October - November 2010 Issue

Inside Magazine:
Rockit Bar & Grill
Murphy’s Bleachers
Tales of the Underground
Wrigleyville Sports
Wrigleyville Real Estate
A Wish Comes True
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Contents:
In Wrigleyville, Rockit’s Right at Home - Page 3
Billy Dec: Rockit Man - Page 5
Murphy’s Bleachers: Beyond the Vines - Page 6
Tales of the Underground - Page 9
Wrigleyville Sports: Riding the Wave - Page 12
Wrigleyville Real Estate: September Update - Page 13
Tim O’Riley is the editor-in-chief of Wrigleyville Magazine and also keeps fans posted on all things
Cubs year-round on his Facebook page, Between the Vines (http://facebook.com/betweenthevines).
His Facebook page for Wrigleyville Magazine is http://facebook.com/wrigleyvillemagazine. Follow
him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WrigleyMagazine and http://twitter.com/CubsStories. You can
also email him at tim@wrigleyvillemagazine.com.
A Wish Comes True - Page 15
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In Wrigleyville, Rockit’s Right at Home
A second outpost of the River
North Rockit Ranch restaurant
has carved out a comfortable
neighborhood niche just across
the street from Wrigley Field.
By Paige Worthy
The sunlight was softer than usu-
al on a warm, late-summer after-
noon in early September, shad-
ows of No Parking signs and
beautiful old trees lengthened
on the sidewalks near Clark and
Waveland. The frst signs of fall
crept in.
The Cubs had the day off, so
there were no bagged-peanut
vendors, no scam photogra-
phers, no homemade
signs advertising
i mpr ompt u
backyard
parking lots, no men hocking T-shirts on sticks.
No cheers from fung-open bar windows, no
honking taxis. Wrigley Field stood empty
but for a few tourists snapping pictures
by the statues outside.
Just across the street, at 3700 N.
Clark St., the bartenders, servers
and busboys — all clad in plain
black shirts emblazoned with the
word Rockit in white gothic letter-
ing — were prepping for another
busy Friday night at Rockit Wrig-
leyville, the second location of Bil-
ly Dec and Rockit Ranch Produc-
tion’s River North mainstay.
More Than a Feeling
Even completely devoid of custom-
ers, the restaurant was dark but still
inviting, with exposed brick and worn
wood foors. The sound system warmed
up for post-work revelry with a hand-cu-
rated playlist of classic rock and offbeat al-
ternative: the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up,”
the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right,” Dave
Matthews Band’s “I Did It,” Joan Jett’s cover of “Crim-
son and Clover.”
The bartender, John, stood behind the bar practicing fancy Cocktail-
esque pours — he worked at T.G.I. Friday’s while he was in college
— and mixed up a shaker full of the evening’s drink special, Red Bull
and vodka, for a pair of middle-aged men who walked in at 4:58 p.m.,
ready to start the evening two minutes before the restaurant offcially
was.
The men, who had been friends since they went music school togeth-
er in New Mexico, seemed just as home at Rockit as they might have
in a dive bar, despite the stylish environment and lingering sheen on
the relatively new restaurant. By the time the men were two drinks in,
John knew their names, is in on their conversation and has poured
them samples of a new drink, on the house. It’s one of the perks of
coming in before the rush — “We’re busier after the sun goes down,”
John said — or maybe this is just the kind of place Rockit has become
for Wrigleyville.
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Te Main Attraction
Rockit’s atmosphere is a healthy mix of that neighborhood friendliness
and the downtown polish that characterizes the original River North loca-
tion. And from a culinary perspective, it’s got the approachable feel of bar
food with a foodie spin that has mouths watering all over the country: In
August, Good Morning America named the Rockit Burger — kobe beef,
melted brie, fried shallots and medjool date aioli on a red onion brioche
bun, served with heavenly truffe fries — America’s Best Burger.
The menu at the Wrigleyville location is intentionally smaller, said Chef de Cui-
sine Amanda Downing, to the neighborhood clientele, which is often looking for noth-
ing more than burgers and fries. But the restaurant did inherit a beautiful brick pizza oven from the previous
inhabitant (another longtime neighborhood favorite, Tuscany), so there are specialty pizzas available. The
other real stars on the Wrigleyville menu are Downing’s nightly chef specials, imaginative twists on comfort
food classics: Think spaghetti and house-made black angus meatballs; braised brisket pot roast; and beer-
battered tilapia “fsh and chips.”
Just weeks after that quiet late-summer afternoon, only a few hours later in the day — maybe 6:30 p.m.
— with similar weather, the Cubs were off again, but Wrigleyville was mobbed. Jason Mraz and Dave Mat-
thews Band were about to take over the feld for a night of music.
Every table on the patio was full of patrons awaiting their food and
drink, eager to get inside Wrigley Field to hear the concert; inside, the
bar was packed three deep, and the wait just to get a table (there was
no telling how long it might be to get food) was an hour.
The restaurant had organized a special event for fans before the con-
cert — $40 for reserved seating, an open bar and all-you-can-eat ap-
petizer buffet — and that was just upstairs, in the lounge. Everyone
downstairs was there to order off the menu, and it didn’t seem to mat-
ter if they missed the frst few minutes of that frst set across the street.
After a muted frst impression, visiting on the night of the concert was
like being in another restaurant entirely. Then again, it’s often impossi-
ble to think of Wrigleyville without the throngs of Cubs fans or concert-
goers — but it’s also just like any other Chicago neighborhood, full of
everyday people with families and jobs and pets.
It takes all kinds. And Rockit feeds them all.
Paige Worthy — yes, that’s her real name — writes in Wicker Park.
She was blogging before everyone was doing it, eating obsessively
before “foodie” was a thing, and overanalyzing life and love long
before Carrie Bradshaw made it sexy.
Read more at www.paigeworthy.com.
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Billy Dec: Rockit Man
If you’ve ever experienced nightlife in Chicago, chances are you’ve heard of Billy Dec.
He’s the 30-something owner of Rockit Ranch Productions, which counts both Rockit locations,
Sunda New Asian and Underground, a club, among its venues.
For such a local mogul and man about town — and despite his larger-than-life
persona on Twitter, Facebook and in his blog — he’s surprisingly shy in talking
about himself in person. And, refreshingly, no matter where his travels take
him (and they take him far) he stays true to his Chicago roots.

“I was born and raised around Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville,” Dec said.
“It was my home, walking distance from the feld. I know those side-
walks and streets, [even though] the whole area has gone through a
major transition.
“I never really thought about opening a business there until I realized
the clientele at Rockit in River North was so all over the board. It ap-
pealed to young party people, suits, foodies, simple comfort food all-
American bar and grille folks,” Dec said. “As soon as I started seeing
grandparents taking their grandkids to Sunday brunch, and saw suits
there for lunch meetings, I knew the concept had legs.”
And suddenly, there was an opportunity to get a space in the heart of the
neighborhood, at Clark and Waveland. He knew the owners of the building —
which had once housed Tuscany Restaurant — and he had to jump at it. Even
though another Rockit Ranch restaurant, Sunda, had been in the works for the past
two years and was slated to open within a month of the new Rockit location.
“It was really just sort of fate,” he said. “I’d normally plan things out a bit differently. But Rock-
it Wrigley did really well because we’d already had fve years at the original location to get the
brand, preparation and presentation and execution down. We’d made every mistake already; it
was really easy to just be Rockit.”
Dec is convinced that Rockit will morph to assume the identity of where it’s located and who the
clientele is, but his overall mission for the restaurant is simple:
“We’re really fghting to keep it a fun community spot where the food is constantly delicious,” he
said. “There’s no reason Wrigleyville shouldn’t be respected for amazing food.”
SIDEBAR: Rockit Wrigley’s Hours
Monday: 5 to 11 p.m.
Tuesday: 5 to 11 p.m.
Wednesday: 5 to 11 p.m.
Tursday: 5 to 11 p.m.
Friday: 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
SIDEBAR: Contact Rockit Wrigley
Phone: 773.645.4400
Web: http://www.rockitbarandgrill.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rockitwrigley
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rockitwrigley
You can also check in on Foursquare from your
phone for special deals…
…and they deliver on www.DiningIn.com!
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Growing up most of us have watched Cubs games on TV and
probably also witnessed a few home-run balls hit onto Waveland
Avenue. Located just beyond the vines is the traditional must vis-
it establishment known as Murphy’s Bleachers.
History
In the 1930’s Ernie Pareti started a hot
dog stand that served beer by the pail,
and he later turned it into a neighbor-
hood bar. And fans from all over the
world have been coming back ever
since. It became Ray’s Bleachers
in 1965 when it was purchased
by Ray Myers. In 1969, during
the Cubs pennant race, it be-
come known as the home of the
“Bleacher Bums”. The establish-
ment again changed hands when
it was purchased by Jim Murphy in
1980 and became known by the cur-
rent name Murphy’s Bleachers.
Location
The location of this place is absolutely the best. Currently celebrat-
ing their 30th anniversary, Murphy’s Bleachers is the place to be for
good times and great spirits. Located in the heart of Wrigleyville at
the intersection of Waveland Avenue and Sheffeld Boulavand, it’s
just a short walk across the street to Wrigley Field.
Entertainment
Murphy’s Bleachers is the go to place for Cubs fans before, after,
and during the game to celebrate. If you’ve ever been to a Cubs
game and haven’t stopped by Murphy’s Bleachers, you haven’t quite
hit for the cycle yet. A trip to Wrigleyville is never complete without
visiting Wrigleyville’s most traditional tavern. It features a beautiful
Irish Bar that was imported from Ireland, a beer garden, and an Up-
per Deck Party Room.
If you choose to celebrate the game at Murphy’s Bleachers, roof top
s e a t - ing is also available providing fans and tourist alike with a
beautiful view of Wrigley Field. And why wouldn’t
you choose to stay? With the tastiest half-
pound burger in Wrigleyville and a roof top
view to remember, Murphy’s Bleachers will
keep you entertained. The combination
of nightly karaoke, stiff drinks, and great
Murphy’s Bleachers: Beyond the Vines
food keep em’ coming back for
more, and believe me, I will never
visit Wrigleyville without stopping
by this establishment, I absolutely
love it!
Game Day
If you are Cubs fan or the type
who likes to wait until you get to
the game to purchase tickets, no
need to worry. Stop by Murphy’s
Bleachers and enjoy the beau-
tiful view of Wrigley Field from
their outdoor patio style seat-
ing, and you’ll be sure to run into
somebody selling tickets, and you
can do all of this without missing
a beat or a beer for that matter.
If you love to sit in the outfeld, I
recommend you stop by Murphy’s
and have a few drinks before lin-
ing up for the bleacher seats.
And to all you Bleacher Bums out
there, welcome home.
The establishment is a traditional
Chicago style bar with lots of brick
and memorabilia from over the
years. Many famous people have
autographed things on the walls,
and it’s quite evident that Harry
Carey was a big fan of the place.
T-shirts are available for purchase
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and believe it or not, so is
beer. The beer fows like a
river here so be sure to bring
your life jacket, because by
the end of the night you will
be saturated with the time of
your life. So hustle out and
purchase your tickets, taste
the half-pound burger, and
complete the cycle by visit-
ing one of the best establish-
ments for entertainment and
fun in the heart of Wrigleyville,
Murphy’s Bleachers.
About the author:
Bill Hustle - He’s not your aver-
age American or entity, he’s sup-
ply and demand in the form of Hus-
tle. Bill Hustle Inc. is a Marketing frm
specializing in social media strategy
and web development. Bill Hustle is cur-
rently CEO of Bill Hustle Inc. and the Own-
er/Operator of BillHustle.com.
Location:
3655 North Sheffeld
Chicago IL 60613
Contact:
Tel: 773-281-5356
Fax: 773-477-4751
Web: http://murphysbleachers.com
BILL HUSTLE
WWW.BILLHUSTLE.COM
A Marketing and Web Development
Firm that specializes in:
- Web Development
- $ocial Media $trategy
- Content Management
- $EO
Providing clients with a one stop shop
for all their business development needs.
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I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, as I descended down
the steep staircase at the Underground Lounge. To my lef was the
Pabst Blue Ribbon logo painted directly on the brick wall. On my
right were various forms of grafti written with a Sharpe or other
form of marker.
The name, Underground Lounge, is more than just a name. It’s a loca-
tion; the place is literally located underground at 952 W. Newport. It’s
a musical sub-culture; the musicians that play there are like many oth-
er bands and acts who have the wide eyed dreams of making it big or
catching a break, but with one exception. Real Talent.
This Saturday night isn’t just a normal weekend night playing at the
Underground, it’s a celebration. It happened to be the nine year anni-
versary of the September 11th attacks. I can go on and on about patri-
otism that was felt all over the country, but here was a different feeling
of patriotism. This feeling was more of a indie/punk rock middle fnger
to those who hate the United States and an attitude of, “We’re going
to play the music we want to play, the way we want to play it, and you
can’t stop us.”
My frst thought when entering the Underground was realizing how
small it was. It could comfortably ft a crowd of 50-60 people but any-
thing over 80 would real test some people’s comfort zones.
The cover was only $3 which was a welcome price to hear knowing
other places in the city were charging as much as $15 to get in. I sat
at the bar, located about 15 feet from the stage and ordered a vod-
ka and Red Bull. Normally I would order a beer but the night before I
was awake for about 20 hours and I was still feeling the effects. As I
waited for my drink I watched the frst act set up the stage, go through
sound checks and anything else they needed. I looked around to see
what everyone else was drinking, most of them had a can of Pabst
Blue Ribbon, now I understood why a whole wall was devoted to that
brand of beer.
The frst group I saw was Take The Sky, a Midwestern band from Min-
nesota. It was a good show overall, the vocals were pleasant sound-
ing and the band formed a good musical orgy around that. The rhythm
was something that anyone could rock their heads to. The Rhythm
guitar adds a steady fow of chords while the lead rips the air in two.
The band most of the crowd came to see was a band out of Indi-
anapolis called Lions and Leprechauns. The chemistry between all
By Ricardo Torres
Underground Lounge and Trace
Tales of the Underground
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the band members showed well
and it seemed like everyone was
feeding off of each other’s energy.
They played a cover of the song
“Brightside,” by The Killers, which
was my personal highlight of the
set. Not because I enjoy that
song, but they made that song
their own with very creative guitar
and drum arrangements. During
the middle of the set they played
a musical montage of favorite 80’s
songs to liven the crowd and get
a few people off their seats. Some
of the songs were “I don’t want to
lose your love,” by The Outfeld
and “Karma Chameleon,” by Cul-
ture Club. They even brought in
some funk sounds for those who
really wanted to grove.
Throughout the night I continued
to listen to the acts and I won-
dered why they would play in
such a small place and what the
attraction was. Finally I under-
stood. The size of the venue isn’t
what’s important at Underground,
it’s the connection between the
musicians and the audience. Any
place can have a stage with bar-
riers and buff security surround-
ing the stage, but at Underground
there is a certainty that after
watching and listening to a set
there’s always an opportunity to
say to one of the band members,
“Good show,” or “You guys kicked
ass.” That’s the point, to not have
separation between the musical
act and the audience, to have the
personal connection with a group
and its hardcore fans.
The vast majority of those who at-
tend shows at the Underground
are the hardcore fans dedicated
to the music of these artists. For
many musicians that play there,
the promotion of the show is put
on them. All the Un d e r g r o u n d
Lounge asks is that they bring at least 18
people to help cover the cost of security and production, and for many
bands and acts fnding 18 fans isn’t very hard. Those that come, come
because they love the music and the experience of listening to good
quality shows at a reasonable price and knowing they’re not going to
get stuck far away from the stage.
A mix CD of all the acts that played was foating around and I man-
aged to grab one and listen to the earlier acts. Zach Bonnan, singer/
songwriter who opened the night, sounded like a new age Bob Dylan
with his vintage sounding folk sounds that was reminiscent of 1960’s
acoustic ballads. Poly Black, followed and is an interesting group
themselves. Some songs used the acoustic as the lead instrument
while other electric instruments, like keyboards, were used in more of
a rhythm kind of way. They also used the bass guitar like many bands
would use a lead guitar, riffng and shredding all night.
It’s well after 1a.m. when the Lions and Lanterns fnish playing their
fnal song. The crowd still has plenty of energy but I’m off to listen to
some more music.
I emerge back above ground and at this point, I don’t really have a
plan other than to keep my eyes, and especially, ears open for the
sounds reverberating from Wrigleyville.
I’m tempted to see what’s going on at Smartbar or the Metro, but my
ears lead me to a place called Trace. Trace is located just north of
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Wrigley Field on 3714 N. Clark St. The sounds coming from Trace is
that of a lone acoustic guitar. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for acoustic music.
Something about the pure nakedness and lack of electric distortion re-
ally gets at the soul of an artist and I feel it helps others relate to them.
I walk inside and I’m relieved there’s no cover. After I’ve spent most of
the night slamming vodka and Red Bull to keep myself functioning, I’m
glad I can fnally have a beer.
Tucked away in a corner near the front is Andrew Fraker, the man with
the acoustic guitar and 1,000 songs. Fraker played everything from
Bruce Springsteen to Pearl Jam. In front of him was a book of songs
thicker than the King James Bible. Surrounding him was
a posse of drunken singers singing their hearts out
and downing drinks in between verses.
Trace was a welcome change of atmos-
phere. It was calm and there was a mu-
tual understanding between everyone
in the bar that we all just wanted to
relax and listen to our favorite songs
being played by Fraker.
Trace is an interesting place for mu-
sic lovers. The walls are covered
with music rare music posters that
are more like artwork. Each one is
completely unique to the one next
to it. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Black
Sabbath and the Black Eyed Peas are
all represented on this interesting mural
of music posters.
Hanging on the wall behind the bar is a Fender
Stratocaster with an artist signature on the body. I
stare at it for several minutes trying to make out whose
guitar this is. I couldn’t tell. Underneath the guitar was a small
framed 8x10 inch poster from Lollapalooza 2010, a hint to this music
relic. I still didn’t know whose guitar and signature this was. I asked
the bartender but she didn’t know either. I would have to come back
another day to solve the mystery of the famous guitar.
Te night ended as people were drunken stumbling out of most
bars in Wrgleyville. It’s afer 3 a.m. and I’m exhausted. A belligerent
chorus of people follow me to the Red Line but I don’t hear them.
I’m quietly listening to my own playlist in my head, of the diferent
songs, genres, and classics I had heard that night. My own sound-
track of the night.
Page 12
Wrigleyville Sports is located literally in the shadows of legendary
Wrigley Field on the southeast corner of West Addison Street
and Shefeld Avenue at 959 West Addison Street, just west of the
Addison Street Red and Brown Line station. Wrigleyville Sports is
one of the best places in Chicago to fnd a huge assortment of local
sports merchandise and memorabilia.
Given its proximity to Wrigley Field,
one might expect that Wrigley-
ville Sports caters particular-
ly to Cubs fans, but they
also have lots of Bears,
Bulls, and Blackhawks
gear as well and will
soon be adding even
more Bulls apparel.
What separates this
store from the rest
in the city is the se-
lection. A variety of
caps, t-shirts, jack-
ets, sweatshirts, and
many other acces-
sories can be found
here.

The store’s success de-
pends on how each of the
teams play, particularly the
Cubs. John Moorehouse, Wrig-
leyville Sports store manager, says
that when the Cubs are winning the
store does well, but adds that when they’re
not playing particularly well, it’s “not as exciting.”
Moorehouse was hired as a seasonal employee during the 2003 base-
ball season before being hired full-time and then working his way up to
become the store manager.
Of course 2003 was the year that the Cubs won the National League
Central division and battled in the playoffs before being eliminated
by the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series.
“That was”, John said, “the best time I’ve spent working at Wrigleyville
Sports. It was very wearing working, we all put in a ton of hours, but
it was so exciting it just kept us all going”.
By Ricardo Torres
Ricardo Torres has been living in Chicago since August 2009 and is going to school at Roosevelt University for a master’s of science degree in jour-
nalism. He has a bachelor’s of arts degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He’s written for WGN Radio, Wisconsin Public
Radio and has gotten published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal and online for Milwaukee Magazine. On his spare time he enjoys playing music,
going to concerts and movies.
Wrigleyville Sports: Riding the Wave
Moorehouse says that he sees the
same trend with the various oth-
er Chicago sports teams. “When
the Bears went to the Super Bowl
in 2006, everyone wanted Bears
stuff and, this past year, when the
Blackhawks went all the way, it
was just crazy busy in here. With
the Blackhawks winning the Stan-
ley Cup, especially right when the
White Sox are playing the Cross-
town Classic right here at Wrigley,
it defnitely brought a lot of peo-
ple in here to support the Black-
hawks,” Moorehouse says. “If a
team is doing well, we defnitely
stay a little busier.”
The store also felt the impact of
this last Cubs season. “This sea-
son wasn’t bad… but it was def-
nitely one of the worst seasons,
Cubs record wise,” Moorehouse
said. “You can tell towards the
end of the year it died down, peo-
ple weren’t as excited.”
Through the cheers and the tears,
Wrigleyville Sports has ridden the
waves along the way, giving its
employees as well as Chicago
sports fans, many great memo-
ries. “It’s been a fun job over the
years,” Moore-
house says.
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Wrigleyville is defnitely a popular
place during the summer months,
when Chicago Cubs fans fock to
the ballpark and nearby bars to
watch their favorite team take to
the feld. Sports may dominate
the scene during games, but the
rest of the time Wrigleyville re-
mains a highly-prized Chicago
neighborhood and a great place
to live. Here’s what happened in
the housing market last month…
Only three attached residen-
tial properties closed during the
month of September in Wrigley-
ville. The units have two or few-
er bedrooms with an average
sales price of $323,417. The av-
erage market time for the proper-
ties was 86 days, after which they
sold for 96% of the list price, aver-
aged between the three.
There are currently 64 active list-
ings in Wrigleyville, according
to the Chicago MLS. Of these,
just 4 are detached single-fami-
ly homes, the rest are either con-
dos or duplexes. For the most
part, attached properties in Wrig-
leyville offer one- or two-bedroom
foor plans, however, there are 16
three-bedroom units on the mar-
ket right now and one four-bed-
room option. Average list price for
attached one- and two-bedroom
properties is $355,110. Larger
condos are available for around
$499,000. Average market time
for attached properties in Wrigley-
ville is around 185 days,
although larger.
Wrigleyville Real Estate: September Update
If a detached house is what you’re looking for, the average price hov-
ers around $1.670 million in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. You can
get a three-bedroom abode for about $1 million, but the majority of sin-
gle-family dwellings listed here have fve or more bedrooms.
There are a number of deals currently available in Wrigleyville, includ-
ing a sunny 2-bedroom condo at 1141 W. Patterson that is listed for
$399,900. The home offers 1300 square feet of living space and has 1
garage parking spot available for $20K. The property features Brazil-
ian cherry hardwood foors throughout, wood-burning freplace in the
living room, and an open chef’s kitchen with stainless steel appliances
and extra-long breakfast bar. Other highlights are the elegant crown
molding, marble baths, front-loading washer/dryer, excellent closets,
dual vanity and separate shower in master, and large back deck. The
condo is located in an intimate, newer construction brick building with
gated front yard one block west of Wrigley Field. Easy walk to restau-
rants, shops, bars and theaters.
All home sales statistics were pulled from the MLS of Northern Illinois on 10/20/10
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As children, most of us grow up making a wish every year just before
we blow out the candles on our birthday cake. Sometimes we know in
our hearts that our wishes will never come true, that we won’t really
be given the superpowers of our favorite heroes, no matter how hard
we wish. But we wish for these types of things anyway because, when
you’re seven years old, what else are you going to wish for?
Earlier this summer though, it was brought to my attention via one of
my Facebook pages, Between the Vines, that a little girl from Santa
Clarita, California had a very special wish and that the good people
at the Make-A-Wish Foundation (http://www.wish.org) were going to
make it come true. The little girl’s name is Kattarina and she is a vi-
brant, beautiful little angel who was tragically stricken with neuroblas-
toma, a form of cancer that forms in nerve tissue, several years ago.
The message came from her mother, Michele, who was simply letting
me know that her daughter would soon have a great story for my up-
coming book about her experience with the Cubs--- Make-A-Wish was
fying them both to Chicago to see Kattarina’s grandmother and to at-
tend their frst game at Wrigley Field.
I was so touched that I told Michele to let me know when they were
coming and that I would “see what I could do” to help make this a day
that they would all remember for the rest of their lives. Make-A-Wish
had generously arranged to put them up at the Intercontinental Hotel
downtown and provide them with tickets to the September 7th game
against the Astros. I wanted to do a little something more for them
however. Not just for Kattarina, but for her mother and grandmother
as well. I felt that it’s often forgotten, in times of crisis and/or despair,
that the family suffers as well albeit in a very different way, but suffers
nonetheless.
So I started corresponding with Michele so that I knew when they
would be there and so that I could start setting things in motion. I ac-
tually didn’t fnd out when they would be in town until I was already on
my way to Chicago for the weekend to see a game on September 5th.
I got back home late Sunday night on the 5th and hadn’t had a chance
to do anything over the weekend while I was in town because I had
taken a group of friends to Wrigley Field for the frst time, so I was busy
with them all weekend. Of course Monday, the 6th was Labor Day,
so there wasn’t anything I could do that day either. I was determined
though so on the morning of the 7th I got in my car and drove back to
Chicago. Before I left that morning I had sent emails out to the peo-
ple I was asking for help from and could do nothing but wait to hear a
response. They got back to me almost immediately and all were very
anxious to help.
A Wish Comes True
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I don’t want to “drop names” but here’s how the day transpired once I
arrived in Chicago:
I picked Kattarina, Michele, and Kat’s grandmother, Sandy, from the In-
tercontinental around 2:00. They had planned to take the el down and
meet me at Wrigley Field around 5:00, but when I told Michele of the
plans I had made for them, I had to add in the fact that the Wrigleyville/
Cubs experience should be an all-day experience, not just a “game
and go”. I explained to her that that was part of what makes seeing the
Cubs at Wrigley so unique. She, never having been to Wrigleyville her-
self and, like so many other “frst-timers” didn’t completely understand,
but she agreed to let me show them what I meant.
We arrived downtown, parked at the McDonald’s on Clark St. and, af-
ter taking the obligatory photos with the Ernie Banks statue, in front
of the marquee, etc., we made our way over to Harry Caray’s Tavern
Wrigleyville for a little lunch. As they ordered lunch, I sought out co-
managers, Mike Roberts and Tim Webb, who had arranged a little
surprise for our little guest of honor and her family. Even I didn’t know
what they had in store for us! Mike set the whole thing up for us and
Tim came and got us and walked us over to the Captain Morgan Club
where we went right in and were taken right to the front of a short, pri-
vate line to meet Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. All three were in awe as they
shook his hand, had several pictures taken with him and, of course, as
is customary when you meet Ernie Banks, answered all of his ques-
tions about their family. (As a side note, if you ever get the chance to
meet Ernie Banks and you think that you’re going to talk about him, his
great career, or the Cubs, then you may be disappointed because he
only wants to talk about you and your family. He’s a very, very humble
gentleman.)
After we met Mr. Banks, we were escorted back to Harry’s for lunch
and the family enjoyed a complimentary dessert courtesy of their fne,
friendly staff. After taking a few pictures with staff members who just
couldn’t get enough of this sweet little girl and, of course, with the bust
of Harry, it was time to thank them for the chance to meet a baseball
legend, a delicious lunch, and a tasty ice cream treat to top it all off, it
was time for us to say goodbye and move on.
We only had to walk a few paces next door to Wrigleyville Sports where
John Moorehouse and his staff were ready and waiting for Kat’s arriv-
al. They frst presented her with a Cubs backpack flled with all sorts of
Cubs goodies and then, as mother and grandmother shopped around
in the store, little Kat did some shopping of her own. Everything she
expressed interest in from a Cubs cap to a Cubs bracelet, and every-
thing else in between, was very generously given to her by John and
his staff. Words just don’t express how happy she was coming out of
that store. Of course, after we left Wrigleyville Sports, I was glad that
we had found a spot to park close enough to Wrigley because we re-
ally needed to unload some of her goodies until after the game.
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Then it was time for the Cubs themselves to shine! We met Cubs Am-
bassador, Laura by the Ernie Banks statue at 5:00 and she promptly
gave took all of us onto the feld to watch the Cubs take batting prac-
tice. What a great place to watch batting practice from! A couple of
guys came
over and put baseballs inside Kat’s bag as we stood there watching
and after the family had fnished taking pictures. I saw Alfonso Sori-
ano, who has a godchild with neuroblastoma, taking a few practice
swings as he waited for his turn in the batting cage. “Sori!”, I called
out to him, “come here for a minute.” “I can’t, I’m next”, he said. A lit-
tle discouraged but even more determined to get him to come over, I
pointed to where Kat was standing and quietly called out to him again,
“Neuroblastoma.” That was all I had to say. He immediately put his
bat down at his side and walked over to where we were standing. He
spent several minutes with us talking to Michele, Sandy, and I and, of
course, little Kat.
We watched the rest of batting practice before making our way up to
our seats. I sat by myself so that the family could enjoy the atmosphere
together. As I looked at them throughout the game I thought about how
glad I was that I had come to be a part of this day for her. The Cubs
lost that night but ,for one very special little girl who had fown all of the
way from Los Angeles to Chicago just to see her favorite team play on
their home feld, it didn’t matter. Kattarina got to experience something
that day that few of us ever get to---her wish came true.
-Tim O’Riley is the editor-in-chief of Wrigleyville Magazine and
also keeps fans posted on all things Cubs year-round on his Fa-
cebook page, Between the Vines (http://facebook.com/between-
thevines). His Facebook page for Wrigleyville Magazine is http://
facebook.com/wrigleyvillemagazine. Follow him on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/WrigleyMagazine and http://twitter.com/Cub-
sStories. You can also email him at tim@wrigleyvillemagazine.com.
www.WrigleyvilleMagazine.com

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