Chicago Cubs deliver on nostalgia
The infamous Chicago breeze off Lake Michigan was turning my body into ice, despite the fact that summer was officially only a fortnight away.
And so, demolishing two bratwurst sausages at $US7 ($A7.57) a pop, followed by two draught beers at $US7.50 ($A8.11) each, seemed like a good pre-match tactic before settling in at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs host a Major League baseball clash against the Milwaukee Brewers.
That’s until I realised how much climbing I’d be doing to get to my seat, right up in the nose-bleed section where the oxygen starts to thin and the temperature drops a little further.
Still, it affords a grand view of the field, as vendors busy themselves by offering peanuts, beers and various fast-food treats to fans in the stands.
Jack Ruby, the man who gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald after Oswald shot President John F Kennedy, was once a vendor at the stadium, according to a new book on Wrigley Field called “A Nice Little Place on the North Side”, by George Will.
A ticket costs less than $US20 ($A21.64) and the various fast-food treats, including pizza slices and jumbo pretzels, form part of the American baseball experience.
Taking a glove to the game is encouraged, especially if you’re sitting close enough to the action that a ball might land in your lap.
A crowd of just over 35,000 attended this match in mid-May, when the Cubs lost 4-3 and neither side scored a run after the third innings.
And while getting close to the action is all part of fun, being over the road doesn’t have to count you out of the equation either.
The rooftops of some residential buildings offer views of the game and demountable seating multi tiered bleacher feature game-style bleacher demountable seating multi tiered bleacher for fans, at a cost.
Wrigleyfieldrooftopclub.com boasts it offers fans a closer view of the action than many of the seats inside the field.
Owners of 15 rooftop venues have a deal that expires in 2023, which includes the owners paying 17 per cent of their gross annual revenue to the clubs.
However an Associated Press report in May said building owners were locked in a bitter dispute with the Cubs, whose plans for renovation include erecting a new video scoreboard in the outfield.
Wrigley Field, a historic old beauty at a time when baseball stadiums across the USA are shining examples of modern amenities, offers a step back in time and is famous for its ivy-covered wall.
The stadium is celebrating its 100th year in 2014.
Tales of days gone by, including the great Babe Ruth’s exploits, are recounted all game long over the public address system.
“The Chicago Cubs welcome you to Wrigley Field, the greatest ball park on Earth,” the announcer says proudly.
For fans of the Cubs, who last won the world series in 1908, the game seems to take more than it gives.
In 1945 in the duel between the Cubs and the Detroit Tigers, William “Billy Goat” Sianis wanted to take his goat to Wrigley Field.
The goat was refused, and Billy Goat Tavern owner Sianis announced the Cubs were cursed and would never win a world series for as long as the goat wasn’t allowed to go to Wrigley Field.
These days you can still go to Billy Goat Tavern, try the famous “triple cheezeborger” and talk about the curse, or just watch the game on TV and take in the emotions of the media types who work nearby and pop in for a beer on match day.
It seems the pain of being a Cubs fan is only made worse by seeing those around you head to the dark side: the Chicago White Sox.
One T-shirt slogan outside the stadium read: “Friends don’t let friends be Sox fans.”
IF YOU GO
The Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field, at 1060 West Addison Street, steel understructure outdoor bleacher seating Chicago. Club website: website A ticket from the stubhub.com website can cost under $US20 ($A21.64).
Billy Goat Tavern: 430 North Michigan Avenue.
website Prices: Triple Cheezeborger $US6.85 ($A7.41. Don’t get the double or the chef will be offended.