Notes From The Road: Chicago

Chicago, the Windy City, the Second City, whatever you prefer to call it, it is a popular road city amongst players, staff and media.

There something for everybody here and if you can carve out a little time in a busy schedule, there’s plenty to do off the field.

Before the flight from Seattle to Chicago even landed, plans were being made for dinner. The first stop was Gibson’s Steakhouse, which describes itself as the Chicago Steakhouse. Radio Producer/Engineer Kevin Cremin, who does a Sunday Road Eats feature, rounded up ROOT Director Mark Englebrekt and Mike Blowers and off to Gibson’s they went. I guess they weren’t the only ones thinking that, when they arrived, they noticed that Dave Sims and Ken Levine were also there. Three 16-ounce sirloins later and the group was a happy bunch.

Tiffany Dome

ROOT Sports Jen Mueller (@_JenMueller) did a little sightseeing of her own on Friday and checked out the recently restorated Tiffany Dome, which is the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. Approximately 38 feet in diameter, the Tiffany dome spans more than 1,000 square feet. It contains some 30,000 pieces of glass in 243 sections held within an ornate cast iron frame.

Wrigley Field

Another popular destination was Wrigley Field, a short trip from the team hotel and a must for baseball fans. Mueller, Cremin and Shannon Drayer (@Shannon Drayer) were some of those who took advantage of the opportunity and caught part of the Cubs game against the Colorado Rockies before heading over to U.S. Cellular Field to work the Mariners-White Sox game on Saturday. You can read more about Drayer’s visit to Wrigley on her blog over at MyNorthwest.com.

Wrigley Field

Fine dining is always a nice part of the travel experience, but as Shannon Drayer found out, you can’t say no to a Chicago Dog at Wrigley Field.

If you come to Chicago, you can’t leave without trying the famous deep-dish pizza. Saturday night presented an opporunity to do just that. With the Mariners playing a night game on Saturday and a day game on Sunday, the window is small to grab dinner after the game but it is hard to say no to the cravings. A quick late-night trip over to Pizzeria Due on the corner of Ontario and Wabash, an hour wait and then…

Pizzeria Due

U.S. Cellular Field, which opened in 1991 after the White Sox had spent 81 years at the original Comiskey Park, has a few fun features that remind you of the history of the organization.

U.S. Cellular Field

There are ten retired numbers on the outfield wall, 9 in left-center and one on the right field wall. Nellie Fox (2), Harold Baines (3), Luke Appling (4), Minnie Miñoso (9), Luis Aparicio (11), Ted Lyons (16), Billy Pierce (19), Frank Thomas (35) and Carlton Fisk (72) line the wall in left-center, while Jackie Robinson (42) graces the right field wall.

Sculptures also grace the concourse behind the outfield seats as some of the White Sox all-time greats including Minnie Miñoso, Carlton Fisk, Charles Comiskey, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce, Harold Baines and Frank Thomas have their likenesses on display for the fans to enjoy.

The three-game series was a homecoming of sorts for Mariners reliever Josh Kinney, who spent the 2011 season with the White Sox. On Friday before batting practice, Kinney took some good natured ribbing from a member of the White Sox coaching staff as he went out to the outfield to say hello to some old teammates.

On Sunday morning, Eric Wedge had a pre-game visitor in his old Cleveland bench coach Buddy Bell. Bell walked in at 10:56 am, four minutes before Wedge was scheduled to meet with the media, and what did the media do? Well, wait of course! Wedge, Bell, Robby Thompson, Jeff Datz and Carl Willis, who were all together on those Cleveland teams, spent 35 minutes catching up before the media got their chance to talk to the skip.

We’re off to Minnesota where we’ll have more stories from the road. ROOT Sports is heading to the Minnesota State Fair so be on the lookout for that on the Mariners pre-game show.

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