What to Expect Now That the Playoffs Are Here

With last night's sudden-death White Sox winner in the books, it's official: Playoff baseball has invaded all corners of Chicagoland. For some, this is a jubilant time -- the culmination of a year of struggle, heartbreak, and eventual joy. For others, it's really effing annoying. (Just who are all these Cubs fans, and where on Earth do they come from?)

Chicago's two teams have a strong chance at fighting deep into the postseason. Here are some things to look out for:

-- Expensive tickets. This won't be as much of a problem on the South Side, but it will be a problem. Still looking for Cubs tickets? Forget about it. Prices are ranging from $350-$2500, with people willing to purchase good tickets at almost any price. If you aren't willing to pony up the dough, or don't have tickets already ... well, your best chance is to win a contest or something. Maybe look around on the ground; sometimes rich people drop important stuff like that.

-- Beer-fueled stupidity. People forget this, but when the White Sox won their title in 2005, their surrounding area -- as well as the parade -- wasn't exactly a paragon of dry celebration. So it is with the Cubs, except, of course, worse: The culture around Wrigley caused Mayor Daley to demand bars to stop serving alcohol after the 7th inning in clinching games. Few parks can claim so great an alcoholic influence over its environment, but the Cubs are that team. If you want to watch at a bar, get there early. If you want to avoid the bro-vironment altogether, watch at home. You'll thank yourself in the morning.

-- Traveling Cubs fans. It seems crazy, but since when are Cubs fans expected to be logical? With prices raging into the thousands, those who actually want to watch their Cubbies live are going to great lengths, some (including three friends) traveling to Los Angeles this weekend. For the round-trip flight cost of $300 and a ticket for $100, that's almost cheaper than staying home and using StubHub. If the Cubs play the Brewers in the NLCS, look out, Milwaukee.

-- General insanity. For the next, oh, two weeks, your throat will become hoarse, your spirit will wane, your sleep patterns will fail to qualify as "patterns," and, if you venture to Wrigleyville, you're likely to have the same expression as Bubbles on his first sober trip through Hamsterdam. It might change your whole perspective.

If you can handle, it will be awesome. Me? I'm hunkering down in the apartment. The beer is already cold. 

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