Gear up with Cubs bargains

Cubs-appropriate swimwear

Cubby-blue bikini: top, $12.95 and bottom, $9.95, H&M, hm.com. (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / May 3, 2010)

Even the city street-cleaning machines whirring through Wrigleyville are decked out like Cubs fans, painted white and Cubby blue. Yup, it's all Cubs all the time in the ballpark neighborhood, where stores and street vendors sell a scary huge selection of Cubs clothes and kitsch.

If you're yearning for a Cubs-themed bathroom, the search stops at recently expanded Wrigleyville Sports, 959 W. Addison St.: towel ($14.95), a 7-piece set including shower curtain, trash can and toothbrush holder ($44.95) and a bath rug, toilet seat cover and toilet mat trio ($45.95).

Big retailers such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Marshalls sell a wide array of Cubs (and White Sox) gear. Who doesn't need fuzzy Cubs dice to hang from a rearview mirror ($4.99 at Walgreens)?

Near the park, arrive early and comparison shop. Adjustable Cubs caps range from the $5 I paid a street vendor to $15 or $20 at stores and outdoor stands. I found a basic Cubs T-shirt for $10 at Chicago Sports & Novelty, 1153 W. Addison St., while other spots a block or two closer to the ballpark charged twice that.

You'll pay a premium for many of the items at the three gift shops inside Wrigley Field, but it doesn't get more authentic than this. Available for the first time this year at the ballpark are replica Cubs jerseys that can be personalized with sewn lettering — just like the players'— with any name or phrase. You can pick it up before you leave the park ($149.95).

And if you'd like to be a fan without a big Cubs logo on your chest, department stores are filled with double-duty items in nautical blue like those below.

—EW

(Next week: Where to find White Sox bargains!)
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