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40 Reasons to Love Chicago

Because Cupid likes to strike in Chicago’s ballparks

Samantha and Will O'NealSOX APPEAL

The couple: Samantha O’Neill, 30, a psychologist, and Will O’Neill, 32, a physical education teacher; Gold Coast

The first meeting: “I kept telling my friends, ‘I’m going to find my husband at the ballpark this year,’” Samantha says. A trip to the Bullpen Bar at U.S. Cellular Field in 2006 did the trick. “We met and then we went to games every other day,” Samantha says.

The proposal: Their first dinner date, their first birthday dates, and Will’s proposal in 2008 all took place at Ditka’s.

The big day: The couple walked into their 2009 reception at Oak Forest’s Gaelic Park wearing Sox jerseys with the numbers 9 and 26, for their wedding date. Decorations included miniature stadiums for centerpieces, baseball tickets for seating assignments, and Sox garters for the bride.

Happily ever after: At one store the couple visited to redeem a gift card, “they had this big White Sox painting that was, like, $100,” Will says. “I was like, ‘We don’t need this blender, but we do need this.’”


Jamie and Drew GuardiCUB CONNECTION

The couple: Jamie Guardi, 33, a stay-at-home mom, and Drew Guardi, 35, an engineering inspector; Oak Lawn

The first meeting: Season tickets brought Jamie and Drew together in 2004 for the Cubs’ home opener. “[I was] in section 240, row 15, and he was in section 240, row 16,” Jamie says. She spent three months trying to draw Drew’s attention, but he “was oblivious,” she says. Drew claims nerves, not ignorance, held up the romance: “I wasn’t comfortable doing it in front of my friends.” So his friends did it for him. “My best friend was there, and his best friend was there, and they started texting each other,” Jamie says. “It was total high school: ‘My friend likes your friend.’”

The proposal: “We had gone to a Cubs game. We went out to dinner afterward, and he was like, ‘What if we get married?’” Jamie says. They had the wedding planned before the engagement ring reached her finger. Drew officially proposed at a May 2005 game.

The big day: When they married that November, at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Oak Lawn, they brought Wrigley Field with them. Bridesmaids wore blue dresses and carried red flowers, and at the reception, Jamie recalls, “our attendants walked in to ‘Jump.’ We walked in to ‘Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel.’” The day was even planned around playoffs, in case 2005 was the Cubs’ year. It wasn’t.

Happily ever after: Two daughters: Nora, 2, and Maggie, 8 months


Photography: Courtesy of the O’Neills and the Guardis

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