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Tourist! Tourist!

My son Mark turns 8 soon.

So, we tried to figure out a cool thing to take his friends to for his birthday. With the Cubs out of town, and most of the kids away for his actual birthday later this month, today was the day.

We decided on the Wrigley Field Tour, which is sponsored by Cubs Care and given on most weekends when the Cubs are out of town.

Even for someone like me who's there nearly every day, the tour is pretty cool. They take you through the stands, up into the mezzanine suites, into the press box, both clubhouses, the security office, the bleachers (sat quickly in my regular seat, as did my son) and the dugouts, and you can walk on the warning track behind home plate, which of course, was the highlight for 10 rambunctious 8-year-olds.

Tour guides on things like this can vary in quality, but this guy was good. He started out reading from a script, telling the "story" of Babe Ruth's "called shot", and I started thinking, "oh, no, not this". But then he quickly debunked the whole thing, which I thought was pretty cool, and he hit all the highlights right-on, not missing a beat, and including some things that I would have thought of myself.

In the Cubs' clubhouse, which of course we couldn't go far into, just far enough to see all the uniforms hanging, ready for Monday's game with Houston, you could clearly see Sammy's boom box, which is located right next to his locker, speakers pointing toward the entire room (as you walk in, Sosa's locker is the first one on the right side, right next to his "assistant" Julian Martinez'). One other thing I noticed right away -- Carlos Zambrano's locker, first on the left as you walk in, has several baseballs in it, not noting pitching accomplishments, but his batting heroics, including the ball from the 2-run HR in Houston a couple of weeks ago, which I guess the club recovered for him.

I highly recommend this 90-minute (ours ran a little longer due to the size of the group) tour, whether you're in town or just visiting, if you can't get to the Yard for a ballgame, you get quite a bit of the flavor just being there.

Then we took the ten 8-year-olds to Sweeties, about a block or so north on Clark, to fill them up with sugar (birthday cake & ice cream), and then give them back to their parents (heh-heh-heh). A visit to Sweeties is also highly recommended -- a very nicely-done, old-fashioned ice cream parlor where Noelle, the woman who owns the place, organized the entire birthday party with signs, tablecloths, etc. at the same time she was working behind the counter. And, they even had some "no-sugar-added" ice cream so I could stay on my low-carb ways.