I never planned or wanted to live right in Wrigleyville. I am a Cubs fan. But I am not that much of a Cubs fan. I like to go to games a couple of times a year. But I don’t need to see or hear every game of the year.
Luckily my new apartment is not too close to Wrigley Field, the nation’s second oldest ballpark (after Fenway Park in Boston), built in 1914. I live about a half mile or a ten minute walk away. If I’m sitting on my back deck during a game, I can faintly hear the collective roar of the crowd in the distance when something good happens (not all that often…sigh). But thankfully, I am north of all the sports bars so not too much drunk riff raff drifts up my way. Well, besides the errant, drunken Cubs fan drowning his sorrows and draining his bladder in the alley next to my building, that is. Classy.
But despite a few inconveniences that don’t really affect me like traffic – with no car, I can whiz through on my bike or just avoid the area if necessary – there is also this amazing electric energy in the air when you walk by the Friendly Confines on a game day.
I’ve always been amazed at this classic ballpark that seems to be plunked down in a residential neighborhood. It’s like the Colosseum in Rome…turn and corner and boom…there it is. From the original sign marking the entrance to the still-manual scoreboard to the ivy-covered brick walls against the outfield, Wrigley is steeped in tradition and history.
Even though it’s already becoming common and routine for me, for many, going to a Cubs game or even just hanging out around Wrigley during a game is a huge event. They come from the ‘burbs, from out of town, and sometimes from out of the country to go to our famous and historical ball field; families on a big outing, old friends, couples, anyone and everyone.
And besides the game itself, there is another spectacle going on outside. On any given day, I pass fans gazing all around and taking pictures, an old-timey brass band quartet, a random ‘unofficial’ dude dressed as a Cubby Bear, and sometimes even a glimpse of THE #1 Cubs fan, Ronny Woo-Woo, himself. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. Go Cubs!