What makes Wrigley Field so special?


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Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

When I married my wife in 2015, I’m not sure she had any idea as to how big of a Cubs fan I was. I didn’t get to see a lot of games on TV, as we lived in Florida at the time, and too many other worries in life precluded me from buying a baseball package then. Thank goodness for the playoffs and World Series being televised nationally! Never a big baseball fan in the past, she caught Cubs fever rather quickly as we watched the games that we could.
As a native Floridian, she’d only ever been to three games in her life, and those were all Tampa Rays’ games (sidebar…yuck). I tried explaining to her just how different and how special Wrigley Field was, but somehow, I just couldn’t tie together everything that made it so.

For me, perhaps the biggest reason was seeing ballgames as a kid there with my dad, but that certainly wasn’t going to sell her or anyone else for that matter on just how special Wrigley was, and still is, to the millions of fans who’d visited, so I searched a little deeper. Was it the beauty of the ballpark, with the green of the ivy contrasting the greens on the field? Maybe it was the camaraderie among the fans who, win or lose, always cheered together for their Cubbies? So many plausible answers, and yet, no single answer seemed to reign it all in.

I posted the question on social media, and almost instantaneously, the answers started pouring in. Overall, the fans seem to think it’s the beauty of Wrigley Field and the history behind the park and its home-team players. Many, like me, say it’s the experiences they’ve shared (as children) with their parents and now, with their children alike.

Perhaps the best all-around answer that I received, was from the fan who proudly commented, “The feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. That you're seeing the most beautiful park in the world. The hairs that stand up on the back of your neck and arms. The tears that well up in your eyes when you look around. Knowing how many generations of families have been there feeling the same way as you.”

While that’s about as complete an answer as I could find, there still seems to be more. How about all of the traditions that are unique to Wrigley Field? There’s Jack Brickhouse’s “HEY, HEY,” and Harry’s many renditions of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” The “W” flag waving in the breeze when they win, and the silent, but obvious, absence of the flag when they lose. What fan doesn’t look forward to the possibility of singing “Go Cubs Go,” the minute the Cubs take the lead? Although it hasn’t been the case in 30 years, what about the tradition of nothing but day games? How many other parks can boast the tradition of the “Bleacher-Bums,” surrounded by all of those rooftop seats? Oh, and lest we forget the vintage, manual scoreboard, which only Wrigley Field and Fenway Park still have to offer.

I’m sure the food has improved greatly since my last visit but the hot dogs with just mustard, on those half-stale buns, was always something I looked forward to. Then there were the beer vendors asking who needed an Old-Style, while others vendors hollered, “Popcorn, peanuts, CRACK-ER Jack!”

No, there’s really no way, to sum up Wrigley Field’s allure and tradition in writing; it’s just something that you have to experience first-hand to understand. For me, it’s been way too many years since my last trip, but rest assured it’s on my bucket list- if not later this year, then definitely next.

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