Game 1 - Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Trip Start Sep 06, 2013
4Trip End Sep 08, 2013
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What I did
Cubs vs. Brewers
We arrived in Chicago just before noon, rented a car, drove to the hotel, checked in, jumped on the red line train, and arrived at the ballpark just in time to catch the bottom of the first inning.
Now that we're done with the sentiments, let's get down to the actual stadium. Wrigley Field was built in 1914 as the home of the Federal League Chicago Whales, and it's been the home of the Cubs since 1916. It also housed the Chicago Bears from 1921 to 1970.
Wrigley definitely needs a facelift. It feels very much like a 100+ year-old ballpark that has gone through an expansion or two. There is something to be said for a modern ballpark. The seats were in clear need of a paint job. The concessions need a serious upgrade, as the best food available was an admittedly delicious bratwurst (I had two), and the best beer available was Old Style (I had two, of those, too). And, I saw the absolute worst seat I've ever seen in a stadium (section 220, row 7, seat 1), and I can't believe they sell it in good conscience. It was directly behind a pole behind home plate. You can see third base, and that's pretty much it. I was also quite surprised to see advertising carved into the Ivy of the outfield wall. People had a big enough fit when they finally installed lights to enable night games in 1988. I can't imagine what happened when ivy was torn out.
Anyway, enough with what's wrong with it. Just the atmosphere of being at Wrigley Field was electrifying. I mean, come on, it's Wrigley Frickin' Field! The view from the stands is exactly what baseball should look like. And the rooftop bars across the street blend into the stadium in a way that makes it look like a part of the stadium. I don't believe there is anything like that anywhere else. At least I haven't seen it.
This one gets a bit of a bump up for an emotional vote (but I'm looking forward to seeing it after some renovation). Rating - 6 of 10.
Fans - What can you say about Cubs fans? They are knowledgeable, respectful of the opposing team's fans, and very gracious.
Best Player - We got to see a few standout performances. Starting pitcher Chris Rusin didn't have a great game pitching with 2 earned runs in 3.2 innings, but he did get 2 RBIs on a bloop single. We saw home runs by Brewers Aramis Ramirez and Scooter Gennett. We also saw Kevin Gregg notch his 30th save of the season. Not bad for a player who didn't have a job the first two weeks of the season! While those players all had some good days, none compared to our player of the game, Junior Lake. He started off with the grand slam home run in the 1st inning, and followed it up with a bunt single in the 3rd. Not many players can follow up a home run with enough speed to beat out a bunt.
Overall - Man, what a day. Fly to Chicago and go straight to Wrigley for a game. Check it off the bucket list (but that doesn't mean I won't do it again). Rating - 8 of 10.