When I was pretty little, I remember playing baseball video games and when you’d play the Cubs, the outfield wall had the crazy ivy growing all over it. I used to love playing games on that field because it was unique, the other field that was very different was Fenway Park in Boston with the Big Green Monster. Yesterday, I finally found myself at the stadium in the real world and loved the whole experience. We sat on the left field line, there weren’t bullpens for pitchers when the field was built, so they just sat on folding chairs right in front of us in foul territory. When the pitcher was warming up, you could see he was constantly aware of the batter as he was in prime location to get whacked by a foul ball. The “bullpen” catcher was in an even worse spot, he had his back to the action. The field was built in an actual town, so as it got close to starting time, you see the people walking through the streets, many of them exiting drinking establishments in close proximity to the stadium, and walking to the ballpark. We stopped at a bar called, The Cubby Bear, right across from the stadium. I had the best french fries I’ve ever had (parmesan and garlic) complimented with a Goose Island Beer which is local to Chicago.
Inside the stadium, you walk on old bricks under old bleachers, and it sort of feels like a high school stadium. The scoreboard has a guy inside it that manually changes the numbers, he pokes his head out of a vacant spot for the tenth inning to catch parts of the game. The stadium had few distractions, no mascot, no big screen, no hot dog races, just a ball game, an organ that chimed along, and a seventh inning stretch where the whole building sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. I guess I really wanted to be in a stadium because it had so many memories, a shrine to the game, and it didn’t disappoint. I did probably over inflate the importance of visiting though, not a real life changing experience and I think I could have died without seeing it, but feel very lucky to have gone. The experience doesn’t come close to beating out this weekend with the kids kayaking, hiking, and taking in a parade.