For Day 2 of our ‘Enjoy It While You Can’ tour, Steve and I decided to spend the day exploring different locations north of Chicago, where we also had two specific destinations logged on our must-see agenda: the campus of Northwestern University, located in Evanston, and the McDonald’s Museum in nearby Des Plaines. For whatever strange reason, we chose to skip the White Sox-Indians game taking place that night at Comiskey Park, which now seems odd considering we’d made this trip primarily to attend baseball games; the most expensive ticket at Comiskey was a Club Level seat at $18, while the cheapest was an $8 seat in either the upper deck or the center field bleachers (yes, those were major league prices!), so I can’t imagine expense was the roadblock keeping us from going. However, considering my miserly ways of the time, I wouldn’t be surprised if that had been the reason after all.
So, with an entire day at our disposal, we got an early start out of the Days Inn and traveled north on Lake Shore Drive to Sheridan Road, which took us right into the pleasant little town of Evanston and the grounds of Northwestern University, home of the Wildcats and, as we found out, not so much the home of students, or anyone else for that matter: being the middle of summer, there wasn’t a lot of activity taking place on a college campus on a Tuesday morning. The day, however, was a nice one, so we explored the campus anyway, cracked jokes at the expense of squirrels and student handbills, and found some photo-worthy cement benches courtesy of the Class of 1986. I don’t know what it is about colleges and universities—Cal Poly SLO, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and Marquette later in this trip, to name a few—but Steve and I seem to enjoy visiting them when we travel on these baseball-themed vacations. Continue reading
Twenty years ago this month, during the summer of 1993, my friend Steve P and I took a trip to Chicago and Milwaukee to experience major league baseball one last time before players followed through on their threat to strike the following season; we dubbed the trip the ‘Enjoy It While You Can’ tour, and though it remains the most enter-taining and enjoyable of our many baseball trips together, it was sad for us to consider that, in a way, this particular trip was our ‘last hurrah’ as far as our interest in the sport was concerned; the strike was looming, it had been announced the Brewers would soon be leaving County Stadium, and in our shared opinion, the sport was changing for the worse, and our loyalty towards it was dangerously waning. And for me, by the following season, that loyalty would disappear for good.
For our week-long visit, we’d obtained tickets to two games at Wrigley Field, one at the new Comiskey Park, and two at County Stadium, while making plans to see as much of both cities during our stay as possible. Along with the five real games we’d be attending, I’d also be playing a handful of games from my SP78 Replay baseball season: three from the AL and two from the NL, with Steve participating in three of those contests. Since our trip seemed to be broken down into game-day segments, I thought I’d do the same with this edition of On the Road with SP78, and separate the article into five chapters: this initial entry will feature our first day in Chicago, with highlights from our visit to Comiskey and the opening game of Statis Pro played. Continue reading
If you ever wondered if someone would drive five hundred miles and back again just to see a movie, well, ponder no more. Back in the summer of ’94, my brother Scott and I met up with our friend Steve N, piled into his black Ford Mustang, and on a misty August night took off from San Diego and headed north for San Francisco, home not only of Steve’s college friend Steven, but also of the refurbished Stanford Theatre in nearby Palo Alto, where we’d be attending a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest.
Of course, watching a classic film at an old-time cinema wasn’t the only event we’d scheduled over our five-day visit; with San Francisco just thirty-five miles to the north, we had plenty to see and do, including checking out several movie theaters and film locations, spending time at a few downtown bookstores, dinner at both the Fog City Diner and Mel’s Drive-In, a tour of the USS Pampanito submarine at Fisherman’s Wharf, a round of catch at Aquatic Park, and a day of exploring the Stanford University area before and after our Hitchcock film.
We also paid a visit to a dormant Candlestick Park, home of the Giants, where chances of seeing them play while we were in San Francisco were zero to none; the 1994 baseball strike was in full swing, now two weeks old, and it would not be resolved until spring training of 1995. If not for that, I’m sure the four of us would’ve attended a game or two during our stay, had the Giants been playing at home that week. As it turned out, that idiotic strike would instigate what was to become my 7-year boycott of professional baseball, and a loss of interest in the current game that would continue to this day. Continue reading
One of my most memorable SP78 games ever took place during a trip to Baltimore in the summer of ’92, when my friend Steve P and I decided to see a couple of weekend Orioles games at their new retro ballpark, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which they’d moved into earlier that year. By this point in the SP78 season, I was taking Statis Pro with me on nearly every vacation or trip I made, and this time I brought team cards for the Orioles and Indians, who were playing a May 26th contest at, coincidentally, Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.
We left San Diego late on a Thursday night, arriving in Baltimore early the next morning; after securing a rental car, we drove through downtown, past the new ballpark, and after lunch we continued on to a neighborhood on 33rd Street and visited old Memorial Stadium, where the O’s had played from 1950 through 1991; the place was quiet and seemingly deserted, but while taking photos from the surrounding parking lot, a stadium employee saw us and asked if we’d like to take a peek inside, which of course we gladly did.