I’m 30,000 feet up in the air in route to Chitown, thinking about how I am going to try not to be nervous when I throw out the first pitch on Wednesday’s July 18th night game at Wrigleyfield. And I’m reminiscing about my “single” days when I lived in Chitown. Oh the memories. Oh the stories. Ever get someone’s digits through a bar window and hook up with them later on that night? Just kidding. Maybe.
First pitch – I’m throwing out the first pitch! “Just don’t bounce the ball,” is what everyone is telling me. Or some even greater advice, (my NY buddy – avid Yankees fan) – “wear a big diaper and tell everyone you were afraid you would shit your pants along with some giant Haray Caray glasses.” Um DONE. Now where do I get a giant diaper?
I’m sure you are thinking, why am I throwing out the first pitch along side Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis (Hangover 1 & 2)? I state the following as rationale:
1. Life long dream (seriously)
2. I’ve been writing this blog now for 4 years….only to keep from missing what I call “my church,” or Wrigleyfield, and my sports family – the beloved Chicago Cubs and their entire front office staff.
3. I’m a writer, I completed my first book and the Cubs are helping me promote it (available in paperback/hard cover TBD…2012)
4. I recently appeared on a show on Bravo (that’s right I caved to reality TV so sue me) called, “Miss Advised,” which is all about being single and dating and really being honest about it. I give advice on it – who NOT to date. I’m no licensed expert in dating, but oh I’ve dated plenty…I’ve done the homework.
5. I’m promoting the first ever “Singles Night,” or so playfully titled “Playing the Field” at Wrigleyfield on July 18th. (Which is ironic because…well I’m not single anymore). http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/ticketing/specialevents.jsp#link_singles
And why should I even represent “Singles Night” anyways? Please. Anyone who knew me when I lived in Chitown…I should have been the poster gal for how to really live it up when you are single. Oh I had fun. If you are single, you better be having fun too. It’s what life is all about. Wrigleyfield is by far, one of the best places on the planet to be a single person. It manifests single people…the entire aura of what encapsulates the Cubs culture is being single at a Cubs game. I was only single in Chicago for two years, but it was the most glorious, fun-filled, crazy do-whatever-the-h*ll-you-want time of my life. And it all somehow related back to a Cubs game, or six degrees of separation for every party I went to, every bar, every drink spilled, every late night eating fiesta, you name it – it all goes back to a Cubs game.
I’m going to do you a favor if you are single and tell you what I would do (I have to be somewhat appropriate this is after all, an MLB blog.) So I am going to promote all of the wonderful things about being single when I am in Chicago this week to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. And as a professional single person (listen I’ve been through a lot…single for 7 years since my last relationship, it’s been more than a minute), I think I can give some solid advice and checklist for what you need to do…if you are single that is, and you are worthy enough and fun enough to go to a Cubs game and enjoy and drink in all there is to do as a singleton.
Typical day. Single. Game day. June in Chicago. Perfect.
Imagine if you will….
It’s a beautifully hot, steamy day in Chicago in June. It’s 7am. The alarm goes off, and you are filled with the excitement as your Chicago Cubs game ticket (for the bleachers) lies carefully on your bedside table, itching to jump into your pocket to start the day. First thing – you need to fill your belly. Day drinking is tough, I know all too well the craziness that can ensue from starting a Cubs game (day game) day with drinking too early, too much, and on an empty stomach. Time to fuel up. Since you have a bleachers ticket you need to head down to Wrigleyville fairly early – avoid the traffic and tourists who have no idea what they are doing. Head to Salt & Pepper on Clark Street. It’s an old school diner, fairly inexpensive, and honestly, exactly what you need right now. Plus it’s across the street from the bar you’ll start off at. Brilliant.
At around 10am you will go to either Sluggers or Cubby Bear across the street. Yes there are many more surrounding the beautiful ballpark, but these two are where you should go. They are old school, been around since the beginning of time. Go to Cubby Bear first, there are three floors, six bars (from what I remember) and tons of space and huge flat screen TVs. Plus they play good music to get you going on your first drink. For your first drink you should have a beer. Don’t go to the dark side just yet with hard liquor. Remember you are drinking during the daytime. And you are single – you don’t want to look in the mirror five hours from now and look frightening to other single people….those are potentials for later on post-game (we’ll get to that).
So pay your $8 for a Miller Lite (isn’t that how much they charge these days?) and enjoy. Feel the buzz, heck down the entire first beer. You’ve eaten. You’re solid. It’s go time.
At around 10:30 head on over to Sluggers just a few doors down the street on Clark. Main bar is right as you walk in, there are batting cages upstairs and skiball, but you don’t really have time to get into that today because you need to get to the bleachers. You see some potential hook-ups of the opposite sex. Easy tiger. Too early to think about that. Plenty of time left in the day.
At the main bar you might see David, a regular bartender who at any given point will do a shot of tequila with you with a pineapple chaser. It sounds terrible, but it’s terrific. I did say no hard liquor, however if David offers, you accept.
At around 11:30 you should start making your way to the bleachers entrance. Seats are first come first serve, you’ve got a good buzz on (you probably should have had 1-2 beers at Sluggers along with the shot) and you need some summer sun and a close enough seat to be able to heckle the other outfield team.
Once you get in, establish your area, go ahead – get a beer. But get something to eat. Trust me on this one. Hot summer sun for the next 5 hours. That’s the equivalent to over half a work day, think about it – you will need more fuel. Purchase water. Drink it. Every time you drink some beer, drink some water.
The opposing team is practicing, go ahead and holler obnoxious things about their Moms, wives or girlfriends, or better yet if you are a truly educated baseball fan – heckle them about their recent stats.
Game time, face the green scoreboard and flag behind you for the national anthem. Raise your glass. Take a sip of the cool, sudsy beer. It’s ON. Strike up a conversation with the opposite sex sitting next to you. If you are so obliging tell them you’ll be at Barleycorn post-game on Clark. Trust me on this one. You have to scope them out early when you are single.
During the game a homerun is hit by the opposing team straight into the bleachers (don’t worry I’m sure Soriano will hit a grand slam at some point to make up for it..ha). You happen to catch this homerun ball with one hand (your other was holding on to your beer). You hold it in your hand, astonished at your sudden ability to catch a fly-ball, and impress the person next to you who will be attending your post-game activities. The crowd cheers you on to throw it back on-to the field. With out hesitating, you toss it back out to field, getting an even bigger cheer from the 60,000 people (standing room only) at today’s game. Time-honored tradition at Wrigley. We just do it to piss off the other team and because well, we can. And we’re the first fans to do so…other fans and ballparks have copied us, but we are the originators.
At some point you realize you are a little woozy with typsiness. Be careful. Don’t let this be you:
You need a break, no more beer, and you know the sun has soaked its way into your still somewhat pale skin you endured from the harsh Chicago winters. Somewhere up above the crowd a giant sprinkler-slash-hose drenches the bleacher fans. You feel it as it douses you in the hot summer sun. Feels good. Plus it works well for a wet t-shirt contest or for the many ladies that choose to sport a bikini in the bleachers (a good way to get yourself on TV by the way).
Just as I predicted, in the bottom of the 9th, right about the time you really need to get out of the sun, two outs, bases loaded – the Cubbies hit a grand slam to win the game – because it’s just that kind of day. Wrigleyfield is on fire. (Not literally). The cheers echo across the northside of Chicago. A win. Cubs Win! You give the attractive person (who looks more attractive after the alcohol of course) your number to text you post-game. Your friends nod in approval of this person (always good to get approval from your friends of any post-game hook ups because you may not be in a state to pick someone out later on…)
You make your way to Barleycorn for post-game partying. There is a line. Don’t stand in it. Make your way to the front, tell the doorman you are a publicist and that you have clients with you (your friends by the way are your clients). If you’re attractive and a woman, he’ll let you right in. If you’re a man, well maybe you need to fork over a $10 bill or well..wait in line. Sorry guys.
Or you can try to get a Playboy business card and keep it always to get in everywhere. When I lived in Chicago I worked at Playboy and that got me in everywhere – no lines, no waiting, nothing. But I digress.
Let’s continue. You’re in. You luckily find a seat in the main area. The music is blaring David Guetta or Flo Rida. It’s go time. Next up is “Sweet Home Chicago,” of which you will sing along to with every other fan in Cubby blue at the bar. You order shots. Now you can be a little crazy. Order whatever. Cubs win, it’s June in Chicago, and you are having a great time. Plus your hook-up you met at the game shows up and joins you and your friends. Score.
After an hour or so of this post-game madness (oh and it will get super crowded and smelly inside trust me), you need to leave Wrigleyville. That’s right. I said leave. Get out. Before you cross over to the dark side. Remember, you’ve been drinking all day. All day. You and your friends (don’t forget your hook up unless you met someone better looking at the bar and ditch the first) leave and take a taxi to Lincoln Park.
Street fest time. At any given point in Chicago during the summer there is a street fest. One of the best ones is Lincoln Park http://chicago.metromix.com/stories/106-chicago-festival-guide just because it was made for single people, and it’s huge. You get dropped off somewhere near Halstead. Make your way to a beer tent. Buy your friends some beer, get a water. Make out with your hook up in the middle of the street. Who cares.
Once it starts getting dark, or you begin to get a bit sloppy, you need to eat. Two choices. Wiener Circle or La Bamba. Let’s go with Wiener Circle because you need to make your hook up laugh a bit, and your friends are obnoxious at this point (perfect for WC): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33zPlnhymCU and besides, WC has damn good cheese fries, it’s like there is crack in them or something.
After you’ve fully been insulted by the ladies behind the counter at WC, had a hotdog thrown at your head, and somehow managed to get the right order, you happily eat with your friends at one of the picnic tables, with other drunken Cubs fans, enjoying the tasty, fattening food that you so desperately need.
At this point you should really make your way home. If you actually decide to go out even more, you need to change out of the Cubs gear. There’s nothing worse than seeing a Cubs fan still out at 12am from a day game, smelling of beer and sweat and really not knowing who they are, where they are or really anything because they are that messed up. I’ve seen it happen folks. I’ve been one of them. Not. Pretty.
If your hook up is still interested, and well, interesting to you – well then go home. What are you waiting for? This is what being single is all about. Plus it makes for a good story the next day.
I don’t need to get into TMI details on the rest – you know what to do.
And the next day, you should be holding one of these signs (hopefully this isn’t your hook up from last night though):
I tried to keep this PG-rated, and hopefully you will get to experience or have experienced being single at a Cubs game in Chicago. It is literally one of the best times you will have in your entire life. And if it’s not, well then ask for your money back – but not from me because I’m still working on making $1million from being a best-selling author.
Unfortunately I won’t be participating in the fiesta I just wrote about above. My time as a single Chicago gal has passed, and trust me I went to more than 100 home games during my single time in Chicago. I lived it, breathed it…I owned it. I loved it. But every good time has to end. We grow older, wiser, and well, I can’t hang like I used to. Plus my friends can’t either, nor do we want to. But please…live it up for me by all means, at the very least do it for yourself and your fellow single friends!
To all of the single people in Chicago who will walk the littered walk-ways of Wrigleyfield, stand in line in the bathrooms, drink a Mai Tai in the bleachers, and make out by the downstairs bathrooms at Cubby Bear – I’m with you in spirit. Please do the time-honored tradition of how to live it up being single at a Cubs game justice. I know I did. Make me proud.
And you can look for me on July 18th at 7:05pm, I’ll be wearing white jean shorts and a white T the Cubs want me to wear to throw out the first pitch, then I’ll make my way over to the bleachers to join my many friends who lived and breathed those single days in Chicago with me. To all of you – you made my single life in Chicago the best time of my life (Nik, James, Emily, Jen, Jill, Monica, Rayne, Stan..and so many more that I met at the games, the bars…Wiener Circle…).
And to the Chicago Cubs, thank you for giving this die-hard fan the chance to throw out the first pitch. You have been my second family always and I’ll never forget the love you give back to me. Brian Garza and the entire front office – I owe you a great deal of gratitude.