Last week I scored a couple tickets for the Giants-Cubs game at one of America’s most iconic sports venues~Wrigley Field. Hali has dropped me off in the front of this sign before but has never been in to watch a game. Closing in on the play-offs and with the Cubs having one of their best seasons in recent history, I took her out to the ballgame on this gorgeous day in Chicago. Hali, Welcome to the friendly confines.
But first we need to explore the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley as the excitement mounts on game day. This part of North Chicago was once Little Italy, now it’s known by locals as Wrigleyville. So what’s our tailgate choice? Pizza, of course . AND I wasn’t about to throw away $9 on a Bud Light in a plastic cup inside Wrigley when I can get three slices of gourmet pizza for $9 and Bring My Own Beer here at Dimo’s Pizza.
Unlike most pizza joints around here, Dimo’s serves up unconventional pizza pies by the slice. Their signature slice is The Mac: Macaroni, mild cheddar, sharp white cheddar, smoked provolone, parmesan, topped with green onions, on a homemade white sauce. All of this cheesey goodness on a New York style thin crust. Wash this down with my own BYOB of craft beer I brought along just for this occasion.
Tradition goes a long way at Wrigley including my tradition of buying a program so that I can score the game. Not much to score as the final was 2-1 with several K’s, a few BB’s, one HR, and a 4-3 double play. So instead of boring you with the ballgame details, here are a few Wrigley Field fun facts.
Wrigley was built in 1914 for $250,000. The lowest paid Cubs player makes twice that and keeps the bench warm.
The famous ivy on the outfield wall was planted by Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veek in 1937.
Wrigley was the first ballpark that allowed fans to keep foul balls.
The scoreboard is still manually operated by 4 men behind it on scaffolding and no batter has ever hit a ball off the scoreboard. Only Fenway Park’s scoreboard in Boston is still operated manually. Two of my favorite parks. Plus, those two parks have the best fans: passionate, knowledgeable, and traditional.
During the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth pointed to centerfield indicating where he was going to hammer the next pitch. He did, and that moment is historically known as ” The Shot”.
Harry Caray’s seventh inning stretch rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” was a fluke. One game, without Harry knowing, broadcaster Jay Scott turned the mics on in the announcer’s booth without telling anyone and a tradition was born. Now it’s sung in every baseball stadium around the country.
Steeped in history and tradition, Wrigley Field is a great ballpark to take a game in. Despite not being able to even point to the centerfielder, Hali had “the perfect day” at the park and took all these wonderful photos from The Friendly Confines.
We came out of the dugout for opening day and saw a fan holding up a sign saying, “Wait ‘Till Next Year.” – Moe Drabowsky, on the late 50’s Cubs
That saying has held true for over a hundred years. Not this year.