Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Location: Chicago, IL

I don't often get to a major league baseball game -- even when I was in Baltimore I made it to, maybe, one game a year. Since I left the Orioles roost, I've made it to two -- a Tiger's game in Detroit's Tiger Stadium and this week to a Cubs' game at the venerable, ivy-covered Wrigley Field. The Cubs played the Indians, and easily won. It was fun to see the iconic Wrigley Field and a few of its quirks:

  • There is no Jumbotron, and therefore no instant replay for fans whose seats are not near a monitor. There is just a manually operated scoreboard, and the guys who are the number-flippers occasionally stick their heads out the small windows to watch the action on the field. The number of outs, balls, or strikes are displayed from a grid of small round doors, various doors opening or closing as needed to create the appropriate number. Each door audibly clicks as it slides into place. How analog!

  • On the sides of Wrigley Field, where the bleachers are low, there is nothing to block the view of the field from neighboring rooftops. So entrepreneurs have set up their own roof-top bleachers and charge corporations and groups a franklin or two per person to see the game. We counted at least six different businesses, some running several rooftops in the area. Party hardy!
  • After a winning game, very few fans stream out. Instead, they all sing the WGN jingle, "Go, Cubs, Go -- The Cubs Are Gonna Win Today!" Yes, I know they have already won at this point, and perhaps the lyrics could be altered to reflect that, but you know what they say about Cubs fans: you can always tell a Cubs' fan -- you just can't tell them much!

All in all it was a fine day at the ballpark -- a bleacher seat ($55), a couple beers ($6 each), a hotdog ($4), and a team that just kept scoring left us both smiling as we finished the day with one other typical Chicago experience -- taking the El back home.

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