Exterior photo of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

Ever since the movie "Rookie of the Year" with Gary Busey hit theaters, I've been intrigued by Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Some 20 years later, I was fortunate enough to see the Chicago Cubs take on the San Diego Padres this past weekend. The excitement I felt seeing Wrigley from the subway was hard to explain. However, I may have chosen a terrible time to form an opinion on this historic ballpark. There was a ton of construction going on, especially in the famous bleacher area. The Chicago Blackhawks were also hosting the Nashville Predators at the United Center that day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As a result, the stadium was pretty dead.

The ivy on the outfield wall was also all dried out. I think the most disappointing aspect of all of the construction is knowing that some of the rooftops behind the ballpark will have to shut down their operations. The rooftops are part of what makes Wrigley Field so unique and gives it that "neighborhood feel". The St. Louis Cardinals have decided to copy their rival Cubs and now have a few rooftops at Busch Stadium.

 

Our seats were in section 134, row 10, seats 102 and 103. These are excellent seats just past the first base side. I made sure to purchase seats that were no where no the beams that might obstruct our view of the field. (There are a lot of those at Wrigley Field).  If you're going to spend money on Major League Baseball tickets, do it right. I know this is an older ballpark built when fans were smaller in stature but the seats were comfortable with plenty of room for our legs. The ushers as you would imagine are all old and have probably been working at Wrigley Field since the Billy Goat cursed the franchise. They also prefer that you don't walk down to the field to take photos of the players.

Exterior photo of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

The exterior of the ballpark as I said was under a ton of construction. I made sure to walk all over the Wrigley Field property. There is a plethora of bars and restaurants near the ballpark compared to Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. (Read our review of Guaranteed Rate Field, formerly called U.S. Cellular Field). We had lunch at the "Cubby Bear" which is perhaps the largest bar in the neighborhood with multiple levels. Afterward, we had a few drinks at Murphy's Bleachers which is just behind the Wrigley Field bleachers on the corner. Murphy's has the Irish Pub feel but is also pretty large with multiple rooms and plenty of TVs for watching other games.

The interior of the ballpark is where I was unimpressed. The concourse was small, cramped and somewhat bland. Bathroom lines weren't too long as they have recently been criticized for but I hated that they haven't updated the bathrooms. The Men's room still has troughs. The team store was also much smaller than what the Chicago White Sox had at their ballpark.  The smell of hot dogs and stale beer dominated Wrigley's hallways (not a bad thing). Beers were $8 and there was a fairly decent selection.

Photo of the baseball diamond at Wrigley Field from the 1st base side.

Chicago Cubs fans have a reputation of their own. They've been criticized for going to games to be "seen" and don't really pay attention to what's going on. I disagree with that notion after my lone visit. They seemed to be pretty attentive to what was going on and were intense at times. The fan base definitely has a "North Shore" or upper middle class aura about them especially when compared to the Chicago White Sox fan base. All in all, they were extremely friendly and lighthearted to myself and the San Diego Padres fans in attendance. That could all change when the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals visit Wrigley Field.

Getting to Wrigley Field is a breeze from anywhere downtown. Our hotel was on the Magnificent Mile at Michigan Avenue. To get there, you will want to take the northbound red line to the "Addison" stop and the ballpark is just outside of the station. If you prefer to take a taxi to and from the ballpark though, there are plenty all over Wrigleyville. I would not recommend driving to Wrigley since parking is limited and will run your at least $20.

The Steve Bartman Seat at Wrigley Field.

Above is a photo of the famous Steve Bartman seat which can be found in section 4, row 8, seat 113. If you don't know who Steve Bartman is, you may want to check out the ESPN 30 for 30 titled "Catching Hell". It gives a lot of insight on Chicago Cubs fans on the Steve Bartman incident and provides excellent coverage of Wrigley Field. Just sitting in Bartman's seat was pretty depressing yet somewhat eerie and yes, this is the perfect section to catch a foul ball in. Word is Bartman still lives in the Chicago area and still loves the Cubs but hasn't been back to Wrigley Field since 2003.

 

I was also a big fan of the various statues that stood outside of the main entrance gates. The statues included those of Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Harry Caray and Billy Williams. In coming years, I would love to see statues of either Andre Dawson, Ryan Sanberg, Sammy Sosa or Mark Grace erected outside of Wrigley Field. A lot of Cubs fans will probably argue with me on the statistics and character of some of those players but they all meant a lot to the Chicago Cubs franchise.

Ron Santo Statue outside of Wrigley Field.

Wrigley Field will always be considered one of the iconic ballparks in Major League Baseball. For now, I'll go ahead and say Wrigley Field is not the best ballpark in Major League Baseball because it's not even the best ballpark in the city of Chicago. I think the ongoing construction is an attempt to preserve it's appeal to newer generations of baseball fans. Heck, they even have a jumbo tron now. I would love to visit Wrigley Field again sometime after it's construction but that will likely be a few years down the road. 

 

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