Where Nobody Knows Your Name

There’s a bar at Broadway and Buena that serves a hell of a good pizza. Not deep dish, not Chicago-style or any of that, just your average greasy goodness with cheese oozing off the crust and toppings you didn’t know people used as toppings. And nothing fancy where bars go either, just your average neighborhood corner joint. Lots of TVs. Plenty of beer. Free wireless internet.

I stopped in tonight to catch the game. The day had been spent – some might say squandered – cursing these White Sox. Stupid one-dimensional offense, I thought. How dare you not hit the grand slam? Oh, and by the way, nice rundown there the other night.

But time dulls all pain, even that of a horrifying three nights of baseball, so I focused again. It’s only half a game they’re down by, and there’s (sort of) plenty of baseball to play still. Anything is possible, and you never know grinder/grit/all that business. The Tribe can’t win forever, so it seemed worth paying attention.

That bar on Broadway sits less than a mile from Wrigley Field, just close enough for balconies and front steps to still fly those hateful W flags as an act of neighborly kindness and where the good-looking residents all rock their best blue and red.

All told there were maybe a dozen people on hand. A couple cops, a few couples, mostly locals getting some of that sweet, sweet grease pit pizza. The Cubs-Brewers game – the one to decide the division that’s already been decided, the one to maybe put the Brew Crew back sort of near the top – came on at the same time as what became the terrible Sox-Indians showdown you see before you.

I ask Bartender if he could put the Sox on the big-screen with the sound on.

Bartender looked at me like I was crazy. “Cubs only,” he says.

The Cubs’ game is meaningless, I say.

“Sox game’s even more meaningless,” he says. “But it’s still on the other TVs.”

Here in Cubstown, half a game on the other side of town doesn’t matter; where once I would have been a guy rooting for civic glory, instead here I sit screaming at silence. Across the bar, an occcassional clap or “Yeah” surfaces when the Good Guys do some good, but if this game is set to be decided by clumsy home runs, hit batsmen and four-pitch walks, better to suffer where no one can hear it.