Lions, Cubbies, and Bears!

Headed to Chi-town with K this weekend to catch up with family, friends, and the Reds.  On the way, I saw one of the coolest technological advances I’ve seen in a while.  It’s been exactly a year since I traveled up 65 to the Windy City.  There used to be sporadic windmills along the highway.  This time the road was packed with hundreds of them on each side.

DSCN1032

They made me feel like I was very small and that I need to figure out my part on being more green.

DSCN1035

Here… now they aren’t that big!

DSCN1034

We arrived Thursday to OGs and took a few hops, skips, and jumps through Boys Town.  We called it an early night since we had an early morning at Murphy’s ahead of us.  We arrived and sat with this guy solely because of his shirt.  

DSCN1055

We had bleacher seats, so we went a wee bit early but were rewarded with free Cubs bags… for 2 non-Cubs fans.  Our friends back home got some great gifts!

DSCN1056

Did you know… At Wrigley, they have several “honorary” pitches and only one first pitch… and it’s from the real mound.  I still enjoyed mine but this is how the big leagues do it!

DSCN1059

Afterward, we hit up Wrigleyville like true tourists then crashed for our final event of the weekend.  The Lincoln Park Zoo.  I had never been and it was free!  We decided it was a much better cultural event than a $50 museum ticket indoors.  They had all the usual animals but I still get excited to see each of them.  The female lion…

DSCN1080

Chimps, who I think were deep in communication about their plans for the day…

DSCN1089

Baby Monkey (Yes, those that just sung that instead of reading it, you can thank me later.)

DSCN1095

Gorilla, who I think was just chillin’ saying, “Why are all the people staring at me?  I’m not doing anything!”

DSCN1093

A brown bear whose tongue hangs out, but according to the zoo sign, she’s able to eat and survive just fine after her jaw surgery.

DSCN1101

These types of signs were next to any cages that had animals that seemed to have some ailment.  I assume it is a result of the zoo getting tired of overly concerned zoo-goers questions.

Every polar bear I have ever seen has had a pattern in the cage.  This one did a square in the pool by pushing off the sides.  Poor thing.

DSCN1106

And finally, some of the cutest of the day… Meerkats!  I couldn’t get enough of how they sit.

DSCN1116

Even in a log!

DSCN1113

9th First Pitch

It was finally time for my debut!  The Four Musketeers packed up and headed to the Deuce to meet up with my parents in the world to take in a Class A Minor League Tin Caps baseball game.  I checked in at Guest Services and immediately spied this guy.  Linky!

DSCN0965

Turned out, Linky was throwing out a first pitch too.  Huh?!  Looks like we were at the Minors.  There were about 12 people who were all throwing out the “first pitch”.  Well, it will still be my “first pitch”!  Funniest part was all the other pitchers were using the pitch as a way to celebrate a birthday…5…10….18….even 70.  Then there was me.  Just because.  

Picture 010

Once we got lined up, we made our way out onto the field. 

DSCN0968

DSCN0330

They put your name up, or try to, on the giant scoreboard when it’s your turn.  They announce your name and the field director told us to run out to the “pitching mound” so I did!

Picture 012

Except our “pitching mound” was a mat almost 1/2 way to home plate.  Boo.  I really wanted to show I could make it the real distance, without any practice of course!

DSCN0972

Once I got out there, I tried to do it like the pros.  Sideways arch back, with knee up wind up, and pitch!  The follow-through…

Picture 013

Pic from the professional… Do I throw like a girl?

2w2i0746_tc

Video below shows me in action.  The catcher didn’t even have to move or stand up to get my ball.  I was pleased!  After we finished, we exited back out of the locker rooms where I spied my 4th mascot sighting of the day, Johnny!

DSCN0974

K’s found his twin bobble-brother and thinks we should double date.  No go.  I prefer hazel eyes and more than 1 tooth.

DSCN0976

I returned to my cheering crew to sit back and enjoy the game!

DSCN0975

Along with the pitch, I got a ball and a hat to commemorate my day.

DSCN0981

The staff at the park keep things lively during each inning change.  Trivia, races on the field, and even lotto ball tosses to win cash!

DSCN0979

We stayed through the 6th inning to see the Bad Apple dancers perform.  I’ve heard about this group from several people.  The guys that grate the dirt, do awful/corny dance moves at 3rd and 1st base.  It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but definitely silly.  

I didn’t get a chance to get to see the entire stadium but I heard water running when we were in the parking garage.  Looked over the side and the park has a built in water feature to play in.  Great way to keep all ages entertained in the summer heat!

DSCN0985

Bruce did explore the whole stadium and found a hidden treasure of nachos at one corner of the park.

DSCN0337

Big thanks to my cheering section!  Bigger thanks to Mom and Dad for one of the best gifts ever!

Video of the event… My turn at the pitch actually takes place about 6 minutes into the vid. And the Bad Apple dancers are at the end. The rest is filled with BruceBruce having fun interviewing my fan club getting their take on our time at Parkview Field.

Am I The Next Roger Clemens?

For Valentine’s Day this year, my Mom and Dad were sending me cryptic poems about some mystery gift they got me.  An example:

“Roses are red
 
         Violets are blue
 
             It has something to do with Apples
                  
                     and that is your first clue!
 
                              Love, Mom & Dad”

I received 3 such clues.  I told Mother I was not going to dress up in matching outfits and go to Johnny Appleseed Festival again.  I had been asking a few questions and knew the words “toss” and “pitch” were key to unlocking the surprise.  When I returned home from Colorado, Ft. Wayne’s minor league baseball team, the TinCaps, schedule was in my mailbox.  Now I knew and immediately called home to confirm.

Top

My parents rock!  I called today to schedule.  July 8th is my baseball debut!  Never played this sport before, so why not try it first in front of thousands of strangers?!  If you are around the Ft. Wayne area that day, let me know and stop on by!

Cin City

A group of us traveled to Cincinnati to celebrate Timmah’s birthday.  It was a surprise trip that minorly got ruined when he saw his buddy wearing Cubs gear walking into the Rock Bottom we were all meeting at.  Oh well, at least he still didn’t know who all was coming.  Here’s most of us enjoying the time in the sun. 

DSC02465

DSC02464

K found a boyfriend on the way out and Drew approved!

DSC02466

After the game, we hailed a cab and headed to Hofbrauhaus in Newport. Holy shit this place was crazy. I really felt like I was in a different world. Just a big open room of picnic tables and overflowing beer steins. It was madness. Drew and I decided it looked like good place for some Trust Fall action.  He got quite a few people really good.  Some even caught him and knew exactly what we were up to.  At one point, a bouncer came over and I was sure we were getting kicked out.  Nope, he just asked him not to do it in the main walkway.  The bday boy with his beer beeches at the Hof.

DSC02472

DSC02486

After Hof, we headed to Cadillac Ranch for some grub since all the Hof had was kraut balls and pretzals. We wrangled a big table with the help of the hostess only to get kicked out an hour later for a bachelorette party that already had a large table and was moving to the other side of the restaurant to our big table. Really, pinkies? I had enough and headed back to the hotel to rest up for the most awesome Peguin Parade the next day.

Sunday brought a visit to the Newport Aquarium. We had a bit of diffculty finding this place because everytime we asked where the Aquarium was, people answered “Newport”. Well no shit Sherlock, how do we get there?! Guess we didn’t phrase our question correctly. We got there in time to catch the Penguin Parade just as they opened. Maybe K and I had built this massive display in our heads, but this was just absolutely disappointing. Not only did the penguins not walk out on their own, they were in little clear tubes riding on a cart! It almost looked inhumane. I video’d it, but not sure it’s worth posting other then the disappointment on our faces. I got over it real fast with some pictures of the aquarium mascots!

DSC02507

DSC02508

I saw George’s long lost cousin.

DSC02510

They didn’t have a lot of photo ops, so we made our own!

DSC02514

DSC02513

The shark tank was probably the coolest thing they had. You could see if from all different sides, even above. You could walk through a tunnel and this dude swam over.

DSC02516

Also, it was Sweet Pea the shark’s birthday so they had decorations everywhere, a cake in tanks and a banner in the lobby.  To which K said, “Certainly someone did not name their child Sweet Pea.”  She figured it out.  Overall, a great trip with friends!

Wrigley-licous

A friend put together a rooftop Cubs event for a bunch of people.  I don’t follow baseball, but love to get out and do things so Tim and I packed up and headed out Saturday to Chi-town.  We were a bit late on the road because I set my alarm for 6:15 PM… oops… but we made it 10 minutes late and joined our friends for the festivities at the 3639 Wrigley Rooftop.

001

006

I’ve been to a few Cubs games before, but this is clearly the way to go!  It costs a bit more money but you have open bar with beer and wine.  Food is also included.  Clean bathrooms.  Seats inside with TVs or outside watching the real action. No mess of a crowd to leaving AND you get a Dum-Dum sucker when you exit.  Awesome!

cubs

After the game we headed over to the Cubby Bear but didn’t stay long.  I’m not a fan of that place anyway.  Someone wanted to go to Cody’s.  I wasn’t in the mood for walking and a cab option is boring… so we flagged down some guys on rickshaws and rode our way over.  Well they peddle, we rode.  I think our’s beat Chris and Mindy but to remain friends, we’ll just call it a tie.  We hit a few more bars in the area before finally landing at one with the Purdue game on. 

My mighty Boilers couldn’t come through.  We played hard but ended up short.  It’s likely to be a rough year with new coaches and players.  Everything but the last 5 minutes of this game had Purdue looking really good.  A good test will be in 2 weeks against the Golden Domers on our turf!  You know I’ll be there!