I know, I know. This has nothing to do with the Tigers, but I had to share. Instead, I checked an item off my bucket list Wednesday night.
The fans were extremely enthusiastic, appearing to still be in the afterglow of last October’s fantasy-come-true.
Wrigley certainly had a charm, possessing many of the same attributes and qualities of Tiger Stadium and Fenway Park. You are just so close to the field. Even where I was sitting which was in the 400 level seating in the rightfield corner, you were still close; enough to feel engaged.
Comerica Park doesn’t offer that. You seem miles away when you are in the “cheap” seats and in general, I find myself distracted. The sight lines are poor. You lose track of the baseball and on and on I can go. But at Wrigley? None of that.
One thing I didn’t know about Wrigley? The bullpens are under the stands in left and right field. I had no idea! I need to start paying better attention.
One thing I did know, they are still manually changing the scoreboard just like they do at Fenway. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but it is to me. I love the old charm that is preserved at these old ballparks; the parks that are still around.
It’s intriguing how Wrigley has mixed high-end, crystal clear HD images and video on a huge screen in left field and then in center, the same old green scoreboard, updated manually between innings.
Now it wasn’t all glitz and glamour either as on occasion, some liquid, still yet to be identified would occasionally find us from somewhere further up in the stands. I suspected beer but told my daughter they like to spray the crowd on occasion with a fresh aloe spritz to cool you down.
But I digress. So what caught my eye the most? It was all that seating on top of those buildings across the street from the ballpark. What an opportunity that has become, as you can call a number or visit a website if you are interested in actually sitting on one of those buildings.
What else? Oh, the golden balls on top of the foul poles. You tell me, have those always been there?
What about the baseball? Well, it’s a different ballgame in that outfield when balls are hit deep and players finds themselves close to or on the warning track. There is lots of shying away from those ivy-covered brick walls. I guess I don’t blame them.
Oh, and a successful suicide squeeze laid down by the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks. That’s right, their pitcher! Perfectly executed.
Oh, and 2 guys warming up for the ninth inning, not just the closer, Wade Davis. I guess Joe Maddon wasn’t worried about offending. Does Brad Ausmus know you can warm up more than one guy in the ninth?
And clearly, soon to be listed in the chronicles of “Something you have never seen at a baseball game,” Kris Bryant’s busted bat which flew backwards and got tangled high in the netting behind the plate after he sent a line drive to the glove of the Reds’ pitcher. It was a couple innings before they brought a huge ladder tall enough to scale and pull the barrel of the bat out of the netting. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like that before.
What else? Well it wouldn’t be a Cubs game without traditions. Take Me Out to The Ballgame sung loud and proud by the Chicago faithful during the seventh inning stretch, drowning out the video of Harry Carey leading the singing like he always used to do, was truly a highlight, but I never thought it would be, until I actually stood among the fans singing their hearts out.
And speaking of singing, boy can they belt out “Go Cubs Go!” at the end of victories! It’s quite the spectacle. The singing in combination with the dozens and dozens of ‘W’ banners held up all around the ballpark, is really something to experience if you haven’t seen it.
The thing is, Cubs fans are still celebrating, folks. They waited so long for a team to come together and finally win that title that they are going to enjoy every lasting moment while they have a championship-caliber team, which they do, despite their slow start.
I walked out feeling like I had gone home again. Watching the great game of baseball in an iconic stadium that so many just didn’t want to leave when the game was over. It was pretty magical on a warm and breezy night at Wrigley Field, despite the occasional ‘aloe’ spraying.
Oh, and Mr. Commissioner? Another 3-hour game, and it didn’t bother me a bit.