It’s a kind of mayoral bet that Hot-C is making with her sister Kelly about the outcome of the Cubs vs. Cardinals series. If St. Louis wins, Hot-C is sending a family pack of hot dogs with all the trimmings to her from Portillo’s. If Chicago pulls out a victory, Hot-C (and Your Humble Narrator) will receive a pizza from Imo’s (“The Square Beyond Compare!"), a childhood fave of Hot-C, who, legend has it, was discovered in a swaddling basket under the St. Louis arch and who knows all of Bob Gibson's stats (Or maybe it was the Golden Gate ....)
The “Square Beyond Compare?” I have trepidations already ….
It’s not exactly the World Series. Kelly and Hot-C are kind of figuring that whatever happens, neither the Chicago Cubs nor the St. Louis Cardinals will get that far. But to win Division’s pretty good. A pennant would be better, but it is elusive (at least for Chicago). The Cardinals have won the World Series eleven times, which is the second highest number among all 30 Major League teams, and the most among National League teams. If the Cards win tonight, it’s a fairly safe bet that they could win it all.
Kelly has been sending taunting texts about how she can almost feel the steam rising from the hot dogs, and Hot-C has already been ordering the toppings on her pizza. She has changed her mind several times. She takes her time, believe me.
What Chicago needs to keep in mind is the old Paul “Bear” Bryant quote: “When you get into the end zone, act like you've been there before.”
Pretty easy for the Cardinals. But for the Cubs? It’s hard to predict the madness that will ensue. Fireworks, reckless shooting of guns, idiotic drunks picking fights … wait a minute. That’s pretty much a normal weekend in Chicago, where last Fourth of July weekend, 82 people were shot, 15 of them fatally. And that was during an event that comes around every year (sort of like a Cardinals Division playoff win).
So let’s behave ourselves. Sneak across the border to Indiana and get some fireworks at Phantom or Uncle Sam’s if you must, or, better yet, just let out a whoop that your neighbors can hear (always good to share a moment of victory in some small way), honk your horn if you’re in your car, order up a round for the house if you’re in a bar, and feel all that the camaraderie and the goodwill and team spirit sink into your pores. "We won!"
And then, when the Imo’s pizza (or whatever your table stake was) arrives, enjoy it for its St. Louis uniqueness – and then be grateful that there’s a Giordano’s and a Gigio’s and a Lou Malnati’s and a Geno’s East and an Amato’s and a Piece, and a Pizano, and an Uno, and a Due, and a Dino’s and a Tony’s and a Napoli’s – all of them, practically down the block.
The home team does all right in some areas.
Victory is a sweet.
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