12 August 2008


Last Wednesday afternoon i attended my first ever Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Having recently developed a keen hatred for the Cubs & Cubs fans (where before there was a deep, abulic indifference), i thought the event might be uncomfortable, awkward, or even dangerous (though, less so once i decided not to wear my shiny new Prince Fielder t-shirt).

They were playing the Houston Astros, in a rubber game on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. We got to the stadium just before first pitch & grabbed snacks & beers on the way to our seats. I'd heard the food at Wrigley was simply abysmal and the "brat" i was served definitely backed that up. On the upside, they had Old Style available at about half of the concession stands.

We got to our seats, which were the cheapest we'd found on stubHub & were impressed to find we were very close to the field along the left field line (near the foul pole). Alfonso Soriano (literally "big jerk") was close by when the Cubs were in the field and he joked back & forth with the Bleacher Bums (at one point after Fonzo had misplayed a fly ball, they pointed to Right Fielder Fukudome's snazzy catch as an example of something he might try).

Our seat-neighbors were cordial for the most part, decidedly un-Chicagoan. Then the 3rd inning started. The Astros took a 4-1 lead, scoring the last 3 on a home run by Carlos Lee (el Caballo, literally "Carlos Lee"). Actually you can find the entire game, obsessively blogged by some guy listening to the radio broadcast. Down 4-1 the fans starting turning. They became the cynical, slightly jerky (but still harmless) Cub fans i've come to know...

At that point, Nathan & i decided to get out of the sun, stretch our legs, and see the stadium sites. We wandered back around the stadium and walked through some better infield sections. It's amazing how close to the action you feel at any of the lower deck sections at Wrigley. It's also astounding to think how long people have been walking these same sections - Wrigley is a really old (at least relatively) feeling place to see a sporting event (i suppose the Colosseum in Rome might put this into perspective, but still).

As we were headed back we were accosted by a guy trying to get us to sign up for credit cards (or checking accounts) in order to get a free t-shirt. Nathan quizzed the guy about damaging his credit score by running a credit check, but the guy assured us that as long as you don't do it all the time you had nothing to worry about... We (surprisingly) declined the offer, but as we were finishing up a conversation with him the Cubs hit a grand slam.

We continued back toward our seats, but it suddenly came to us that the reason our food might have sucked was due to the wrong type of food... In Milwaukee, you order a brat at the game, in Chicago, a Chicago style dog. We grabbed dogs & more beer (loading up with hot peppers & a frighteningly green relish) and headed back to our seats. While we were in our respective lines, the Cubs scored 4 more runs for an 8-run bottom of the 3rd. We got back in time to watch Theriot ground out to end the inning.

The fans in our section were in high spirits by the time we came back.

"Did we miss anything?" we asked.

"Nooo. Nothing, you didn't miss anything. Though, if the Astros start scoring again, you're going to have to leave again," They replied.

In fact, somehow, the fans, not just the game, were extremely enjoyable. At the end of the game, winning soundly, fans were in good spirits. DoucheBag Cubs fans & Drunk Bleacher Girls were cultivating meaningful relationships in the last couple of innings... Singing "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" at Wrigley was something special, even if it was Ron Santo singing... Then they sing some "go cubs go" song when they win...

Overall, i was actually somewhat disappointed by how accommodating & not-overly-douchey the Cubs fans were... And while everyone was laughinghavingagoodtime and singing their songs, i actually saw what might drive someone to being a Cubs fan. There's a good-timie-ness to it that is almost unavoidable. By the end of the game, i was even cheering for the Cubs and i'm a fucking Brewers fan.

I mean, i still hate the Cubs & hate Cubs fans when they come to Milwaukee, for sure, but Wrigley... actually kinda cool.
thanks, gilk, for getting me to wrigley, finally.


Anonymous said...

i have the same wrigley-phobias that you did. i also have the same hatred (if not greater) that you do. i really don't have any desire to go there, even if the brewers are playing.

well.. maybe then.

joel said...

Yeah, i'd definitely suggest starting with a non-rivalry game...