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Candles to be lit, celebrations scheduled, the City soldiers forward
By Brianna Jenkins
Chicago Tribune Senior Reporter
CHICAGOâPublic transportation hums along rail and street. Storefronts open in the morning. Restaurant tables grace sidewalks to accommodate those of us still in the throes of summer. Corporations in the Loop send commuters home in the evening. Traffic on Lake Shore Drive streams north and south, north and south.
Life in Chicago goes on, much as it always has.
But in the hearts and minds of many Chicagoansâif not to say, all true Chicagoansâis that to the very day this Tuesday, three weeks will have passed since the Lupas Softball Club shocked the world with their incredible championship run in the Chicago Sport and Social Club 12-inch Lincoln Park South League.
âI can remember precisely where I was when I found out about the victory. I can remember it all as if it happened yesterday,â said Chicago resident Rosie Diedrich.
âI mean, I was there,â she added. âI had to be there.â
There has been no official word from City Hall as to what events are planned for the occasion, though many cite Mayor Rahm Emanuelâs presence at the Democratic National Convention as the only obstruction for a city-wide day of remembrance. Individual memorial celebrations are expected all the way from south Lakeview to north Lincoln Park, even stretching into Wrigleyville.
Candles are lit in a ceremony honoring the “Victory That Shook a City.” The candles symbolize the numerous beers and vodka drinks the team had to consume throughout the course of the season.
As the City braces to remember the three games in the historic playoff run, Lupas players have used the nearly 30,000 minutes since first-baseman Blake Slagter grasped the final out in the last game to reflect on what their lives now mean in this changed world.
âI definitely donât take things for granted as much as I used to,â said Katie Dorcak, who had six hits and scored four runs on That Day. âSome people are waking up tomorrow and are not champs. As a champ, I can only sympathize, but I certainly feel their pain. In a way.â
Coach Colette Burke has seen the victory as a mandate to continue her managerial style into the foreseeable future.
âThe only way to determine a proper batting order is to look up and see whoâs standing by you and then writing their name in the lineup,â Burke said. âAnyone who thinks otherwise will take one look at my championship shirt and shut the [expletive] up.â
Other players have not found coping with success as easily. Slagter reportedly embarked upon a five-day drinking binge that left him reeling in a euphoric alcohol-soaked daze. Roommates were unable to punch the grin off his face for several hours. Jared and Jillian Rathge were forced to celebrate the victory that night rather than drive home immediately after the game, as is typically the case when school is in session. The couple managed little rest that night, and widespread reports indicatedâand were later confirmedâthat they were very tired the next day and may have had to have more coffee than they are normally accustomed.
Family, sports, and other obligations suffered as well. Mike Gansfuss arrived home more than two hours after he was expected by his wife and their newborn. Joe Leleika had to miss out on his suburban-area hockey playoffs. And Regular Mike was 20 minutes late for a drumming gig, which was still 45 minutes earlier than his bandmates.
âWeâve all had to make sacrifices,â said Christina Augustyn. âFor instance, now that Iâm a champion, I canât wear my champion shirt every day of the week, though that is my recreationally-given right. Doing so, I could alienate non-champions, and, as a champion, I want to champion like a champion normally champions.â
Yes, Lake Michigan is still blue. The wind still howls. The Cubs continue to lose. As much as things stay the same, this Tuesday may find the City a different place than it was three weeks agoâa Lupas-championship metropolis. But Chicago carries on.
âGiven how long the Lupas have been trying to win it all, I didnât see what the big deal was,â said first-time Lupa CJ Diedrich. âEvery squirrel gets a nut some day, right?â
Associated Press unavailable, game recap by aspiring reporter on scene
By Brianna Jenkins
OVER BY THE LAKE; IN CHICAGO, DUHâSo my friend Amber and I were at the parks by the water, you know, near the tennis courts. She said, âHey, there are some people playing softball over here. Youâre a reporter or something, Brianna. You should totes try to see if you can write about in, like, the real newspaper or something.â
At first I thought she was cray-cray, but then I thought, âThis could so help me get into collegeâmaybe even a year early or something so Trevor and I can be in the dorms together.â Iâm not shy either so going up to people for quotes is no problem (even if they’re drinkingâmore on that later!). I did it last year for the Lane Tech paper until that bitch Mrs. Neusbaum made me quit because I wrote about Tayla Nimbleâs ugly outfits. She totally looks like a homeless person, I donât care what Mrs. Neusbaum says.
So Amber, totes my BF4L, and I walked over to where these older people are, like, totally playing softball! I couldnât believe it. And it wasnât even an old peopleâs league or nothing but these people seriously had to be in their 30s.
I am not even kidding.
I didnât have anything to write on, but everyone tells me I have, like, this killer memory so I committed everything to, you know, my brain and shit. And Amber says I can take notes in my phone if I need to. She is so amaze-aballs!
We started watching. For starters, the team that won was way kewl. Their name was Just the Tip and they beat the last-ranked team, who were called Broken Parts. Just the Tip won by 10 runs, 14-4, which means they stop playing, I guess. If youâre losing by that much, I guess itâs embarrassing or something.
What was weird, though, was that they were drinking beerâeven the pitcher. I asked Amber if she thought the pitcherâs head was big. She said, âHow should I know? I donât know what heâs like.â And I said, not, like, personality big, but for-reals big. His name was D-Lish, and he was drinking beer. We didnât know people really did that in real life. Playing sports with beer? That’s just weird.
Then where was this other guy, with, like, big muscles, and he hit two home runs. Each time up, someone was on base, so Just the Tip scored a whole bunch of runs when he came up to bat. He didnât appear to be drinking so maybe that was why. The other players should totes take a cue from him or some shit.
Amber thought the Chewie guy was cute. She is such a ho!
ButâOMGâget this, âcause this is, like, so off the chain. The girls on their team could totally hit the ball! This one girl, Ashley, was on base three times in three at-bats and this other one, C-Section (who must be a total sliz who has, like, six babies but must totes work out because sheâs super skinny like me), hit the ball super-hard each time up. But the other team must know her âcause they were there to catch it every time.
Then this girl K-Dog struck out one time but so made up for it the other times she was up to bat. And they put her at first base because she caught all these crazy throwsâand she had this one that she caught that the other team hitâlike, pa-kow! The guy who hit it was all whiney about it too, like, cry me a river. (LOL, right?) He didnât even say, âHey, good catch âcause youâre a girl and are drunkâ or anything.
Later, I was over by the clocktower thingie âcause my phoneâs reception is, like, shit, and also because I have too many apps on there or something, my mom says. But what does she know? She has to work two jobs. Anyway, I watched the coach or captain or whatever for Just the Tip get up and hit a pop-out to first base for the second time in a row.
What a totes ass-hat.
The guy Mark, he caught everything hit to him in the outfield. I donât know if he was drinking. Probably not because he was good. They had another guy, JD, on the bench who, like, kept drinking and giving people beer and making jokes. Maybe thatâs what old people do or something with sports? I donât know.
By then, Amber had to go. She was meeting Dakota and Jessie, who are total rags, if you ask me. The other team were wankstas. Iâd rather be on Just the Tip. I wonder what their team name means.
Just the Tip plays again at 7:30 p.m. on Field 2. Amber, who is a total bitch, will not be there, but I may go and mack on that Chewie guy just to cheese her off. Iâm gonna try beer again too. Maybe old people drink beer that tastes good, not like that other stuff we had at Eddie’s party. I hope I don’t pass out again.
âDid you see what I did?â Katie asks âHey, did you- did you see my home run? The home run that I hit?â
CHICAGO, WAVELAND PARKâAs the sweating of the City of Chicago continued unabated, two second-place teams squared off Thursday night at Waveland Park in what many foresaw as a battle of dominating teams, each entering the game with 4-1 records. But only one team would dominate that dayâand, like lecherous lovers with lively libidos, they would do it in the rain.
Just the Tip ruffled the feathers of Angry Birds all day, plating nearly 20 runs and keeping their defense tight enough to secure a 19-6 win and, at 5-1, securing sole possession of second place.
The Tippersâ offense wasâ
âI hit a home run,â Katie Dorcak said. âIt wasnât one that slipped past the outfielder or some shit. This was legit. Too legit to quit. Or âtwoâ legit to quit. Get it? Because someone was on base. So two RBIs right there.â
In addition to Dorcakâs mammoth two-run blast in the fifth inning, the Tippers got home runs from CJ Diedrich, Chewie Kopp, and Dave Myers, who went 3-4 on the day to break out of his self-professed mini-slump. After the team’s poor showing at the plate last week, no one could have predicted such an impressive offensive outburst.
As temperatures continued to swelter around triple digits, relief came in the third inning when the skies opened up and rain began toâ
âIt was a legitimate home run, too,â Dorcak added. âYou knowâfwooosh!âover their heads on a fly. Way over their heads too. And then I started running hard because we needed runs.â
Defense was a contributing factor for the victory, as always, with particularly strong play by Mike Gansfuss at third base and Diedrich at shortstop. Colette Burke made a spectacular running catch in the first inning, hustling in on a short pop-up to right field. Myers went the distance again to improve to 5-0 on the season with five complete games.
The victory and offensive showing could not have come at a better time for the Tippers. Next week they face off against Pen Is Mightier, whose 6-0 record has them a game ahead of Just the Tip in the standings. A win on Thursday would give them the number-one seed in the playoffs and build on their already growing momentum.
âWeâre not thinking about playoffs just yet,â said coach Byrrd Adrian. âWith one game left, what we need to do isââ
âThe game wasnât completely in our hands when I hit that home run either,â Dorcak said. âWeâd only scored nine runs by that point.â
âUh, see, if we focus too hard on playoffs right now,â Adrian said, âthen we could lose our focus on the game atââ
âThe best part was that we had a runner on base, you know. Mark [Olson]. Mark was on base already,â Dorcak added. âSo it wasnât just like I hit a home run to get one run. No, with someone on base, that made it two runs, not one. So thatâs like double the output. With one swing. With one home-run swing.â
âFwooosh. Over their heads.â
The Tippers play again on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against Pen Is Mightier. Compiled season stats can be found below.
Hey, fans! Do you have an elderly parent, relative, or friend who might be interested in joining our fan club for septuagenarians, Too Tired for Tippers? Yeah. Neither do we.
âThis should have been domination,â team says, âbut itâs too damn hotâ
CHICAGO, WAVELAND PARKâBrimming with confidence and braving 100-degree temperatures, Just the Tip eked out a 6-5 win against Softballs â Hard Asses on Thursday, a victory that felt more like a loss than anything.
âI canât believe it was that close,â coach Byrrd Adrian said. âWe should have wiped the field with their quote, hard asses, end-quote.â Adrian then gave a self-satisfying smirk at what he thought was a quality remark.
Two teams going in different directions, Just the Tip (4-1) and Softballs â Hard Asses (1-4) locked horns in a sweaty low-scoring duel that seemed more like a contest of âlet the other guy win.â The Tippers got things started in the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff home run from CJ Diedrich and a two-run shot from Matt Kopp, who continues to pad his season home run total.
After scoring two more in the second inning, the Tippers went the entire length of their batting order without scoring again.
âWe thought we had this one in the bag, man. In the goddamn bag,â Justin âJ-Dogâ Evans said. âAnd then the bottom falls out and all of a sudden we canât score. What gives? We even had a selection of high-quality bats. I donât get it.â
Others on the team agreed.
âI donât know if I was sweating from the heat or sweating from the anxiety of not beating the holy hell out of a team that we should have been beating by a lot the entire game,â Katie Dorcak said. âEither way I was sweating my balls off. If you get my drift.â Dorcak then gestured for reporters to âsuck it.â
Dorcak did manage to keep her cool long enough to knock in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Adrian hit a one-out single to right field that skipped past the girl out there who seemed to make every lucky catch she could except this one. Adrian advanced to third on the error and scored on Dorcakâs hard grounder.
Defense and pitching took it from there. Diedrich, turning double plays, and Kopp, making diving catches, made stellar plays at short and left field, respectively, and rubber-armed pitcher David J. Myers (4-0 on the season) was able to go the distance, getting first-pitch strikes with enough consistency to secure the win. The weak showing at the plate, however, lowered the team batting average to .495, the first time itâs been under .500 since the season started.
âThis isnât even a win, when you think about it,â said Susan Douglas, who went 3-3 on the day with a run scored. âAnd, you know what, I donât want to think about it. Itâs too damn hot to think.â
The Tippersâ next game is against Angry Birds on Thursday, July 5 at 6:30 p.m. on Field 2.
Do you have a son or daughter aged 3-7? Sign them up for Tots for Tips, the Just the Tip fan club. Members get a free âI got the Tipâ T-shirt and a foam beer cozy. Older fans aged 17-19 can join the Tips for Teens fan club, which includes trips to Byrrdâs house and a free photo session for aspiring models, actresses, and adult-film stars.
âWe never give up,â says coach, âunless weâre losing really bad. Then weâre like, you know, fuck itâ
CHICAGO, WAVELAND PARKâEntomologists will tell you all about the tenacity of the cockroach. Exterminators like to drawl on about the survival skills of rats. Even sociologists and historians have to give credit to the Jews, who are targeted for extinction every generation or two and never back down.
But what about recreation-league softball team Just the Tip? This is a team that survived defensive blunders (Byrrd), a distracting sunset, some weak at-bats, and even a rare strikeout from a dude (Dave) to overcome Wednesday Bagels on Thursday. They may not be the flashiest team (CJ, notwithstanding), but they kept fighting and clawed their way to victory at Waveland Park to improve to 3-1 on the season.
The victory has the Tippers thinking about long-term goals and possibly making a run for the title.
âTonight we definitely looked every bit like a team that can win it all,â said outfielder Mark Olson, who was 2-3 on the evening with a key three-run home run in the fourth inning. âScoring runs and playing defense helps, but we certainly need to have more beers on hand. I was a little disappointed in the lack of alcohol present.â
The Tippers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Dave Myersâ two-out , two-RBI single. In the bottom of the second, coach Byrrd Adrian tripled on a grounder to right field and scored on newcomer Katie Deatschâs seeing-eye pop-up single, padding their lead 3-0.
Wednesday Bagels struck back in the top of the third when Adrian misplayed a sinking liner in left, which opened the door for the Bagelsâ big fat guy to hit some home runs and eventually take a five-run lead.
âThey definitely had a big fat guy who could hit a home run every time,â said Katie Dorcak (.500 avg., 6 runs scored on the season), who continued her stellar play at first base and hit the ball hard each time up. âIt must be fun for their big fat guy to walk up and hit a home run like that. I bet he thought he was bigâthat big fat guy who hit home runs and put them ahead like that.â
With the game nearly getting out of hand, the Tippers buttoned down on defense, making key plays, including a double play started by shortstop CJ Deidrich, which has become an almost customary occurrence. And with his daughter in attendance, Myers pitched a gem, landing first-pitch strikes against a team that felt compelled to not swing for some reason. The combination of strong pitching and inspired defense helped keep the game in hand while the slumbering bats finally woke up and put up four- and three-spots on the board in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, allowing the Tips to take the lead for good.
The offense was once again paced by Matt Kopp, who continued to dominate at the plate, going 3-3 with two doubles and a home run, scoring three runs in the process. His offensive output has him in the lead for team MVP, if there was such a thing. âI donât hit home runs and drive in runs with such consistency to win awards,â Kopp (.800 avg., 7 runs on the season) said. âBut, you know, if there were such an award, itâd be pretty cool. Do you know if there is a team MVP award? Have you heard anything?â
The Tips are hitting .519 as a team on the season. If they can continue to hit with such authority, the team may do more than just survive games like this but actually thrive from week to week.
âWe need to keep hitting, thatâs for sure,â Diedrich (.636 avg., 5 runs on the season) said. âBut what we really need to cut down on are our strikeouts. Right, Dave?â
âYou ass,â Myers replied.
The Tippers (3-1) have a bye next week. Action resumes at 7:30 p.m. on June 28 against Angry Birds.
For Whom the Path Tolls â A Lakefront Path Refresher
By Byrrd Adrian, Reverie Hound Contributor, Editor of whereiflush.com
I know what youâre thinking: This warm weather requires me to do something outside. Youâre compelled to. Is it the distant echo of mothers harping in our ears to get outside? Is it the guilt of lying to ourselves, remembering the many times in winter when we said weâd get outside when itâs warmer? A siren song of spring, perhaps, lulling us to set down the remote control?
Andâno pulling punches hereâthis is real warm weather, not like that freak warmth we had in Marchâthis is the stuff that we count on every year, the springtime joy that rewards us for the misery of January and February. You want to spend your time after work watching Bravo or ESPN? Um, get the F outside already.
Now that youâre off the couch (but still on the Internet), I need you to hop on your bike, dust off your Rollerblades, or strap on your iPod and jogâfucking runâto the lakefront path. Weâre Chicagoans. This is what we do when the warmth descends upon us. The lakefront path is why we live in Chicago. Itâs a gift from Daniel Burnham, the man who said the lakefront should be for Chicagoans, not industry. (You can thank him yourself at Graceland Cemetery. Heâs got the best gravestone there. Itâs not one of those giant monoliths you can see over the brick wall but a boulder with a plaque, and you have to see where it is to see heâs got the best real estate in the place.)
The Memorial Day weekend is often considered the start of official summer in Chicago, with the end of summer being Labor Day. Granted, we have nice days before and after, but for some reason, this timetable is engrained in our brains and, consciously or not, triggers an emotional response in us. And the compulsion we often feel is to hit the lakefront path, whether that means biking or running to work or just walking for a few hours of sun and air.
However you choose to traverse the 18-mile stretch of blacktop from Hollywood Avenue to 71st Street, just remember whom you will encounter and be wary of them:
Âˇ Speed Cyclists: These are the people who dress in cycling gear as if theyâre on their way to the starting line at the Tour de France and fly past you at dizzying speeds. âOn your left,â theyâll shout as they whiz past, worrying about their time, annoyed that anyone else is even out on the path when theyâre trying to train, goddamn it. On your left? How about slow the fuck down? No one cares about the race youâre trying to qualify for, but they care about getting swiped or slammed by some 40-mile-an-hour blur in ridiculous short-pants.
Âˇ Wandering Kids: Between North Avenue Beach and the old sanitarium at Fullerton Parkway, there is a stretch of concrete and grass that attracts large families on a daylong bender of beer and sandwiches. Theyâve packed coolers and chairs, drinking and laughing and eating, and theyâre happy as hell to be thereâas they should, itâs a fun time. But what you wonât see them doing is watching their rapturous, roving kids, wandering out into the path in water-soaked underwear and oblivious to the traffic burning past them. Iâve almost flattened a number of these frenzied little brats.
Âˇ Leisurely Strollers in the Middle: The path is for everyone: walkers, joggers, bikers, âbladersâall of which operate at different speeds. To make this work, slower people stick to the right. Easy enough, right? Apparently not. Some unwitting group of people in town for their insurance conference will ultimately decide to take a stroll along the lakefront because everyone told them thatâs what they just had to do. Preoccupied with chatter about where to go for dinner, this batch of khaki pants and button-downsâwalking four acrossâwill take up the middle part of the path, completely unaware of the people zipping around them on both sides. Walkers need to stick to the soft dirt along the side or on the other side of the white line.
Âˇ Know-It-Alls: I just saw this person the other day. A couple girls were fixing a bike chain in the middle of the southbound side. I was coming up behind them to see if they needed help moving to the side, but some woman (in full bicycle garb, of course) in the other lane took it upon herself to shout, âMove it to the side!â Jesus. Lay off, lady. I had it under control.
Anytime you see one of those cheap, unscientific polls asking about what makes Chicago great from a local news channel or in RedEye, the lakefront path comes in at number one every time. And I couldnât agree more. Itâs a wonderful amenityâand it belongs to all of us. So when you eventually set down that video-game controller or turn off that movie, Iâll see you on the path. Just watch out for the aforementioned buzz-kills. The path may belong to everyone, but not everyone knows how to use it properly.