I ran the home team charity run again this year with my sister in law Mary, a fun little race that benefits the Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox charities. Last your was the inaugural event and the 10K course took us from the United Center down to the south side for a finish in the US Cellular field parking lot. This year was a little different as they concentrated the course around US Cellular and that gave them the flexibility to fit in a 5K as well.
The weather was about the same as last year, a bit cold and damp at the start but no rain, and a little bit of sunshine and a warm-up for the finish and post race festivities.
Since the course was basically an out and back, this allowed the organizers to have the 5K runners follow the same route as the 10K runners, and just turn around at the 2.5K mark for their return. The 10K runners ran out to our 5K half way point and then turned around for our return. The 10K runners got a 15 minute head start which lessened the overlap at the point where our return leg mixed in with their return leg.
One benefit of the 10K was the on field (warning track) finish. The 5K runners started and finished at the same line outside the stadium, but the 10K runners entered that back of the stadium and picked up the warning track in center field, made a left and ran in front of the right field bleachers, past the visitors dug out and finish just before home plate.
We got to mingle for a few moments around home plate for pictures before heading up the stairs (right past our season seats pictured at right here) to the exit down the ramp into the parking lot for the post race pizza, beer (or coffee) and the entertainment.
The pizza and coffee lines were huge so Mary and I went over to the beer corral for our free beer. The two guards did not even card me (sad for me ego). We downed our cup and walked around the lot to see what else they had going on. In addition to the refreshments, the were post race massages, autographs with some of the Chicago sports legends and you could get your picture taken with the 2005 White Sox World Series trophy or one of the he Bulls NBA Championship trophy. We opted to avoid the lines and just relax and enjoy the moment.
All in all it was an excellent race and I recommend it for a good starter race if you are training for a half marathon or a full marathon this year. Thank you to all the volunteers. We will surely be attending next year.
Matt and I went to the Cubs game tonight and sat as far away from the field as you can get while still being in the ballpark. Only the rooftop seats on the buildings outside the park are farther away. Matt had purchased the tickets from a youth group who was raising money so even though the tickets were almost double face value, it was for a very good cause. We were way up in section 511 in the very last row against the screen that keeps you from falling out of the stadium. Matt kept apologizing for having bad seats (he is used to our Sox tickets right behind home plate), but I told him it was fine and I was just happy to be there with him. Any day out with my son, especially at a ball game is a good day. Unfortunately we had to deal with two things while we were there, cold weather and the sucky Cubs.
One of the two we could do something about, so after 6 innings of pain (it was pretty cold), we decided to head to Oak Park to watch the Blackhawks game at one of my favorite places, Poor Phil’s. We took the long way and drove past our old house on Grove then arrived at the pub just after the end of the first period. We hung out for the second period and enjoyed a nice dinner, some exciting goals and some good conversation. It was actually a pretty mellow crowd for such a pivotal game for the hawks, but that is how I remember Phil’s even 20 years ago when I lived there (in Oak Park not in the bar).
We headed home after the end of the second period and were able to catch the end of the third by the time we got home. The Hawks won 5-1 and moved on to the Western conference finals against San Jose while the Sox also won against the Twins at Target field. And the Cubs, well they lost again.
We were home by 11 so there was still time to watch the episode of LOST we recorded. What the heck? It sure seems like they are trying to cram way too much explanation into these episodes. As must as I hate to wait a week for a new one, I think I would prefer if they took a little more time to flesh out all that loose ends that they are trying to wrap up. I wonder if the rumors are true that the writers were still writing the final episodes a few weeks into the new seasons. A story line this complex has a lot of baggage from the first 5 seasons that all weigh heavily on how they are going to explain all this. I don’t think I like the way it is going.
Our first Sox game of the season was a bit of a disappointment. It was a chilly 46 degrees for most of the 11 innings that it took to loose to the Twins and the Sox had 2 errors and almost non existent bats. There were two highlights of the night, one coming from each side of the fan base.
The seats behind us always seem to have a different group of people in them so I assume either they do not belong to season ticket holders or some company owns them and gives them out to employees. I will have to the next group how they got them just to satisfy my curiosity. Tonight’s fans in the four seats behind us were transplanted Minnesota residents who now live in Chicago but are still Twins fans. They were decked out in full Twins gear and were enjoying their Miller beer products. The more they drank the funnier their comments got (at least the two guys in the group). The men were obviously true fans of the game and tailored their comments to specific players and player situations on both teams. The girls just started swearing at Chicago fans who did not find the humor in their comments. It got to the point where one of the men had to tell them to shut up or suffer the physical wrath of nearby drunk Chicago fans.
At one of the cross-town (Sox –Cubs) games last year, a woman from New York was sitting in the seats behind us and she commented that she really enjoyed the creative comments/taunts that the White Sox fans produce (my son included that night). She said that at Shea stadium the fans just swear and hurl insults. Funny that it was the Twins fans that were excelling in that area tonight.
The other highlight was when Jim Thome came in as DH for the Twins late in the game. The Sox had shown a tribute montage on the center field scoreboard in the 4th inning as kind of a welcome home for Jim. The fans, me included, gave Jim a standing ovation as he approached the plate to try and break the tie score for the Twins. Jim responded by taking off and tipping his helmet back to the fans and to our satisfaction Jim ended up striking out. So we were able to show our appreciation and not have him hit a homer to beat us.
Despite the White Sox slow start, I am looking forward to a good season this year. Come on Ozzie ball!!
Tonight is our first sox game of 2010. I have been lucky enough to share some fantastic seats with a few other guys for the past 7 years. We have the first two seats located right behind the scout seats which are directly behind home plate. Ours are off set just a bit so we are not directly behind home plate and we are 11 rows up from the field.
There are no seats in front of us so we can stretch our legs out if we need to. The only downside is no cup holders (I know boo-hoo) but I can rest my beer on the wall the separates us from the expensive scout seats ( that is the section where all food, drink, parking etc is included in the price, but they cost a full 3X what my seats do).
My brother works with a guy who has had the tickets in his family for over 40 years (since the old Comiskey Park) and he was nice enough to let me in the group he shares with.
Tonight is supposed to be cold and clear, so we will need to bundle up and hope they can beat the Twins.