The Rookie

rookie

Now if you have seen the film, it’s about a High School coach who has a great arm and agrees to try out for a Major League team if his HS team wins the championship. He does and although he turns up to the try-outs with his kids, he makes the cut.

Although I have been to a good few Baseball games at the Yankees and the wonderful Terry and Alan took me to see the Blue Jays, probably my first experience of American sports and I still have the top bought for me in my Loft. This is my first experience of the Chicago Cub’s – World Beaters and as usual, I have a story to tell, I was almost assaulted by one of those ballers.

I’m up early to watch the mighty Liverpool and cook some brekkie. Kitchen to masel and Eggy Bread and Coffee is the order of the day. The game is unfortunately piss poor, so hopes for F1 qually to be better and it’s not the case.  I take the time to map out my route up and back, as I have to pick up a pair of tailored trousers sometime after the game and before 9pm. The first pitch is 1.30pm, so not much time to hang around, I head for the ‘Chicago’ Red Line stoop that takes you right to the stadium.

The first thing that’s apparent is how accessible everything is for your average punter. I walk off the train and the stadium is a street away, adorned with bars, restaurants, food sellers, shirt and cap sellers and obviously, yer ticket touts and the likes. We don’t have this back home, In Scotland they want to keep any form of licensed businesses, apart from the food trucks, far away as possible. After soaking up this atmosphere, the USA way is waaay better, but that’s just my opinion.

I get to the ticket booth, agree where to sit and its $37 plus tax, cheap as chips baby. Through security is a breeze and it’s a dog and a beer for Wardy. A quick chat as I eat my dog and I head up to my seat. Mini stall beer sellers, selling also monkey nuts and popcorn, they’re on every level, as well as the guys with the boxes round their necks. One stall is selling Stella in cans, so I quickly scoop up and but another and head for my seat, which was easy to find and I’m settled in.

Chatting away to those around, there is this one drunk guy that comes into our row. He’s in a proper bleeze, but his friends phone him and he heads off – Just like a Scotland game I think and I begin to tell the chap behind me about Hampden, home games and a terrible explanation about what Buckfast wine is. The game is about to start, but first the star spangled banner is blasted out and sung with perfection by the Wardster – Game on.

In the 3rd inning the Cubs score a run – woo hoo. I’m off to the right, looking from home plate, just beyond the foul ball line, right at the back fence and it’s a great view for my ticket price. I reach into my pocket, pull out my monkey nuts and as I am opening the bag, the boy hits the ball and everyone stands up (I’m already standing), the ball is travelling towards me at some great pace and in the seconds or two before it arrives, I’m truly bricking it. Not because the ball will hit me, no. As everyone desperately tries to grab the ball, I’m worried about the ricochet and getting it in the mush. I think about putting up my hand to grab it but I don’t. Instead I spill my nuts. grrrrr

Everyone misses the ball, it whizzes right by me, like inches away and hits the fence to the side of me and drops at my feet. Now, I stand as about 3 people, two guys and one girl desperately, and I mean desperately push each other to get the ball, right at my feet. The guy with the blue cap and top in the photo about 5 down got it and showed it to the world, lots of hi5 slapping and whoop whoops – good for him. However, this fool played on this for the rest of the game. The boy in front who was getting beers and missed it, was told by his buddy and what he missed and then said ‘that guy there caught the ball man’. The boys bint gives it ‘ Yeh he did, he’s my man’ and the boy goes woo. Now Wardy being Wardy, says ‘You never caught the ball, you picked it up brother’ and fair play to him, he says before you, which is 100% accurate and I’m so stoked! Anyway, the bleeting goes on for the rest of the game.

The sun is out and with the wind, I get burned yet again. At the seventh inning, they get Jim Belushi (actor) to sing the Cubs song and throughout the game, its a great experience with music being played, hot dog and nut sellers right to your set as well as some steady flowing Goose IPA 312. It cost a couple of dollars more than the stall sellers, but saves getting up.

What’s strange is that tons of people not only come in at the end of the second inning to fill some seats at a reduced price. From the seventh inning onwards, there’s  steady flow of people coming in, young family’s and couples, with no set seats, just looking to sit anywhere. I’m thinking they open the gates and just let people wander in to catch the game. Maybe its a one out one in thing or people hand over their used tickets to strangers, I am not sure and did not want to ask.

I hang around when the game ends and the dad of the young family behind me who came in late says, is this your season ticket seat, you look like your getting a tan in this seat. I laugh and say this was only today, I’m a visitor! I stroll out and have a wander down the road to find a bar called ‘The Duke of Perth’, I was told about by a man about Chicago town. It is owned by a chap originally from Speyside and it has a Scottish feel, with the whiskeys and how it is decorated with a stags head, maps and pictures of men in kilts. Right next door is a doozy record store and I almost bit the Kinks, live at Carnegie Hall for $40 on vinyl.

It’s a great day out at the baseball and they make it a superb family experience and despite all the drink on offer, it’s well stewarded and policed and there are zero incidents to mention. Entertainment all the way baby and I would recommend to anyone, to take in a game. The whole thing only takes about 2.5-3 hours and a great way to fill an afternoon. They play music and have adverts in between the innings and each batsman has a favourite song they come out to. I fair enjoyed masel.

Cheerie

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