Archive for the ‘wrigley field’ Category

benchwarming for jesus

August 1, 2008

I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t happen to go to Sunday games, or because I generally didn’t have bleacher seats and thus wouldn’t show up early, but it took me until this year to notice that at Sunday games since 9/11, the PA guy at Wrigley will ask you to stand not only for the national anthem, but also for God Bless America.

Regular readers of my blog can probably tell how I feel about that.

For new readers, let me say that I don’t like the progression:

World where we don’t sing God Bless America

Terrorist Attack

“Please stand for God Bless America”

I don’t see how that’s a logical progession. God Bless America is not, to my knowledge, the national anthem. Please note that I am not against the playing of God Bless America in general. You are entitled to sing the song, you are entitled to hope that God does in fact bless America, you are entitled to hope that God damns America, or you can just hum along with the smug knowledge that even if God existed, he would be too busy using His powers to watch Rachel McAdams undress to bless any particular sovereign nation or autonomous territory.

Long sentence. Sorry.

So my objection is that I am asked to stand for God Bless America, which is immediately followed by the Star-Spangled Banner. So I don’t do it, although I am pretty sure I am the only person in the ballpark who doesn’t. I sit through God Bless America and I stand for the national anthem. I suppose if you are a real die-hard asshole, you can protest W, the military-industrial complex, the war in Iraq, etc., and not stand for the national anthem either. But I’m not that big an asshole, and for all its problems, I love my country and the principles it stands for, which are symbolized by the flag that the anthem celebrates, so I stand.

Those principles, by the way, include those embodied in the Constitution, which prohibits laws establishing a religion. So this Sunday, when I’m back at Wrigley, I’ll be sitting again during God Bless America, because it’s not my anthem, and to my ears is completely meaningless, and nobody can tell me to stand.

Shalom, bitches.

guide to wrigley field

May 2, 2008

Would you like to go to a baseball game in Chicago? Do you find the thought of visiting the South Side repulsive? Then this guide to Mars Wrigley Field is for you.

Bleachers – First things first – where do you want to sit? If you are feeling like you might want to get particularly sunburnt and particularly drunk, the bleachers are for you. The bleachers not only offer knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans, they also provide meaningful entertainment when the game is a little boring. For example, when the game is dull, if you are in the left field bleachers, it is customary to yell “Right Field sucks!” If you are in right field, do your best to brush off the stinging criticism, and turn the tables by chanting “Left Field sucks!” If you are sitting in center field, continue to lay low, as nobody has pointed out that center field sucks to date, even when Felix Pie is playing.

Beer – The traditional choice of Cub fans is Old Style. I’ve never really understood why Old Style is the official beer of the Chicago Cubs, as it is brewed in Milwaukee. I mean, come on, their team is called the MILWAUKEE BREWERS. Fortunately, you can sidestep this conflict of interest, as many beer guys also offer Budweiser products, which are brewed in St. Louis, where no major league teams exist.

Urinals – After you’ve rented enough Old Styles or Buds, you’ll eventually feel compelled to give them back. The traditional place to do that is on the wall of any apartment building in a three-block radius of the stadium, but if the game isn’t over yet, you will have to settle for the troughs. That’s right, Wrigley field features a lot of good old fashioned trough-style urinals – the kind that these folks are having so much fun with. Even these mass receptacles can’t prevent huge lines, though. One wonders if the troughs will someday give way to a simple grated floor that will sluice waste products away to Waveland Ave. That hydrant that’s always open in front of the fire station can wash the street down.

The men’s bathrooms may be bad – but don’t even get me started on the women’s troughs.

Scoreboard – The Wrigley scoreboard is manually operated by Tribune Co. employees who have been convicted of embezzlement. This punishment is severe. Changing the numbers in the brutal summer heat is bad enough, but at least there’s a ballgame to watch. Trust me, the guys in the scoreboard are BORED AS HECK all winter.

After games, a flag is raised over the scoreboard. It is either a W or an L. The “W” flag stands for “water” and dates back to the 1760s, when the War of 1812 was going on. The “water” flag meant that British Redcoats were coming to Chicago (then a major railyard) through the St. Lawrence seaway and the Great Lakes. This flag is still raised from time to time just to keep neighborhood residents on their toes. An “L” flag stands for “land” and is customarily flown whenever Kerry Wood has a save opportunity.

Ronnie Woo-Woo – Wrigley Field is a magical place. It is the only place where North Siders will voluntarily touch a whooping homeless man. Ronnie Woo-Woo likes to keep up a steady stream of encouraging banter, mostly along the lines of “Cubs, WOO! Cubs, WOO! Pinella, WOO! Cubs, WOO!” It is obnoxious as all hell. All Cubs fans think so. However, each Cubs fan thinks that all other Cubs fans cherish Ronnie Woo-Woo, and thus each Cubs fan refrains from speaking out lest he be branded a pariah. Clearly a product of the same groupthink mindset that allows Cubs fans to convince themselves that they have been watching a team with the capability to win the World Series, every year for the last century, when deep down, they know they are hosed from day one.

Seventh Inning Stretch – In the middle of the seventh-inning, a local has-been will lead the crowd in a song. This is done mostly to celebrate the memory of a beloved sportscaster, Harry Caray, who became more beloved with each successive stroke he suffered. He’d sing the seventh-inning stretch and then he’d go back to pronouncing Jeremi Gonzalez’s first name as “Jerem-EYE,” and giving birthday shout-outs to Cubs fans who were purportedly watching somewhere outside Peoria, but were more likely figments of Harry’s imagination. “Happy Birthday to Ethel and Stanley Smorgasbord from Decatur. Stanley’s turning 95 today and he met his wife when she tried to rustle a sow from his uncle’s pigpen! Lifelong Cubs fan.”

Anyway, the deal is, just sing along, and if you are from out of town, you substitute “Cubbies” for “home team.” If the Cubs are losing at the time of the stretch, the song is followed by an exhortation: “Let’s get some runs!”

If you’ve eaten enough food from Wrigley vendors, that won’t be a problem for you.

Actually the WGN guys singing a SECOND stretch, in the 15th inning of a game last year