Thursday, August 16, 2012
In awe of Wrigley
I’m not a Cubs fan. But I’d always wanted to go to Wrigley Field.
When good friend Don Brooks started planning our recent Major League Baseball trip, the one place I requested was Wrigley Field. A trip there had long been on my wish list.
In a true contrast of stadiums, Wednesday night, July 25, Don, Terry Hoffman and I were at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., and Thursday night, July 26, we were at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisc., two of the prettiest and most modern facilities in the big leagues.
Then Friday afternoon, July 27, we were at Wrigley Field with the old timey scoreboard, the outfield ivy and rust on the bottom of the stadium seats.
We drove from Milwaukee Friday morning. A friend of Don’s lives in Chicago, Ill., so we met him at his apartment, parked our car there and walked a little over a mile to the stadium.
Unlike other stadiums, it’s hard to see Wrigley Field from a distance as you’re walking in. All of a sudden, we were there, and I was in awe. I stopped, reached for my iPhone and took a photo – “Wrigley Field – Home of the Chicago Cubs.”
I paused to enjoy the moment. It was something I had long anticipated.
Wrigley Field has served as the home of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales. It was called Cubs Park between 1920 and 1926 before being renamed for then Cubs team owner and chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley Jr.
Wrigley Field is nicknamed The Friendly Confines, a phrase popularized by “Mr. Cub,” Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. The current capacity is 41,009, making Wrigley Field the 10th-smallest actively used ballpark. It is the oldest National League ballpark and the second oldest active major league ballpark (after Fenway Park on April 20, 1912).
The Cubs’ opponent on this Friday was rival St. Louis. And it was a big day for the Cardinals. They became the first team in eight years to hit a home run in each of the first five innings. The visitors won 9-6 on a beautiful afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Former Ole Miss Rebel Lance Lynn was the winning pitcher. I had hoped Holly Springs native Paul Maholm would be on the mound for the Cubs but his scheduled start was two days later – on Sunday. Since, Maholm has been traded to my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves.
Other highlights of my visit to Wrigley Field were the footlong Chicago dog I enjoyed halfway through the game and joining the big crowd of Chicago and St. Louis fans in singing “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch. It brought back memories of late Cubs announcer Harry Caray, who is credited with being the first to sing it.
Our seats were wonderful – between third base and left field and not too far up. But if I ever go back to Wrigley, I think I want to sit beyond the outfield, on top of one of the buildings.
Afterwards, we stopped at a nearby shop where I purchased the only souvenir I wanted from this vacation, a Wrigley Field T-shirt.
Don, Terry and I had wrapped up our three-day, three-ballpark tour – a great time with great memories.
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