Unlike an outdoor field, The Perfect Swing's more than 60,000 sq. ft. facility isn't ever affected by bad weather or movie crews shooting yet another inspiring comeback story. The sound of cracking bats and thudding balls fills the training space rain or shine year-round. Baseball and softball players face off against seven automatic pitching machines, which hurl balls at speeds between 35–70 miles per hour, while pitchers work their arms in 17 practice tunnels.
The Perfect Swing also offers four indoor turf fields for year-round baseball, softball, and soccer. Shoppers who are looking to stock up on softball and baseball equipment can visit the on-site store.
Athletes aren't left to swing and throw blindly, though. The Perfect Swing boasts a staff of more than 25 baseball and softball instructors, including many current and former professional players. During private and group instruction, these experts help students hone fundamental skills in areas such as hitting, pitching, catching, fielding, and agility. Instructors also lead outdoor baseball camps during the summer months.
Typically, it takes months to prepare for a marathon. Without proper endurance training, most marathon runners falter miles before the finish line. Hapilly, the Chicago Beerathon pays nothing but lip service to its -athon suffix, and there are really only a few things a prospective contestant needs to know. First, get a good night's rest beforehand. Second, don't bother pre-gaming, there's enough buzz to go around. Third, don't bother stretching or practicing a victory face—it's not really a competition. And finally, keep some cab fare on hand for afterwards, because at the Chicago Beerathon, every participant is a designated drinker.
Starting at noon and ending at 3 a.m., the Chicago Beerathon is springtime in October for fans of hops, barley, malt, and hiccups. Spiraling out from Wrigleyville to 26 of the city's most joyous venues, beer fans savor 6 ounce pours of craft brew at every stop. With music from live bands and DJs soundtracking the slurry quest, revelers end up with 26 beers in their gullets, leaving only 73 verses of "99 Beers on the Wall" to go.
At CrossFit Lemont, certified CrossFit trainers and fitness classes build the kind of strength that makes everyday tasks easier?not bulky muscle that's just for show. Their high-octane, functional workout classes accommodate different levels of experience, and span 10 fitness domains, from power and strength to balance and flexibility to speed and stamina. Each of these sessions takes place in the gym's 10,000-square-foot facility, which also features 5,000 square feet of field turf that keeps feet firmly planted during power-lawnmowing workouts.
Founded by former professional baseball player Chris Beacom, Illinois Baseball Academy trains young ballplayers in the ways of America's pastime. Its expansive Rosemont facility, The Dome, fits two regulation diamonds and five full batting cages into 140,000 square feet, and The Yard in Northfield encompasses batting cages and a pitching tunnel, plus room for fielding. In summer, Illinois Baseball Academy offers summer camps run both independently and in partnership with area park districts.
MLB.TV® allows subscribers to watch regular season games live or on-demand with a variety of Internet-connected devices that include Macs, PCs, PS3s, and even iPhones (with an additional At Bat™ 2010 application purchase). Many games can be streamed in sharp HD quality (when available) that rivals the real-life clarity of living-room stickball games, while also offering viewers an option to listen to the home or away broadcast commentary. Full game archives are available for viewing missed games, while condensed games featuring eye-opening highlights are convenient for time-strapped fans. Additionally, DVR controls allow viewers to pause and rewind live games, and a multi-game view option streams games in quad view, picture-in-picture, or split-screen layouts.
Outside, snow falls, wind rattles leaf-less branches, and winter blankets the landscape. Then the crack of the bat rings out. That sound of summer is available all year long at Stella's, which offers heated indoor batting cages in the winter and open-air outdoor cages in the summer. An onsite bats and gloves shop outfits players with stacks of Easton and Wilson A2000 mitts and Louisville Slugger and DeMarini bats.
As the sight of pop flies and line drives keep summer always within reach, so too do the aromas of Vienna hot dogs, bratwursts, and burgers wafting through the air. Stella's restaurant also provides ball players and their families with homemade Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. To celebrate turning another year older or finally getting zombie Babe Ruth on the team, Stella's offers party packages that include good eats, game tokens, and batting cages.