Back in late October of 1998, after being captivated by the home run chase (I was team Sosa all the way), I visited an aunt who lived in the Chicago area. In a rather inexplicable moment, we found ourselves in the vicinity of Wrigley Field, where we quite literally knocked on an exterior door, talked with a staffer, and were allowed to go down by the Cubbies dugout and view the field for a few minutes.
(Side note: On this trip, we went to a restaurant called Ed Debevic’s, where their schtick is being rude to the customers. A bizarre place, but the food was good.)
In 2011, my two brothers and I took a road trip to Chicago, this time staying on the South Side for a couple of Twins/Sox contests at the stadium formerly known as U.S. Cellular Field. I’ve never enjoyed a stadium experience less, as we were constantly harassed—sometimes good-naturedly, sometimes not—by ChiSox fans.
Baseball-wise, those are my two most prominent experiences in the Windy City. This week, the Twins will have plenty of time to get acquainted with the Second City, what with 4 crucial tilts with the White Sox followed by 3 with the NL Central-leading Cubs.
On one hand, this will be a tough stretch against two teams playing solid baseball at the moment. If the Twins want a shot at the Central crown without some good fortune, they’ll have to at least hold serve with the Pale Hose.
On the other hand, the Twins must have one of the most forgiving travel schedules in all of baseball these last two weeks of the season. An entire week in Chicago, followed by the final five regular-season contests at Target Field (a stretch that even includes two off-days!).
It is certainly a unique end to a season that has been such a grind (albeit a shortened one) to get to this point. As long as this team can continue to cache its share of wins, it should be relatively well off in the standings and rest-wise come playoff time.