Chicago Sports Spectacular Live Blog

Happy Friday fellow collectors and Cubs fans. It’s been a busy November, and it’s going to be packed full of the hobby this weekend.

After work I’ll be hitting the road for Rosemont, Illinois for the Chicago Sports Spectacular. It’s a card show with several sports superstars and former stars in attendance signing for fees.

While I won’t be there getting any autographs, I’ll be diving into dime boxes for Cubs, submitting some cards to PSA, and conducting two in-person bulk trades for Cubs cards.

This will be a running blog providing updates of my weekend.

Friday 11/16

4:50 a.m. – I started setting my alarm 10 minutes faster because I tend to lay in bed and check my phone notifications from overnight. So, if I get up at 4:50 I’ll be out of bed by five.

5:00 a.m. – On cue, and out of bed. The morning basics.

5:20 a.m. – Coffee is brewing.

5:40 a.m. – First cup of coffee and in the basement getting my trade boxes finished. Going through one more box to pull a few cards.

6:30 a.m. – Boxes are packed. Putting together a dozen cards that I plan to submit to PSA this weekend. All non-Cubs cards.

7:00 a.m. – Quick bite to eat and getting ready to head off to work.

1:00 p.m. – lunch break. Ran to Walgreens to pick up a photo I printed for the Miguel Montero event at Club 400. Checked out and thought $10.07 was a bit pricey for a 8×10, but proceeded on my way. Arrived home and checked out my photo….of nature scenes belonging to Laura. Back to Walgreen’s I go. But the mailman dropped off a package from Chris in Wisconsin!

3:20 p.m. – Back to Walgreen’s to switch out photos. Returned home to find UPS dropped two boxes at my door, and a full mailbox with two more packages. What a Mailday!

3:30 p.m. – The car is loaded. Time to hit the road. Next stop: Chicago Sports Spectacular!

3:45 p.m. – Of course. Beltline brake lights.

5:10 p.m. – Halfway break at the Belvidere Oasis 7-Eleven. This is my usual stop when heading to Chicago. It’s where my wife and I switch out because she’s a better city driver! By the way, the inside of this has been remodeled with a different layout.

6:30 p.m. – Descended upon Rosemont. Heading to the convention center shortly to meet with Steve for a big trade!

7:15 p.m. – Went into the loading dock to pick up Steve for our big trade. He’s a vendor at the show. As I pulled in a very large imposing man was pacing. He motioned me, and I rolled my window down. “You know whose car this is?!” he asked. No, sorry. Then some F-bombs were dropped. It dawned on me. That’s Frank Winters!

We share the same alma mater: Western Illinois University. Perfect icebreaker, I thought. “Are you Frank?” I asked. An uninterested, “yeah,” was the answer. “I’m also a Leatherneck.” Thinking that would change his mood. It didn’t. Not even an acknowledgement. Just a few more f-bombs as he paced around looking to lay down a pancake block on whose ever car was blocking him in.

Steve arrived just in time, so I could get the heck out of there before Frank took his frustration out on the only person that shared that space with him: me.

I have Steve a ride to his hotel where his car was parked and 30,000 Cubs cards awaited. We chatted for a few minutes about a future bulk trade and swapped cards.

I’m officially over 200,000 Cubs cards!!!!

8:00 p.m. – My friend Dave and I needed to grab something to eat so we hit up Short Fuse Brewery just down the street from the show.

Really cool set up with dining area and bar with the brewery visible.

Here’s a sample of the menu.

Loved the variety of choices, and went with the cluckers and waffles (chicken and waffles).

It was a bit different as the chicken had syrup already in it with none on the side. One waffle was split into four pieces. It was good, and much better than the chicken and waffles I recently had at a Madison restaurant.

One beer I tried was the Bear-Ie Wheat. Bear because it’s brewed in 120 pounds of Haribo gummy bears. It was slightly sweet, but not overpowering. I know, because I had a second one just to make sure.

And hey, check out the urinal! It’s a keg cut in half.

SATURDAY 11/17

7:30 a.m. – It wasn’t a great night of sleep. Loud people upstairs at 2 or 3 a.m. and the noise of 747’s flying a few hundred feet above kept me up much of the night. I’m also thinking Motel 6 “leaves the light on for you,” to keep the cockroaches out of sight.

All that aside, it’s baseball card and Club 400 Christmas Party day. We will be heading over to the show when it opens in a couple hours. Stay tuned!

8:45 a.m. – Need to power up for a long day of baseball cards!

9:40 a.m. – I’m full. And the salted caramel banana pancakes at Denny’s = amazing!

What’s even better than those amazing pancakes?!? Getting a fist bump from Chicago Cubs all star catcher Willson Contreras!

That’s right. Even MLB All Stars enjoy a good Denny’s breakfast. We were in line to pay as I spotted Willy C and his significant other walking in. As he waited to get seated I offered a fist bump and he obliged. Nobody else recognized him, and since he was just going in I didn’t want to attract attention to him so he could enjoy his meal. Sorry, no pics!

10:05 a.m. – Now I have picture proof. Willson Contreras is a top notch dude!

11:00 a.m. – We have arrived!

11:30 a.m. – I’m meandering around just browsing. Whoah, check this out!

11:45 a.m. – My first purchase. Great deal on some pre-war cards.

12:00 – I found a dollar autograph box! Pulled a large stack of Cubs autos, and the same dealer had dollar boxes with a plethora of serial numbered cards. I’ll post a more detailed look this week.

1:00 p.m. – After an hour or more searching the glorious dollar boxes, I met up with David from Elmhurst and we traded 3,000 Red Sox for 3,000 Cubs. Went back to the car to dump my goodies and make a trip back into the show. It feels nice not lugging over 3,000 cards in my backpack!

Rest of Saturday…

Unfortunately, my Blog app was not cooperating Saturday evening. Here’s a quick rundown of the rest of the day.

After heading back to the car to unload the 3,000 Cubs and other cards I purchased, I returned to sift through more boxes of goodies. There was a lot of great vintage at this show, so that’s where I turned my focus.

One dealer had boxes and boxes of assorted cards in no particular order. Nothing priced. My card show pet peeve. I like to pull out of these boxes and know what I’m spending. I don’t want to hand over a stack to a guy that’s gonna consult the latest Beckett.

I found this Dan Vogelbach auto numbered to /99 and asked what the price was. Only $3. Sounded good to me, so I bought it. I didn’t feel like asking how much every Cubs card was going to be, so I walked away with just the one purchase.

I flipped through some other boxes and picked up plenty more vintage that I will share later.

By 3:45 I was getting hungry, and we planned on heading out at four. I grabbed a slice of pizza and called it a day. We hit the road to Club 400 and was greeted by Santa when we walked in.

The special guest for the Club 400 Christmas party was Miguel Montero.

I’ve written about Club 400 a couple times as I attended the Cubs Convention kickoff event featuring Bill Buckner and Ray Burris as well as the Javier Baez event in May. It’s hard to describe that this amazing Cubs place is in a guy’s basement.

That’s a game used organ. Gary Pressey played this organ at Wrigley Field for about two decades.

How about this game used home plate embedded into the floor. And everytime I use the bathroom I’m in awe.

A lot of the memorabilia tucked away in the bathroom would be a centerpiece in my collection. Like a game used Javier Baez autographed bat just hung up near the ceiling.

Or an autographed picture of Cubs Hall of Famers.

And an autographed photo of Kris Bryant hung between the towels and the light switch!

Each player that comes to Club 400 signs the wall. Before the Q&A, Miguel Montero took his turn.

It was a great night and Montero was full of honest answers. He said he still roots for the Cubs and even though he spent nine seasons with the Diamondbacks he doesn’t even remember playing there.

He was very honest in talking about the controversy when he was put on waivers by the Cubs. Montero said he doesn’t regret saying what he said and there were no hard feelings between him and Jake Arrieta.

Montero said it hurt when guys didn’t have his back and told a story about sitting in the front row in a game against the Giants last year. He said Anthony Rizzo came to bat and they needed a hit from him. Montero said, “I was cheering for Anthony Rizzo to get a hit….but I thought I was a bad teammate!”

Seems it’s a house divided among two of his three kids. His son, eight years old, is a die hard Cubs fan. His seven-year old daughter has some reservations. Montero told a story about his daughter: “My daughter is a little prick. She’s like daddy why you rooting for the Cubs, they fired you.”

A fun night was had by all!

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