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Shortly afterward DDF member Chapshnell started a thread in the DDF DO board to get 12 guys together to bid on playing softball in Wrigley Field. SPG even included personalized jerseys and other goodies for each player on the team.
View the rest of the trip report after the jump:
As the game was during the 9 days I had to get clearance from my Rabbi to participate, but I got the OK and was onboard.
Mind you that I’m an avid sports fan. But more of the spectator variety. I hadn’t played a game of softball since elementary school. But hey, how often do you get to play in Wrigley?
And so, on August 7th I flew to Chicago to play ball!
I met up with my Aunt, Uncle, and their 2 kids at Emma’s for breakfast where we shared a few dishes.
Their fresh squeezed OJ and cheese danish were excellent:
The Shakshuka was spicy and hit the spot:
And a chocolate chip Belgian waffle topped with caramelized bananas made sure that we wouldn’t be able to move for the rest of the day 😉
And what a gorgeous day it was for baseball, with clear sunny skies:
SPG was running a few minutes behind schedule, but that gave us time to get acquainted with our teammates and competition for the day. SPG auctioned off 2 full teams and they sold entries onto 4 other teams that cost 10K Starpoints for 2 players. The 2 player packages came with a T-Shirt instead of a personalized jersey and you get placed with a random team, though you can request to be placed together with other players.
When the DDF team was full, several other DansDeals readers decided to take part in the 10K packages and many joined together on another team.
After entering the ballpark we signed waivers releasing SPG from liability and picked up our jerseys:
There was a SPG board to take pictures in front of, but despite asking SPG several times for the pictures they haven’t made them available yet.
I was under the impression that we would play on the actual diamond, but that was roped off from access. Instead we played in the outfield.
Each team plays 2 games and our first game was against the yellow team.
Getting loose before the game:
And despite not playing softball in a couple decades, I didn’t do too bad myself with a couple of hits, RBIs, and a run scored in game 1:
The game ended with a slight mishap as one of our members decided to plow into the catcher to score a run. I do have a picture of that, but let’s just say it was embarrassing enough at the time to not warrant reliving that again.
Ronald Reagan and Harry Caray:
Me, JJ, and AJK in the dugout:
I didn’t even think about it, but apparently wearing an Indians hat during an event at Wrigley with a Cubs jersey was controversial. When anyone asked me about the juxtoposition I just said, “What do you mean? I’m just previewing the 2016 World Series matchup!”
Everyone laughed when I said that, but little did they know that 2 months later the 2 teams that hadn’t won a championship in a combined 176 years would indeed take place.
The winners of the first games face each other and for out 2nd game we faced the white team, which provided much stiffer competition. The game was all tied up 1-1 in the last inning but our right fielder made an error that allowed the winning run to score.
The teams that won both of their games moved on to the championship and the white team wound up taking home the grand prize of 10,000 Starpoints for each player on the team.
Game 2 at-bats:
Despite not being able to play on the diamond, it was an awesome and surreal experience being able to play in the friendly confines.
SPG provided kosher meals upon request for our team:
SPG promised that a retired Cubs alumnus would be on hand to chat or sign autographs, etc. The player was David Otto, who played all of 36 games for the Cubbies. I almost felt bad that nobody seemed to even notice he was there.
My jersey was a magnet though. With 6 teams full of mileage and sports fans I had people from all of the teams come over to ask to take selfies with me all afternoon long, which was a completely bizarre experience. Some people even took selfies with my brother JJ and with AJK. It’s pretty surreal to see just who reads DansDeals in real life.
Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to Wrigley without paying a visit to the trough:
After the game I took a shower in a DDF’ers house and we went out to Shallot’s.
Most of the guys took advantage of their excellent steaks with a siyum, but general Chabad custom is to avoid meat during the 9 days even with a siyum, so I stuck with the fish.
The Lion King roll is always a hit:
The rice crackers were not as great as I remembered them:
The Fish Tacos were dry and not appealing at all as I salivated at the other guys’ steaks:
And after a day of playing ball it was time to grab an Uber and fly home. For a couple days afterward I was still sore from the ballgames, but I was happy to hear from the other guys that it wasn’t just me. AJK said that he could barely move his arm in the days afterward.
Perhaps it was a good thing that we didn’t play that championship game after all 😉 . As AJK said, we would have had to limp home if we did.
Besides, there’s only 1 team that can win a real championship in Wrigley in 2016. But even if it doesn’t happen there, I sure hope to be marching at my 2nd parade of the year down Cleveland’s city streets later this week!