Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One-Day Illinois Baseball Tour

One of the many things I love about the summer is baseball.  There’s nothing like the atmosphere at historic Wrigley Field –sitting next to thousands of Chicago Cubs fans drinking over-priced beer and hotdogs. 

Another unique feature at Wrigley Field is the rooftop bleacher seats.  The stadium is surrounded by apartment buildings and condos.  The top floors and roofs of these buildings have been turned into baseball heaven.  Bars and indoor seating are on the top indoor floor and the rooftop area is where food and more drinks are located along with the bleacher seats for people to watch the game.

Wrigley Rooftops

I’ve always thought the rooftop experience would be something I want to try, so this year we booked our tickets and set a date to experience the Wrigley Rooftops.

 Saturday welcomed us with warm weather and sunny skies.  We found “Beyond the Ivy” rooftop very easily.  It's in the center field area just across the street from Murphy’s Bar.  We climbed the stairs to the top indoor floor and got our first round of drinks.  Then proceeded to where the real action was -- the roof.

 A huge grill area was set up to one side of the roof and a few bars were also located along the edges.  We filled our plates with food, which was all included in the price of the ticket, then climbed our final leg of stairs to the bleacher seats. 

The view was great.  We were in center field and had a perfect view of the entire field, plus a really great glimpse of the city skyline in the background. 

Just about every half inning one member of our group was heading back down to the food and beverage area to fill up.  All drinks were included, along with a variety of food. 

Just after the 7th inning stretch the rain moved in from the city.  We headed underneath the bleachers for cover.  The rain didn’t stay long, and we were able to head back up to our seats to sing along with the crowd celebrating the Cubs win.

Since we had such a great time at the Cubs game, JC and I decided we wanted to stop in Peoria for another baseball game on our way home.  One of our friends is working for the Peoria Chiefs now and had invited us to the Saturday game a few weeks ago.  We had declined at the time because of our Cubs tickets, but we were in the mood for some baseball so we called our friend and headed down to Peoria.

During the summer of 2007 I worked at the Chiefs as a Media Intern.  The summer was one of the best of my life.  I spent the majority of my time at the baseball field, but also got to really experience and enjoy Peoria.  Going back to O'Brien Field is always something I enjoy.

Minor league baseball is great because of the family-friendly atmosphere and the freedom the entertainment staff has.  We were able to see Carlton from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” dance on the video board during breaks and hear Borat’s “very nice” comments.

Our friend took us up to his work area, the area where I used to work also.  We were able to help him throw out T-shirts, softee balls and follow him around as he got the band, who was playing after the game, ready to sing the 7th inning stretch.

View from the Press Box at O'Brien Field.

The Jimmy Buffett cover band and fireworks took place after the game, but the long day of baseball and drinking was taking a toll on me, and I was ready to get home before the after-game entertainment started.

America’s favorite pastime provided a great day for JC and our family, and gave us an excuse to visit with old friends and experience new things.

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