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2015 Bucket List #3 - Visit Wrigley Field

"Now, time to make plans to visit know, before they start their plans to modernize it and all that jazz. And yes, I hope they don't put a freaking club in it either."
Well, I almost made it before they modernized it. But it's still Wrigley Field, right? The Wrigley Field. 

Nonetheless, those were the words yours truly banged out in a post after visiting Fenway Park back in July 2013. Fenway was old, vintage, charming, and historic, but there was a part of me that believed that Wrigley would be just that and maybe even more.
And it didn't disappoint. 

The one thing I noticed about being in Chicago is that the Cubs/White Sox dynamic isn't much of a rivalry, but represents more of a geographical and social class status sort of deal. The Cubs, a bit of a favorite is - obviously - the pride of the North and is the most popular team in town. On the other end, the White Sox - down on the infamous South Side - is the pride of the blue collar-type of fan.

Nonetheless, Wrigley Field is exactly what you think, what you've read, and what you've seen in pictures - smack dab in the middle of a city block! And no, I'm not talking middle of a block the way Yankee Stadium is in the South Bronx, or even the way Fenway is in Boston, I'm talking MIDDLE of the block.

Someone's backyard literally is across the street from Wrigley Field. There is a McDonald's across the street that doubles as event parking. Local homes rent out their driveways and yards to those looking for parking. 

The tag team partner and I grabbed Divvy Bikes and biked it from downtown Chicago to Wrigley Field which abruptly met us out of no where. Again, I cannot stress how this stadium just blends in with and around the neighborhood of Wrigleyville. It really is so cool. 

Upon entering the stadium, the sports management geek in me suddenly noticed an array of things, the immediate one being that Wrigley has no excessive space. There is no large concourse. No "Great Hall" like Yankee stadium. No amenities. You simply walk off the sidewalk, through the gate, and BAM! - the stairs for finding your seats are immediately in front of you. 

There is a part of me that loves the simple, no nonsense approach of the stadium experience, and there was a part of me that now understands the struggles the Cubs have in generating revenue streams in such a limited facility. 

Visiting players must hate it. 

Also, I found it interesting that you are unable to walk around the park on one concourse as there are two different entrances for the field boxes, and another for the bleachers. 

As for the "updates" to Wrigley, it is a bit heartbreaking to see the two huge LCD score boards which now block the view of the bleachers on top of the buildings across North Sheffield Avenue and West Waveland Avenue. The bleachers, now empty, really do add a dynamic to the park not seen anywhere else. They now sit in the shadow of these huge pieces of equipment that represents all that is new (and possibly evil?) in sports. 

But then again, the screens are modern, help with following the game, and they do bring in revenue. Though, I find the huge "Wintrust" atop the left field screen to be a bit gaudy. 

As for seating, as you can imagine, Wrigley is small with pillars that may obstruct your view. Just like Fenway. However, the seats and rows were bigger and much more comfortable than Fenway. 

And if you're wondering or urging me to choose between baseball's remaining historic parks - I really enjoyed Fenway, but there is something REALLY intimate and fun about the Wrigley experience. Just me, just my opinion. Not being a New Yorker and trashing Boston, just being honest.

Oh yeah, by the way, thanks to the Blackhawks recent win, I was lucky enough to see the Stanley Cup at Wrigley - also VERY cool.

All in all, I can now say I've been to Wrigley Field. A great place to watch baseball. And if all goes well for the Cubs beyond the writing of this post, it could someday be a special place to witness a World Series championship. 

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