July 13-15, 2012
BDBL Weekend 2012:
Chicago & Milwaukee
The official BDBL
Weekend 2012 starting lineup.
By Mike Glander
CHICAGO, IL -- The 13th annual BDBL
Weekend festivities took place in Chicago and Milwaukee this year, with
only six members attending. Although it was the weakest attendance
in BDBL Weekend history, we still managed to find a way to enjoy
ourselves. The party kicked off on Friday afternoon, when myself,
Ryan, Greg Newgard and Scott Romonosky all met at the luxurious Airport
Hilton hotel in Chicago. From there, we traveled via CTA to
downtown Chicago, stopping only 1,659 times along the way. We
eventually met Matt Clemm, who took us on another CTA journey to Mike
was a league favorite during BDBL Weekend 2006, and I've spent the past
six years craving Ditka's pot roast nachos. We met John Gill at
the bar, and were seated at our table. We ordered one order of pot
roast nachos, and enjoyed it so much, we ordered another. Newgard
then ordered a tomahawk steak that would make Fred Flintstone jealous,
while the rest of us ordered steaks, burgers and meatloaf -- except for
Ryan, who ordered yet another order of pot roast nachos.
After settling our $350 bill, we
ventured forth to a Chicago institution, the legendary Second City show.
Although Brian Potrafka would have vomited at the thought of witnessing
such a travesty of comedy, we enjoyed the show very much. Of
course, I could have done without all of the radical right-wing
political humor. By the end of the show, I felt sorry for our poor
president, the way they mercilessly skewered him.
At the show, we had the unique and
awesome opportunity to meet Matt Clemm's better half, Kerry. She
is as charming, witty and likeable in person as she is on the internets.
We also met her friend, Sarah, who joined us after the show as we took a
tour of every bowling alley within 20 miles of Chicago. Alas, we
never found one that was: a) open, and b) willing to allow a minor to
bowl. After spending nearly two hours driving around aimlessly, we
eventually dropped off Ryan at our hotel and drove down to the local
casino for a few nightcaps.
The following morning, we loaded into
Clemm's minivan and headed due west (for some reason) on the road to
Milwaukee. It was a short two-hour trip, and we arrived at the
Lakefront Brewery in no time. Unfortunately, we weren't the only
ones to come up with the idea of taking a brewery tour on a sunny
Saturday afternoon, as all the tours were booked. So instead, we
drove down to the Miller Brewery and sat through several long
advertisements for the Miller Brewing Company. We got a glimpse of
the bottling facility, and saw the warehouse, which contains 500,000
cases of beer. And our tour ended with a visit to the "famous"
Miller caves and a few samples of beer in the "beer garden."
From there, we went straight to Miller
Park, where we witnessed a game between the Brewers and Pirates.
Although none of us were excited by the notion of a pitching matchup
featuring Kevin Correia and Marco Estrada, it turned out to be a decent
game. Estrada whiffed 11 batters in just 5 2/3 innings, but gave
up a two-run blast to the red-hot Andrew McCutchen. Casey McGehee,
returning to Milwaukee for the first time, also went yard, and had three
hits on the day. And we got to see Ryan Braun go 0-for-2, which is
In the end, the hometown Brewers went
down in defeat by a score of 6-4. But we did get to see Billy
Brewer slide down his slide for no apparent reason. Fireworks also
went off for no apparent reason. And there were Brewers
cheerleaders and a bunch of mascots dressed like sausages. All in
all, Bud Selig seems to have built a model franchise...for a minor
After the game, the gang decided to
visit a bar called the "Safe House." A few of us hadn't eaten yet,
so we broke off into separate groups. Again, the only place we
could find within a 20-block radius that would serve minors was a
Mexican fast food place, so we all choked down some nasty, greasy food.
I then cabbed it back to our hotel with Ryan while the others joined up
at the Safe House.
Unfortunately, my taxi driver had no
idea where the Safe House is, so I told him to just drop me off by
Buffalo Wild Wings, which is where he picked me up. Of course, he
couldn't speak English very well, so he thought I asked him to drop me
off at Buffalo Street. Which is nowhere near the Safe House.
After hailing two more cabs, I was able
to finally find a driver who knew where this place is. And once I
found the place myself, I immediately understood why. The bar is
located down a dark alley, with no exterior lights and no sign posted
anywhere. It's simply a door that opens into an alley. I
stepped inside, and a woman asked for my ID. She then directed me
to another woman, who took my $5 cover. She then asked me for a
password. Now, from our conversation earlier in the evening, I was
told the password was "control", but she just shook her head. She
then directed me toward a brick wall, where I was ordered to hula-hoop
for ten seconds.
I can't hula-hoop to save my life, so I
looked like a giant asshole trying. Mercifully, she allowed me to
enter the club, and a bookcase to my left swung open, revealing a secret
passage. Of course, my performance was broadcast to the entire bar
on closed circuit TV, and when I entered I was greeted with a rousing
The system of entry isn't the only
strange thing about the Safe House. One of the walls moves to
reveal different pictures. There are secret passageways that go
nowhere. One of the men's room doors opens to a brick wall.
And there is a secret exit that involves a telephone booth and a secret
code. Oh, and all the waitresses appear to be nine months
After a long night that stretched into
the morning, we woke up relatively early on Saturday to make the trek
back to Chicago. By the time we arrived, it was time to head
straight to Wrigley Field. It was about 95 degrees in Chicago that
day, but it felt closer to 195. And the fact that we were sitting
on metal bleachers, directly in the sun, didn't help matters.
Similar to our trip in 2006, we spent hours broiling in the bleachers
and emerged with plenty of sunburn and dehydration.
The game itself was relatively
uneventful. The Cubs took an early 3-0 lead off of Trevor Cahill
after two innings (thanks to a homer by Darwin Barney to the right of
where we were sitting.) And thanks to the stellar pitching of Matt
Garza and the Chicago bullpen, there wasn't much drama the rest of the
way. "Closer" Carlos Marmol did his best to supply some drama in
the ninth inning, allowing two baserunners in 2/3 of an inning, but he
managed to lock in the save in the end.
Following the game, we had some really
incredible pizza and beer at a place called "Peace." We then took
a driving tour of Chicago, supplied by the world's scariest driver, Matt
Clemm. And we wrapped up the night with a beer down the road from
our hotel near Lincoln Park.
All in all, despite the low turnout, it
was a fantastic, though exhausting, weekend. It was great meeting
John Gill for the first time, and equally great meeting Mrs. Clemm.
Because our flight on Monday didn't depart until 6:00pm, Ryan and I had
the opportunity to spend more time with Kerry and her awesome kids.
We had lunch at the famous Billy Goat Tavern, and walked around Navy
Pier on yet another hot and muggy day. It was a nice and relaxing
ending to a frantic weekend of running around from location to location.
A few ideas that were tossed around for
BDBL Weekend 2013 include Houston, Miami and Arizona.