I’m crazy about sports. They’re a huge reason I choose to make trips when I do. I’ll always check the schedule for local professional sports teams before I book my ticket. If the teams aren’t in town — there’s a good chance I push my vacation back until they are. I’ve always dreamed of watching baseball at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago, so my dad, brother and I made it happen last summer.
The whole purpose of the trip was to actually watch a three-game series between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field (home of the White Sox), but we flew into the Windy City a day early to see the Cubs host the Boston Red Sox at Wrigley Field. You can’t find a more amazing matchup than that. The Cubs and Red Sox are two of the most storied franchises in baseball history. It was actually only the second regular season series between the two at Wrigley Field ever.
Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. It opened for business in 1914. It doesn’t have any of the amenities of today’s modern stadiums, but that’s what makes Wrigley Field so special. You literally feel like you’ve gone back in time when you walk into the place. The concession stands don’t offer sushi, crab cakes or anything fancy, the bathrooms are small and uncomfortable, and there’s no beer garden or crazy aquarium in the outfield. There’s nothing at Wrigley Field to take your focus away from the game itself, and that’s really the way it should be at a ballpark.
My dad, brother and I got to Wrigley Field early to take in some of the pregame atmosphere. There are tons of awesome bars in Wrigleyville (the neighborhood surrounding the stadium). We spent most of our time at the famous Murphy’s Bleachers. I actually got to meet former Chicago Cubs reliever Lee Smith and have my picture taken with him (yes, even sportscaster enjoy moments like that). I’ve been to several different ballparks, but nothing beats the pregame atmosphere than Wrigley Field.
When you look around Wrigley Field, it feels like the stadium might fit all of 20,000 people, but it actually seats 41,159. With that said, it’s a really intimate experience. My dad, brother and I sat down the third baseline for the game. They were great seats, but I can only image that every seat in that place is pretty good (just because they all feel like they’re on top of the field). Let’s be honest, just having tickets to a game at Wrigley Field is good enough — no matter where the seats are in the stadium.
The Red Sox wound up beating the Cubs 7-4 that night. Chicago fumbled away the game with costly errors in the seventh inning. The game was highlighted by a David Ortiz home run in the fourth, Starlin Castro almost hitting for the cycle, and Lee Smith singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ during the seventh inning stretch (they have a celebrity guest sing at every home game). Click here to watch my video of Smith singing at Wrigley Field (he did a terrible job, in my opinion).
After the game, we did what many other fans do at Wrigley Field – we took pictures in Steve Bartman’s seat. For those of you who don’t know who Steve Bartman is — click here. You can tell the employees at Wrigley Field can’t stand people taking pictures in the infamous seat. I even saw a member of the grounds crew roll his eyes at the crowd. One of the ushers told me that people gather at Bartman’s seat after every game, but the crowds are bigger during interleague play. That’s because so many fans of opposing teams come to Wrigley Field who don’t normally visit the stadium, and they want their picture taken in the fabled location.
I really hope Wrigley Field is around forever, but I know it won’t be. At some point the historic ballpark will be torn down and turned into a parking lot like Comiskey Park, old Yankee Stadium and others. I’m happy I can say that I’ve seen a game there, and I encourage any baseball fan to visit the stadium as well. From the big red sign in front of the stadium, to the famous ivy on the outfield wall, to the hand-operated scoreboard in centerfield — Wrigley Field is a piece of living history that you need to see first-hand. Trust me, it’s well worth the trip.
Have you ever watched a game at Wrigley Field? We would love to hear all about it! You can leave a comment below, or you can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can also find us on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Don’t forget to also check out more of our adventures right now on http://catchthewinds.com. — TL