Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
When you swing both ways as a fan, what better place is there to watch a game between the Cubs and the White Sox than Crew, the gay sports bar in Uptown? Actually, the venue was dictated by my Sox pal Kate, who refused to watch in Wrigleyville. Bipartisan myself, I wore my 1917 Sox cap in solidarity, but all were welcome at Crew, especially baseball fans: Crew has three wide-screen TVs above its bar and the WGN-TV broadcast from Mesa got center stage, pushing basketball and arena football to the sides. Len Kasper and Bob Brenly's call was piped over the sound system.
It was as if everyone there just wanted spring to arrive. The place was packed Sunday--we got the last open table--but fans who simply enjoyed the company of the game greatly outnumbered those who clapped or groaned with each score. Sox fans did almost all the clapping and Cubs fans most of the groaning, though. Paul Konerko homered in the first off the Cubs' Rich Hill--still working himself back into shape with that long, elegant, rear-back-and-fire delivery of his--while Sox starter Jon Garland's changeup was in midseason form. A parade of Cubs relievers went from bad to worse, while the young Sox phenoms competing for the fifth spot in the rotation--knuckleballer Charlie Haeger and hard-throwing lefties John Danks and Gio Gonzalez--all impressed. Danks displayed a snapdragon curve and an ability to turn his fastball over against righties, and the high-kicking Gonzalez showed a live arm and got style points for the extra-long bill of his cap. The Cubs' lone bright spot was newly acquired $136 million man Alfonso Soriano, who aroused memories of Ernie Banks not only with his wrist-powered swing but, as Kate charitably pointed out, with his smile standing on base after a hit.
In the end, the Sox pounded the Cubs 13-2, as new manager Lou Piniella's grizzled beard seemed to grow a quarter-inch during the game. Crew has toned down its menu, but it still offers the double-fisted burger and threesome grilled cheese sandwich. By any name, the food is superior to the offerings at the average sports bar, and the sightlines are terrific. When a guy tried to make time with a couple at the next table, temporarily blocking our view of the wide-screen TV, we turned and watched the one in the corner. Still, when the Cubs travel to Tucson for the rematch with the Sox in two weeks, I think we'll try to make the trip down to Bridgeport and Cobblestones, where the muffuletta stomps any burger, even double-fisted.