Friday, June 4, 2021

Post-COVID Wrigley Field looking good

     The man sitting across from us on the ‘L’ Wednesday wore an official Cubs pinstripe jersey, open, with shorts; the uniform of easily half the passengers on the 12 noon Skokie Swift heading to Howard. Beside him, a girl, 4, had made a different fashion choice: a pink tutu paired with a raccoon mask.
     The man met my eye.
     “So nice everything’s fun again,” he said. Usually I’m the one making uninvited public overtures, addressing strangers, commenting on whatever is going on like a Greek chorus.
     I agreed. After 14 months away, at least, it felt great just being on a train. The fact we were heading to a Cubs game was icing on the cake.
     Regular readers know that baseball is not ordinarily my idea of fun. But my younger son had said, “We should go to a Cubs game.” A suggestion I promptly ignored, as the savvy parent will do when optional activities involving the expenditure of of time, effort and money are proposed by children. But he said it a second time, cannily attaching a specific. “We should go to the Cubs game Wednesday; they play the Padres.”
     My immediate unfiltered thought demonstrates how truly out of the swim I am, baseball-wise.
     “That’s an expansion team.” I thought, pouting. Meaning, “not quite worth seeing.” The Padres started playing in 1969. Since then, they’ve won more pennants than the Cubs over the same period (two). They’re the best team in the National League now.
     The last Cubs game I attended was the Fourth of July, 2016, for the reason I normally attend games: a pal gave me tickets. This time I bought four good upper deck seats for $45.92 apiece from a season ticket holder friend. I knew it wouldn’t involve him handing over four pasteboard ducats in an envelope. But I didn’t expect to have to download an app (MLB Ballpark) and fiddle with it for an hour. Eventually, utterly bolloxed and certain no relaxation at the ballpark could possibly counterbalance the frustration of doing this, I thrust my phone at my older son who, I kid you not, glanced at it, swiped it once with his thumb, the tickets magically appearing, and handed the phone back. “You need to refresh,” he said. Tell me about it.

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  1. Hope to make it there this summer myself, even though I’m more a fan of the experience than the game. Speaking of Javier Baez, many of your readers have probably already seen this, but if not it’s well worth your time:

    1. As somebody who pays just slightly more attention to baseball than Neil, that play really captured my attention last week, Coey. While I've not actually watched any games, I spent plenty of time reveling in the response to the glorious folly of the play on Twitter.

      2 links: Presaging our host's remark about calliopes in his column, the Pirates radio announcer moaned: "What was THAT? ... Ohhh, the calliopes can be heard from here to Sewickley." (Sewickley being a suburb of Pittsburgh.)

      Then, you have this still photograph, the likes of which has never been seen in the annals of ML baseball, I daresay:

    2. Thanks for sharing the links! Now I know what all the hubbub is about.

  2. You had great seats, Mr S.--I was a Bleacher Creature for decades, and watched hundreds of games from out there, but my favorite grandstand locations were in the upper deck, along either baseline. Upper deck seats at Wrigley are far superior to any "club seats" or mezzanine seats in any of the ballparks built over the last thirty years. Ask the man who knows...when I get to either D.C. or Milwaukee, that will be my twentieth MLB venue. Mostly in the Midwest, plus a few in the East.

    Best "old" park? The Cubs, natch. Best "new" park? Pittsburgh. Worst "old" stadiums? The two long-gone parks in Minnesota. Worst "new" stadium? Miami--it's a mall with a ballfield in the middle. Despite the Disneyfication of Wrigley by the Trumpian Ricketts family, the House That Juicy Fruit Built is still a shrine...a green cathedral. The best of the best.

    But all that crap you have to wade through now, to obtain MLB tickets and buy "cashless" merch? It really honks me off. I need to refresh, too. Been putting off going to any Tribe games because of it. bad...can I still call them the Tribe here?

    1. I've been to about 20 MLB ballparks, too. The weirdest I recall was the old Toronto place.

      I'm guessing you can say Tribe around these friendly EGD confines, particularly on the anniversary of Ten Cent Beer Night at Municipal Stadium. ; )

    2. My jaw dropped when I heard and read about June 4, 1974.
      I was living in Florida then. It was a stain on the pages of baseball history. Very much like Disco Demolition night at old Comiskey in '79. Almost went to that one. Glad I missed it.

  3. Makes me want to go to a game!


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