And Finally, The One Dollar Hot Dogs


For the past few days I’ve had this song from Mr. Fred Rogers stuck in my head. Other fans of his neighborhood will probably start humming before clicking the link. For the uninitiated the song is called “Let’s Think of Something to Do While We’re Waiting.” It’s a little too appropriate.

Eric updated on our venture into vegetable fermentation. We’ll probably try the sauerkraut today. It’s a neat (and hopefully tasty) project, but it’s not exactly the best idea for our current situation as making sauerkraut is all about waiting.

Thankfully, we came up with a great way to pass the time on Monday. Minor league baseball! Neither of us had been to a minor league game before. Eric researched the minor league options in the area a long while ago but we hadn’t made the trip. He likes watching live baseball a lot and was introduced to Chicago baseball by a lifelong Cubs fan who grew up on the North side. Unfortunately a ticket to a Cubs game costs a kidney.

Shouldn’t be a problem though since we’re on the South side and we ought to cheer for the White Sox anyways, right? It wasn’t to be, Eric was quite turned off by all the commercialism at the Sox’s games. They’re constantly driving trucks out onto the field and doing all kinds of things to promote their sponsors which detracts from the game. It feels all too American, but not in an old-timey baseball kind of way. I agree that the advertisements were over the top and annoying. And I was relieved to know that as a Twins fan I hadn’t married a Sox fan in the making. That could cause some serious marital issues. (Or at least trash talking.)

Thankfully there are other options in the Chicagoland area for live professional baseball! The Northern League is an independent minor league, not affiliated with major league teams and boasting quite a history. Three of the league’s six teams are no so far away.

We researched a bit and found that the Gary South Shore Rail Cats have a special “dollar day” deal for home games on Mondays. We ordered one “box seat” ticket for $10 and got the second ticket for $1.


We then realized that our super frugal ways might be dashed by the Chicago Skyway/Indiana Tollway taking us to the game and their hefty charges. Upon a bit more research we found we could take Lake Shore Drive (US 41) which turns into US 12 and avoid all tolls! Turns out we avoided all traffic too and saw parts of Chicago and Indiana that we hadn’t explored despite their proximity.

Our seats were in the first row behind the visiting team’s dugout.


I’ve never paid such close attention to a game. The lack of instant replay on a jumbotron was part of it, but mostly I was scared of a line drive foul.

We arrived nearly an hour early not knowing what the traffic would be like and thus got to see the MVPs of Northern Indiana high school baseball honored by the Railcat’s management. The MVPs also threw out the honorary first pitch (in several lines of six).

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It was great fun to sit so close to the action and get to watch awkward high school players try to make small talk with the people who are usually their opponents.

The Railcat’s Stadium is the “U.S. Steel Yard” it’s a new stadium, but the name and the atmosphere beat “US Cellular” by a long shot. Apparently there was a lot of trouble in Gary when the stadium was built. Our short drive through Gary showed clearly that there are probably other ways the money could have been spent. But the stadium is still really neat, and since they did wind up building it we can bring our Chicago dollars, right?

We weren’t aware, but Monday was also Gary community night. The Gary, Indiana logo was on the home run fence far from us. We zoomed as we as the camera would let us and it still doesn’t make much sense.


Maybe it’s a strobe light pouring red paint over the earth? Rudy Clay the mayor of Gary threw out the last of the honorary “first” pitches and the game began!

The starting pitchers for both teams were quite good and the game was scoreless through the first four innings. My hopes to see a no-hitter were dashed pretty quickly, but I was still impressed.

Railcats vs Tbones

It was a close game with the fifth inning turning the tide in the Railcats favor. One very amazing defensive play snatching a two run homer that would have tied the game from over the top of the fence secured my heart to the Railcats. I think I’m a fan now! The Railcat’s shortstop also got his 1000th career hit.

Of course, all the action wasn’t on the field as the Railcat mascots Rusty and Rascal were introduced and started doing their thing. We were quite close to the action!


In between innings there were odd diversions like blindfolded baseball finding, spinning around baseball bats, water balloon fights, newspaper tosses, dance-offs, and all the kids in the stadium ages 6-13 running through the outfield.

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(also notice in this picture 11 seagulls in the air out of the approximately 1 million that were flying about and supposedly not being fed by park goers)

It was all quite fun.

The humor of the stadium traditions would have filled in for a not so exciting game. But I was glad we got an exciting one!


The food was over-priced as all sports event consumables seem to be, but thanks to the Dollar Monday deal we had $1 hot dogs at the top of the fourth! They were tasty.

On the way home I was a very uncomfortable Mama having sat in a stadium seat way too long. But that’s my only complaint. Railcats, we’ll be back!


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2 Responses to “And Finally, The One Dollar Hot Dogs”

  1. Kirsten Says:

    WHERE oh where is this baby boy?? I’m coming into HP tomorrow to see the Selkings…if you haven’t delivered by then (and aren’t in the labor process), I’d love to drop by and say hello.

    love kirsten

  2. vagueperson Says:

    Great idea. If baby hasn’t come we will probably want to go to Vespers in the evening… otherwise no plans.

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