The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

New seats

My cousin and I, who have season tickets to Wrigley Field, went to the park on Thursday to see what other seats were available. Last season we were in section 518:

After walking around a bit, we decided on a change of view, to Section 524:

The seats are nearly equivalent, just rotated 90° to the south, and without the foul ball catcher between us and the pitcher's mound.

We're not optimistic about the Cubs' chances this season, but we'll be there anyway. Opening day against the Phillies on April 5th.

A guy who passed on tickets

In just a few days, back in the real world, my cousin and I will troop over to Wrigley Field to see if we want to move our season seats. Tribune reporter Josh Noel will not be there:

I signed up seven or eight years ago, back in the carefree days of the Cubs hovering closer to the orbit of playoff contender than worst team in baseball. Sure, they hadn't won a championship in nearly 100 years, but (cue the Cubs fan delusion) I'd grown up blocks from Wrigley Field and seen countless games in what remained one of baseball's most pastoral settings. The team was a free-spending, major-market bunch, and eventually the corks would start popping. When they did, I would be there.

Fast forward to the present. The Cubs are lousy again. Two of the team's best young players regressed last season. The manager picked to lead the team to a new era of respectability was fired after two seasons. Ownership is jockeying to turn a classic Chicago neighborhood into a giant Hard Rock Cafe (though to be fair, Wrigleyville's Hard Rockification began before the Ricketts family showed up).

Wrigley Field attendance has dipped five seasons in a row; last year's 2.64 million was the lowest tally in 15 years. Such decline, in theory, helps explain how my place on the waiting list finally came up. The Cubs ticket saleswoman laughed ruefully when I expressed surprise at her call.

So how did one of the most coveted tickets in town fall out of favor? Taylor has a theory: "Wrigley is fun, but winning is even more fun.

We went through the same calculation, but we decided last year to do it anyway. And who knows? They might win 70 games this year. Or 80.

La Crèperie to reopen thanks to Duke of Perth owners

Colin Cameron, owner of Duke of Perth (my remote office) told me a couple weeks ago that this was in the works, but swore me to secrecy. Now that it's in Crain's, it's out there:

If you've been mourning the loss of La Creperie since it closed Aug. 22 when its owner retired, take heart: The iconic little French bistro at Clark and Diversey is scheduled to reopen, most likely in December.

Duke of Perth proprietors Colin Cameron, his cousin Jack Crombie and Jack's wife, Pam, have purchased the property from Germain Roignant, who opened the restaurant in 1972 with his late wife, Sara.

Mr. Roignant's son, Jeremy, and his wife, Yasmina Ksikes, who'd managed La Creperie for the past five years, intended to take the concept and name with them to Los Angeles. That changed with Jeremy's death from a heart attack on Aug. 1.

Mr. Roignant, now 75, says that when Mr. Crombie first asked him about becoming a partner in reopening the restaurant, he was hesitant because he'd been planning to retire to his home in Brittany, France. “But I hadn't been happy about the place closing after 41 years,” he says, “and when we hinted on our Facebook page that it might reopen, we got a very positive reaction from customers.”

Now a partner, Mr. Roignant says he'll probably work the dining room Wednesday through Sunday evenings and some afternoons. He won't be the only familiar face—he estimates that four dining room staffers are returning. Juan Aranda, who started as a dishwasher/prep cook/busboy in 1991 and was promoted to head cook two years later, will be back in the kitchen. This is a plus, since he knows all the recipes, which haven't been written down.

One of my favorite pubs buying one of my favorite restaurants? Perfect.

America held hostage, day 4

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones puts the shutdown in 10 sentences:

3. Democrats in the Senate have been begging the House to negotiate over the budget for the past six months, but Republicans have refused.

4. That's because Republicans wanted to wait until they had either a government shutdown or a debt ceiling breach as leverage, something they've been very clear about all along.

He sums up: "This whole dispute is about the Republican Party fighting to make sure the working poor don't have access to affordable health care."

In other bad news about numeric things, Monday was the official start of Anno Catuli 05, 68, 105. Someday...and that day may never come...it'll be AC 0, 0, 0. Someday.

Shocked to learn the latest Cubs news

Baseball in Chicago ended yesterday as both the Cubs and the other team lost to whomever they were playing. The Cubs ended the season 66-96; the South Siders, 63-99. Here's the miserable Cubs season in a single graph:

So I was shocked to find gambling in this establishment Dale Sveum got fired:

Sveum's dismissal comes 13 days after team president Theo Epstein declined to give Sveum, 49, a vote of confidence despite saying there were "no alarm bells to ring" regarding the manager. Epstein said Sveum's future was part of the annual process of evaluations throughout the organization and that the manager wasn’t to be judged on wins and losses.

However, it was apparent that Epstein and his staff were disappointed with other areas in which Sveum was to be evaluated, such as the development of young players, in-game decision-making, use of the 25-man roster, the ability to “create a culture of accountability, hard work and preparation, and the ability to develop a strong trust with his players.”

In his defense, three of the five teams in the division clinched playoff berths. So maybe it wasn't that the Cubs sucked ass this year. Maybe they just had a tough division.

Nah. They sucked ass. And Sveum's out on his.

Last game of the season

Last night my cousin and I went to Wrigley for the last time until next April. We wound up leaving after the 7th. Why?

Here's why:

In 2012, the Cubs set a franchise record for most losses on the road. On Tuesday, they lost their 50th game at Wrigley Field this season, establishing a club mark in that category.

The Friendly Confines have been anything but for the Cubs this year.

Rookie Gerrit Cole helped himself with a two-run single, Pedro Alvarez drove in three runs and Jordy Mercer added a solo home run to lift the Pirates to an 8-2 victory over the Cubs. With one game remaining at Wrigley on Wednesday, the Cubs now are 30-50 at home, and 35-43 on the road with three games to play in St. Louis. They will finish with more wins away from home for just the third time since 1996.

The Cubs are now 65-93, with just four games left in the season. At least they're not the worst in all baseball: the Astros have already lost 107 games, tying last year's franchise record for most losses, with four more chances to have their worst season ever.

Yeah. That's right. "At least we're better than the Astros" is the best I can say about the Cubs this season.

It's national punctuation day!

Today, it turns out, is "National Punctuation Day;" however, that does not give anyone license—beyond whatever one's local political system grants him—to misuse one's keyboard/mouse/other text-entry device (including voice recognition tools) in furtherance of inappropriate text markings.

I'm hoping we can get a diacritical mass of people on board with this.

It's also the last night game this season at Wrigley, and therefore the last game I'll attend until next April. We won't see a lot of drama as the Cubs have already lost 92 games and the Pirates clinched the division wild card slot yesterday (at Wrigley).

If I care enough, I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Today, though: remember the difference between "let's eat, Grandpa" and "let's eat Grandpa."

Missed a Cubs milestone

The Cubs won on Friday, which pushed them over an important hurdle this season. After playing 147 games, it finally became mathematically impossible for them to lose 100 this season.

They've lost both games since then, and they're 63-86 for the season, putting them firmly in last place—but at least they can't lose 100.

Small blessings.

Cubs beat Brewers in hotly-contested race to the bottom

For only the third time this season, I got to see the Cubs win at home. They started strong and...well, that was all that they needed to do, because the Brewers are just as bad as the Cubs this year. Both teams are now tied for last place with 60-80 records. Whoever wins the next two games will be solidly in fourth place.

It was a fun game, though. And really great weather. I think I have only two or three more games on my list this season, and I hope this starts a trend.