Top story: WBEZ's Al Keefe has a good story about the economics of baseball, which ties into this week's opening day festivities. (Friday) It costs more than $300 to take a family of four to Wrigley Field; $250 for U.S. Cellular Field. My Dad is rolling over in his...well, bed (he's still alive). He grew up near Wrigley Field and told stories about how the gates would open after the 7th inning. You could just walk right in. Or stories about how he could get in for under a dollar because he knew all the ushers. Here's my tip for getting into Wrigley:
- Go to the costume shop. Buy a straw hat, pick up a banjo, and pose as one of those strolling, old-timey Dixieland musicians. You know they don't pay full price.
- If you do have to pay for tickets, try to avoid the $8 Bud Lights and go with the $6 Old Styles. That'll save you a bit of money upfront, but you'll pay for it later.
- Bring a foil-wrapped hot dog from home. Bring it to the concession stand and tell them you found pigeon hairs all over it. It's Wrigley Field, they have to believe you.
- And finally, just wait 'til September to go to a game. They'll be giving tickets away then.
B story: Under the "you can't be serious" category today: Former Governor George Ryan didn't understand pardons. I guess there are two pardons - one that says "Hey you are out but you are not cleared." The other is "Hey, you are innocent...sorry. You can sue." He gave the latter pardon to 28 inmates, four of whom were on Death Row. The day after those pardons (Jan 11, 2003), Ryan put a moratorium on all death penalty cases. There is no death penalty in Illinois now, thanks (in part) to his decision. But this information does make you wonder if the moratorium was a cover-up, after he found out about the two different pardons. "I did what? I declared their innocence? Why did you let me do that? Man, what am I going to do! Wait, I have an idea. A crazy one, that just might work...."
C story: The Reader has a big article on 'How to Fix the El.' It's a good read, but I have to ask the question once-and-for-all: How do you spell "El?" I was under the impression it was "L." Am I wrong here? Come on Chicago, let's organize to spell the train line the right way before we all organize to fix it. Sound good? This is as big a question as the age-old "Where do you put the punctuation? Before or after the quotation?"
Weather: Way too cold for a week that has April in it.
Sports: Carlos who? Oh that's right, the guy we traded for Milton Bradley. He's still on the team? Carlos Silva complained over the weekend that the Cubs misled him after it became clear he wasn't going to make the team. The Cubs brass responded by saying...well, saying that Silva sucks. It's as simple as that. And the Cubs are on the hook for the $11.5 million still owed to Silva. So that means the Cubs and Jim Hendry are paying out of pocket $11.5 million for Milton Bradley. This year. That may go down as the worst free agency move in the history of Chicago baseball.
Kicker: Admit it, you've always wanted to do this (via Reddit):