which is slang for "chock full of celebrities". We were only able to meet some guy named John Cusack (who rides a moped to every game btw) and BJ Armstrong, former Bulls guard and on that day, the guest conductor for the 7th Inning Stretch.




The Cubs were absolutely pummeled 9-1, thanks mostly to the bat of Prince Albert Pujols, who jacked two solo homers and a two-run bomb. His first two couldn't be contained by the Friendly Confines. After the game we hit Trace Chicago, a bar right down the street from Wrigley with Katie in tow. We were scheduled to leave for Detroit that night, but decided that Chicago was just too much fun, so we ended up staying out way too long and got maybe an hour or two of sleep before leaving at 6:15 the next morning for Detroit. At another bar that night, we met up with Jeremy Roenick again. Another hockey player, Matthew Barnaby, was there as well. All in all, THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE. On top of that, I cannot foresee a day that will EVER top it. Katie was extremely worried that another team or city would be better than the Cubs and I can tell you right now, that is absolutely impossible. So there you go Ms. Ultra-Competitive Katie; your record appears to be safe for all time. I may actually be a closet Cubs fan now, and that's saying something :)


Detroit - A's/Tigers Photos

Our road trip then headed to Detroit, which is about four or five hours from Chicago. We got to Comerica Park a few hours before scheduled game time where once again, I was scheduled to be honored on the field again and to deliver the game ball to the mound. However, Mother Nature had other plans and delayed first pitch by about two and a half hours. We did get to meet Johnny Damon before the game, which was pretty cool. He was the only player we got to meet in Detroit, so again Katie it appears the Cubs record is safe for at least one more day.






The game wasn't so great for the home team, as the Tigers lost to the A's 4-1. The Tigers continually left men on base and couldn't deliver a clutch hit.


We're now in Pittsburgh with Jay's girlfriend Caitlin's parents and will be heading downtown very soon to catch tonight's Cubs/Pirates game at PNC Park. My apologies for taking so long to get everyone updated, but we've had connectivity and time issues to deal with. We have a lot of video to add, but technical issues have come up on that front. We'll get that addressed when we can.

video video

2 comments:

  1. KEVIN THAT IS SO EXTREMELY COOL!!! I love this!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kev! This is more than AWESOME! I'm so glad that you're getting to do all this. Love you. :)

    ReplyDelete