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Dioner Navarro hits 3 HRs against the White Sox

The Chicago Cubs had a big day yesterday.  Despite boasting a losing record and the second-worst record in the National League Central Division, the Cubs have won three in a row.  Yesterday, the backup catcher Dioner Navarro had the best hitting day of his career.  Navarro hit three home runs against the White Sox.  He finished the day 3-for-3, BB, 3 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI.  That’s a pretty good day for a guy that doesn’t play every day.  It brings even more joy that he did this against the hated White Sox.

In honor of this rivalry, I present Ron Swanson vs. Darryl Philbin:

Until later friends…

While on our trip to the Chicago Cubs Convention, we took an afternoon to hit the town.  We went to this great little restaurant Bella Bacino’s.  I had a good Chicago pizza, and Jen had some really fancy chicken with mushrooms and truffle sauce.  Afterwards, we went somewhere that I have been longing to visit for years: Intelligentsia Millennium Park.

Intelligentsia Sign

Intelligentsia is one of the top roasters in the country.  As someone who works in the specialty coffee industry, I have had the pleasure of drinking Intelligentsia coffee many times, but I had never been able to go to an actual Intelli location.  I was not disappointed.

Intelligentsia Millennium Park

We came in around 1pm, and it was packed.  There were 4-5 people working on bar, and they had the line flowing well.  As someone who sells coffee gear, this place made me giddy.  From the Mahlkonig grinders to the offerings of Eva Solos, Siphons, Chemexes, and V60 Pourovers, Intelli offers anything my coffee-snob heart could desire.

Intelligentsia Brew Methods

I ordered a Single-origin espresso. I also bought a bag of Zirikana, Rwanda coffee and an Intelli mug.  Because I was buying the mug and coffee, I got a discount on the nearly $5 espresso shot, which was cool.  I’m not one to talk about mouthfeel and tasting notes and all that stuff, but I will say that this was the best espresso I have ever drank in my life. No joke. It was legit.  Next time you are in Chicago, you need to check out Intelligentsia.  Whether you are a coffee snob or not, they will treat you well and give you a great cup of coffee.

Until later friends…

Orval Overall 1908 Cubs

Orval Overall is one of the forgotten names of a bygone era.  He was a stellar pitcher back when Chicago ruled baseball.  Overall played for the Chicago Cubs from 1906-1913.  He won two games in the Cubs last World Series victory in 1908.  His career numbers include a record of 108-71, 2.23 career ERA, and 935 strikeouts.

Orval Overall 1911 Baseball Card

So, Happy Birthday Orval. If you were around today, you’d be 131. You might have a chance of making the Cubs though, if your sabremetric numbers were good enough. Ole Theo makes a lot of decisions I don’t understand.

Until later friends….

 

This was the first time the Chicago Cubs played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series.  I was super excited.  Cubs fans and Red Sox fans get along really well.  Up until the BoSox won the World Series in 2004, the Cubs and Red Sox fans had shared decades of misery.  I find it often to be the case that Cubs fans will cheer for the Red Sox and Red Sox fans will cheer for the Cubs, because their games rarely affect one another.  I found Fenway Park to be a very welcoming place.  There were many Cubs fans there, but there was no real trash-talking until people had had their third or fourth $8 beer in the fifth inning.  The atmosphere around Fenway is reminiscent of Wrigleyville, in that everyone for 5 blocks is excited about the ballgame.

Everyone was friendly and in a great mood (except for the heretics standing on the corner proclaiming that Jesus was coming back May 21st).  Dad and I got to the park early, and we went inside as soon as they opened the gates.  I was very excited to discover that we had made it in time to see the Cubs’ batting practice.  I was able to get right up next to the field in my attempt to get autographs, however, there were roped off sections and none of the players came near me.  I did get to meet Jim Hendry (General Manager of the Cubs).  I got my picture taken with him on my phone (which I lost in Philadelphia…bummer).  I abstained from asking him about signing Pujols next year, no need to jinx that just yet.

After batting practice, I went and found my dad and our seats.  We were seated 14 rows back in right field, behind the Cubs’ bullpen.  I enjoyed being behind the bullpen, because I got to see the different pitchers warming up.  The first pitch was thrown out by former Red Sox and Cubs pitcher Dennis Eckersley to the former Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk.  That was really cool to see both of them.

The national anthem was sang by some 10 or 11 year old girl.  It was obvious that she was extremely nervous, but everyone cheered loudly for her, which was nice.  After that, it kinda went all down hill for the Cubs.  The Cubs play was just awful. The Cubs were incapable of throwing strikes, and for some odd reason they continued to put in pitchers that have historically been incapable of throwing strikes.  When they did throw strikes, the Red Sox hit the ball directly at the Green Monster (or over it).  Here is the hideous box score:

The Cubs hit pretty well (especially Jeff Baker who went 4-5 with 2 runs), but they couldn’t hit with guys on base.  Also they committed 4 errors (3 in one inning, yikes).  Despite the awful play of my Cubbies, I enjoyed the game.  I especially enjoyed the singing of Sweet Caroline in the 8th inning, which is a pretty sweet tradition at Fenway Park.  Although I have no idea why they sing “Sweet Caroline” every game at Fenway.  Do any of you?

I also enjoyed the four, mildly drunk fans three rows in front of me singing the Notre Dame fight song to Jeff Samardzija while he warmed up.  They also made many Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders comments towards him.  I cheer for my Cubbies faithfully, but I honestly think Jeff should have stuck with football.

This game – although a blowout of my beloved Cubbies – was a great start to this trip of a lifetime.  I had a blast, and I look forward to telling you about the rest of the trip too.

Until later friends…

I’m really itching to go to Chicago.  I am not a big city person.  I think that cities are much better to visit than to live in, but as far as cities go, Chicago is probably my favorite to visit.

Chicago Skyline

Recently several of my friends and acquaintances were in Chicago at Coffee Fest, representing Prima Coffee, Quills, and Sunergos. (And congrats to Louisville native Ryan Soeder on winning the Coffee Fest Latte Art Competition!)  I was jealous of their trip.  First, because I would love to get to experience Coffee Fest.  Second, because I love Chicago.

Here is a list of five reasons why I love Chicago:

The Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are my favorite team.  This proves that I am a man of great faith.  I love going to Cubs games at Wrigley Field (the best baseball venue in the world – sorry BoSox fans).  If you’ve never been to a game at Wrigley, you need to go.  I don’t care if you hate the Cubs, it is a necessary experience for all sports fans.

Giordano’s

I know a lot of people like Gino’s, but for me, Giordano’s is the place to get pizza in Chicago. Jen and I always make sure to go there when we visit Chicago.

The Field Museum

Field Museum in Chicago

I’m a nerd, and I like museums – fact. The Field Museum is a great place to visit.  They have all sorts of fascinating exhibits.  My favorite exhibit is “The Lions of Tsavo” of The Ghost and the Darkness fame.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago Art Museum

This is due to the influence of my artistic wife.  I appreciated art before meeting her, but she has helped me to enjoy it a lot more.  The Art Institute of Chicago is affordable and worth the visit.

Intelligentsia Coffee

Intelligentsia Coffee is one of my top two favorite national roasters (along with Counter Culture).  Intelligentsia has several shops in Chicago.  I was first introduced to their coffee at one of the Prima Coffee Barista Bashes, and I have loved Intelligentsia ever since. 

So, there are 5 reasons why I want to go to Chicago.  Opening Day is quickly approaching, and it has been far too long since the last time I had Chicago pizza.

Until later friends…

PS – Lou Mitchell’s and the used book stores of Hyde Park deserve mentioning too.

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