Philly Rolls Through Chicago

Philly Rolls Through Chicago

My kind of town, Chicago is..  First off, some general thoughts on the town of Chicago.  The city is beautiful and the fact that there is a beach along the whole town is pretty amazing.  Everywhere we went was very nice and extremely clean.  The people were also incredibly friendly and nice, even when a few of us (see scooter) were living up to their Philly reputations.

We started Friday off at the Cubby Bear which is directly across the street from the famous Wrigley Field sign.  It reminded me of a Chikie and Pete's feel.  There was a real solid showing of Philly fans here, and also the entire weekend.  For Friday's game we sat along the first base side in the last possible row, but much like CBP the view was still very nice.  The rooftop seats outside of the park are pretty impressive and Wrigley has a tremendous baseball vibe to it.  The Phillies played pretty well and Cory Lidle pitched a great outing to give the Phillies a chance to win.  Our group was questioning the move to pitch to Derek Lee.  But Latroy Hawkins came through to be the MVP of the game for the Phils.  It was great to get a win in our first time at Wrigley.

Post game we checked out Hi-Tops which was a good time.  Very nice scenery and a packed house following the game.  We rested up a bit after that and took a walk along the beach.  I have never been to a major city with a beach before, so I thought it was pretty impressive.  This is where we have a great group shot with some nice Chicagoins.  After we checked out the beach we ran into the guy on the scooter who allowed our special friend take it for some off roading.

Friday night we wandered around the city a bit and ended up at nice bar called Cactus.  I am a huge fan of any bar where you can drink outside, and the weather was perfect.  Great times.  We think we went somewhere after Cactus, but no one can confirm this.  Please note on the picture below of the Wrigley Field sign, it isn't just horribly off center, I was trying to get the Phillies flag in the picture as well.

We got a slower start to Saturday and ended up opting to watch most of the game at Hi-Tops and later Goose Island Wrigleyville.  One of the highlights of Saturday's game may have been Will Ferrell singing the National Anthem in his phenomenal Harry Carey voice.  Ditka was also there.

Random Phillies notes: no one likes Jose Offerman, also Ryan Howard has been pitiful.

The Phillies won Saturday's game and Billy Wagner made everyone happy by showing his stuff.

Following the game we decided to go all out Chicago style and hit up the great steakhouse Gene & Georgetti's on Franklin Street.  I went with the filet mignon, garlic mashed, and shared some creamed spinach.  We also downed a few bottles of a nice shiraz.  After dinner we went to see a show at The Second City which is a comedy club famous for producing SNL stars.  The show didn't disappoint, at least it didn't disappoint those who got to see all of it.  The show was actually really long and very funny.  A great guest appearance in the third set included Jim Belushi and his son as well as two other former SNL guys, but they were older so I didn't recognize them.  Following this we hit up Dublins where the beers are cold and the drinks don't stay down to well.

Sunday we headed to the ball park earlier than usual because most of us just wanted to watch a baseball game.  We had bleacher seats and we couldn't have asked for better weather.


Bobby Abreu was the only Phillie to get anything on the board for the Fightins and we had to leave the brooms at home.  We sat in right center, right behind Bobby Abreu, who much to the dismay (or was it the opposite) of our crew butchered a fly ball he could have caught.  Brett Myers pitched very well, with the exception of two dingers he allowed.  The fans in the bleachers were great, we made a few cubbie friends.

It was an awesome weekend of basball in the windy city.  Who's booking the trip to San Diego?

For the complete photo album of the weekend click here.

Instant Replay: Reds 5, Phillies 2

Instant Replay: Reds 5, Phillies 2

BOX SCORE

Aaron Nola struggled and the Phillies' offense slumbered in a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies had just one hit through eight innings and three overall in losing for the 21st time in the last 26 games. They scored both of their runs in the ninth inning.

Over their last six games, five of which have been losses, the Phillies have been held to three hits four times.

The Phillies have scored just nine runs in their last six games.

Nola came off the disabled list and pitched seven innings of one-run ball Sunday in Pittsburgh. He failed to build on that outing against a Cincinnati club that entered the game with nine losses in its previous 12 games.

Starting pitching report
Nola, who entered the game having given up just one home run in 23 innings this season, gave up a pair of long balls in the first two innings as the Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead. In all, the right-hander gave up six hits and five runs over six innings.

Nola is 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA in five starts.

Cincinnati right-hander Tim Adleman's 20th big-league start was the best of his career. The right-hander pitched eight shutout innings and allowed just four baserunners on one hit, two walks and a hit batsman. He struck out four.

Adleman entered the game with a 6.19 ERA this season.

Bullpen report
Mark Leiter Jr. pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three for the Phillies.

Asher Wojciechowski lost the shutout in the ninth. Raisel Iglesias came on for the final two outs. He struck out Maikel Franco, the potential tying run, hacking wildly at a full-count breaking ball to end the game.

At the plate
Andres Blanco, the Phillies' No. 2 hitter, singled in the first inning. The Phillies did not have another hit until there was one out in the ninth.

Aaron Altherr doubled in the ninth to break up the Reds' shutout bid.

Odubel Herrera batted leadoff and ran his slump to 0 for 13 before doubling in the ninth. He hit a ball hard earlier in the game, too, but Cincinnati leftfielder Adam Duvall made a nice diving catch.

For Cincinnati, Duvall and Scott Schebler took Nola deep. Jose Peraza had a two-run single against Nola in the sixth inning. He has a 12-game hitting streak.

In the field
Cincinnati catcher Devin Mesoraco made a terrific play in starting a 2-4-3 double play to end the seventh inning.

Minor matters
Second base prospect Jesmuel Valentin had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in Philadelphia on Friday. Valentin, who was playing at Triple A Lehigh Valley, is looking at a recovery time of four to five months. He should be ready to play winter ball in his native Puerto Rico. Valentin went down to the final days of camp in a bid to make the Phillies' opening day roster in spring training (see story).

Up next
The series continues in a 4:05 p.m. start Saturday. Jerad Eickhoff (0-5, 4.70) pitches against Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 6.75).

NHL Notes: Predators' P.K. Subban rides whirlwind to Stanley Cup Final

NHL Notes: Predators' P.K. Subban rides whirlwind to Stanley Cup Final

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It has been an extraordinary 11 months for P.K. Subban.

The defenseman moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference. Left his native Canada to live in the American South. Blended in with new teammates, created a new home and learned a new system of money, too.

Oh, and along the way the former star for the Montreal Canadiens played a key role in Nashville's stirring run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The best way to sum up Subban's approach? C'est la vie.

"I just tried to have the right attitude when change comes my way," Subban said. "I think when you have an open mind, an open mind is like a gold mine. You just have an open mind, you can only go up from there regardless of what comes your way and just always try to approach things in a positive way."

The Canadiens and Predators shocked the NHL last June 29 when Nashville swapped captain Shea Weber for Subban in a rare one-for-one trade of All-Star defensemen. Adding Subban's offensive skills immediately made the Predators a popular pick to be right where they are now as the Western Conference champions.

The stylish Subban has as much flair on the ice with his goal celebrations as off with his hats and stylish suits. The Predators and their fans have embraced all of it.

"When it happened, I came in here with the right attitude and just wanted to be a part of this team and do whatever I can do to help a team win," Subban said (see full story).

Penguins: Team rides maturity, resilience back to Cup Final
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz stood shoulder to shoulder at center ice as midnight approached, crowd on its feet, Prince of Wales Trophy in hand. Another shot at the Stanley Cup in the offing.

On the surface, it could have been a scene ripped from 2008 when the longtime Pittsburgh Penguin teammates earned their first crack at a championship together, the one that was supposed to be the launching pad for a dynasty.

A closer look at the weary, grateful smiles told a different story.

This team has learned over the last decade that nothing can be taken for granted. Not their individual greatness or postseason success, even for one of the NHL's marquee franchises. Not the cohesion it takes to survive the crucible of the most draining championship chase in professional team sports or the mental toughness (along with a dash of luck) needed to stay on top once you get there.

So Crosby paused in the giddy aftermath of Pittsburgh's 3-2 victory over Ottawa in Game 7 of the helter-skelter Eastern Conference finals to do something the two-time Hart Trophy winner almost never does. He took stock of the moment, aware of how fleeting they can be.

"Every series you look at, the margin for error is so slim," Crosby said. "We've just continued to find ways and different guys have stepped up. We trust in that and we believe in that and whoever has come in the lineup has done a great job. That builds confidence. We've done it different ways, which is probably our biggest strength" (see full story).