Have you ever been at a boring game at Wrigley Field and found yourself wondering what it's like to watch a game from one of the rooftops on Waveland or Sheffield?
The barbecue smoke regularly wafts over right field. The booze appears to be flowing freely. And all of those beautiful people look like they are having so much fun.
Thanks to a fundraiser I attended and a bit of stupidity on my part, I watched parts of Thursday's game between the Cubs and Giants at Wrigley Field from two rooftops.
It was a good night to go on such a fact-finding mission because, although I was right across the street from the action and much of the field was is in clear view, I did not feel like I was attending a game. It was difficult to concentrate on the action. The vibe I get from attending a game at the Friendly Confines was absent. But in a game in which the Cubs lose 13-0, I did not lay in bed later that night feeling remorseful.
My evening began at the Newport Bar & Grill at the Cubs Fans Report fan appreciation party. It was nice to be invited to the event and I enjoyed meeting that site's founder, Andrew Hilsberg and editor-in-chief Joel Reese. It also was a treat to talk Cubs baseball with Tales from Aisle 424 author Tim McGinnis. And thanks for the beverage, Andrew and Joel.
While I was talking to those guys I was half-paying attention as the Cubs unraveled on the TV monitors in front of me. As I was walking out the door, Juan Uribe was hitting a grand slam - his second home run of the inning - to give San Francisco a 10-0 lead in the second.
As I approached ballpark while heading north on Clark Street, I chuckled about the text on the message board below the Wrigley Field marquee. It read: "Giants 10, Cubs 0, Bottom 2nd."
This brutally honest advertising could not have helped late-arriving walk-up sales.
As I headed west on Addison, I was treated to more comedy as I approached the Captain Morgan Club entrance.
"Who needs tickets?" a man barked.
Good luck getting rid of those buddy, I thought.
I walked past the new Billy Williams statue, crossed the street by The Sports Corner, and headed north on Sheffield.
I was supposed to meet my friend, Kevin, at 3637 N. Sheffield. I entered a front gate, walked up the porch and entered through the front door of the Lakeview Baseball Club. A man seated at a table asked for my name and after telling him, I saw him scribble it on a list. He handed me a sweepstakes card that informed me that I was
"Have fun," he said.
Strange, I thought, as I climbed the stairs. He did not ask me for a donation and my name was not on the RSVP list.
There was a narrow lounge on the third floor with a long bar, several television monitors showing the game, the audio of Pat and Ron's radio call, a view of the ballpark from the front windows, and a lot of people not paying any attention to the game.
Maybe Kevin was on the roof, I thought as I ventured up another flight of stairs. I grabbed a beverage from a makeshift bat behind the bleachers and took a seat in the right corner of the front row of bleachers.I looked ahead and was startled to discover that I was sitting directly behind the "Eamus Catuli" sign that has become a familiar sight to Wrigley patrons.
I concentrated on the game as the Cubs batted in the bottom of the third. A gentleman sat next to me and introduced himself as Joe.
He told me that his wife was at the game, sitting in box seats on the third-base side. I told him he should wave to her.
"Call her," I said. "We're sitting behind the Eamus Catuli sign. She'll see you."
When the side was retired Joe called his wife.
"Hi, honey," he said. "It's me. You won't believe where I'm sitting! Do you see the Eamus Catuli sign? No. Eamus Catuli. I'm sitting right behind that sign! See me? I'm waving!"
I couldn't believe that I was a participant in such a stupid exercise.
Then Joe asked, "Who are you here with?"
I told him I was meeting my friend and asked if he knew him. He looked confused.
"I don't think I know him but there are so many TV people here," he said.
Huh? I had no idea what in the heck he was talking about. I noticed that everyone but me was wearing a tag that included a name, a company, and a title. I also noticed out of the corner of my eye that I recognized several people standing on the roof next door.
I was on the wrong roof! I also was amazed at how easily I was able to crash this party. I had inadvertently pulled a Michaele and Tareq Salahi stunt.
I shook Joe's hand, and rushed down the stairs to the entrance. I was hoping to explain my error, but the check-in guy was no longer there.
So I apologize to the Lakeview Baseball Club. I meant no harm.It was an honest mistake. Please don't bill me $150 for the one Pepsi I consumed there.
It was a relief when I made it to the roof of the Ivy League Baseball Club. I recognized lots of people, but as a Cubs fan, I was in the minority. This was a South Side crowd and I quickly got the impression that many of the attendees weren't all that upset about what was going on across the street. But, being a South Sider myself, I'm used to such ignorance.
The building included suites on all three floors. I was hanging out in rooftop "Legends Suite," directly below the bleachers. The rear of the suite included a bar and a buffet that included Chicago staples Italian Beef and sausage. There were several TV monitors and again, the piped-in sounds of Pat and Ronnie's radio call.
The front of the sweet was open-air and included a view of the ballpark.
But like my experience next door, it didn't feel like "being at a game." The food was average and the drinks were nothing you couldn't get at many of the surrounding Wrigleyville establishments. I was simply mingling with the game serving as a backdrop.
I felt better that my final game of the season would be from inside the park, in Section 233. It's where I belong.