Monday, July 30, 2007

Wrigley Field Review

Baseball = Wrigley Field. For such a simplistic park it doesn't need to be much more complicated than that. If you like baseball then you will like Wrigley Field and if you don't like baseball then let me recommend other options of things to do in the Cholesterol City. However, anyone who likes the game, the history, the fans, the ambiance, etc. will be amazed by Wrigley. No other park I have seen has done a better job of presenting the game. For better or worse Wrigley is almost 100% baseball. Other ballparks have more of an entertainment value and even if you aren't a baseball fan you can go there and have a good time. In that sense new ballparks like Miller Park are the Captain Morgan of alcohol while Wrigley is the Everclear.

Please check out Jim Caple's great article about his trip to Wrigley:

Scalping/Ticker Prices: C-: I went to go see two important weekend games against the Dbacks as the Cubs were trying to catch the Brewers in the Division lead. Therefore I understood beforehand that these were important games and that tickets might be difficult to procure. For the first game I bought tickets from a friend, who had a relative who no longer could go to the game. These tickets were supposed to go for $19 based on the ticket price chart, but the relative ended up buying them for $80 each! I paid $50 each thinking I would be getting really good tickets. For my hometown park (the Metrodome) you can get really good lower club tickets for around $40. The tickets ($19 face value, but originally paid $80 each) were in the upper club and overall were very disappointing for the price. Below is a view from my ticket from the Saturday game:

For the Sunday game, I did not have a ticket so I had to go the more traditional scalping route. One of the great things about Wrigley is that everybody (bartenders, retail clerks, parking attendants, etc) is willing to buy or sell tickets. I stopped into one place that was asking $100 a ticket for a bleacher seat. I passed on that and went to this bar that offered me one lower club ticket at face value of $46 for $80. I was able to get buy it for $60, but the only reason I was able to get even that good of a deal was because I was only buying one ticket as opposed to most people who are buying sets of two, three, or four. This ticket (which was actually less than the upper club ticket) was much nicer than the upper club seat. Below is a view from my ticket for Sunday's game.

Overall I was really impressed with the number of scalpers and the ease of scalping tickets, but the prices were very high and would make it tough for someone to go to games on a regular basis.

Aesthetic Appeal: A: The park kind of jumps out of nowhere when you are walking on Addison, but once you see it and the famous red sign then you can't help but smile. Inside the stadium is as bare bones as possible with not much going on to distract you from the game. There is the famous ivy as well as the manually operated scoreboard and both of them are the epitome of aesthetic appeal for any true sports fan. The real appeal in the ivy, scoreboard, and the park in general is that there isn't much going on. It is nice that in such an ADD world to have a place where less really is more.

Thing(s) I wish I would have done: Since I was there for two games it provided me the chance to cross off many things off my checklist. I was able to try and catch batting practice home runs on Waveland with the die-hard fans. (I wasn't successful in catching a ball). I was able to sit in both lower and upper deck. I was able to try most of the food and take in most of the atmosphere. I guess the only thing that I wish I would have done would have been to sit in the bleachers. It is strange at Wrigley because you need a separate ticket to get into the bleachers and the bleachers are filled way before the rest of the stadium is filled. Maybe next time I will pay the big bucks (another strange thing is that the bleachers are expensive) and go see a game from the bleachers.

Fans: A-: The people next to me at both games were quiet and respectful of the game, but didn't really bring much to the table. I was glad not to have anybody who was very annoying next to me, but I still wished I would have had people next to me that were a little more into the game. That being said it is hard to fault the fans when they 1)Sell out the place (it was 101.3% and 101.4% full according to for both games) 2)Stay till the end of the game and 3)Stand and cheer during appropriate times.

Buzz: A-: Wrigley has a buzz about it regardless of if the Cubs are in a division race or if they 30 games out. You have a feeling that if there was a big game here that this would be the best place in baseball to watch a game. However, the two games that I saw were lacking in action and unfortunately the home team lost both games. Still, Wrigley gives you the feeling that something exciting is going to happen at any moment. Extra points for the buzz around the 1st pitch and the 7th inning stretch. I was able to see Dennis Miller and Fergie Jenkins do the honors during the most famous 7th inning stretch in all of baseball. Still it made me wish for the days of Harry Caray.

Food: C-: Wrigley does not offer much in regards to quantity or quality. The "jumbo" hot dog was adequate (better than the Metrodome but worse than Miller Park), but definitely not something you would want to have more than once. The beer was cold and good, but it hard to mess that up. The nachos and pizza were your average concession stand quality food. In hopes of find a hidden gem, I decided to try to the Philly Cheesesteak. What followed was The Worse Food I Have Ever Had At Any Ballpark. It was a hoagie bun with cold "steak" and nacho cheese sauce for something like $6.50. For such a great food city, the food in Wrigley is in serious need of some upgrades.

Fun things to do beside the game: D: You go to Wrigley to watch baseball. The only fun things to do besides that are 1)talk to friends and 2) drink. Notice how I didn't put eating as one of the fun things to do.

Overall Impression: B+: Honestly, I thought I would like Wrigley more than I did. I had read about Miller Park and that had greatly exceeded my expectations and I was expecting Wrigley to greatly exceed my expectations as well. This might be slightly unfair to Wrigley since my expectations were through the roof. My main thoughts on Wrigley would be that:

  • There would be no better place to watch a big game.
  • The lack of bells and whistles make the game stand out even more. This is a good and a bad thing depending on what you are like and who you are with.
  • This is park that everyone needs to try to make it to at least once.
  • I think that because of the high ticket prices this would be a very difficult place for a hardcore fan with an average income to go to many games.
Give me Wrigley for the history, memories, experience, ivy, scoreboard, welcome sign and for most importantly baseball. However, give me another park for my day to day baseball life.

Sunday's game

Saturday's game

1 comment:

BC said...

Between Wrigley and Fenway, I take Fenway every day of the week and twice on Sunday (especially if there's a day/night split doubleheader.) Wrigley is pleasant and you can't beat the view, but Boston is sick. You can damn near touch the pitchers warming up in the bullpen. The whole stadium is 10x smaller than it looks on tv.
Stadiums I've visited: (in order of visitation)
Fulton County (1985, 1986)
Wrigley (1989, 1990)
Veterans Memorial Stadium (1994)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards (1997-2002)
Shea Stadium (2001, 2002)
Fenway Park (2003)
Turner Field (2004)
The HHH Metrodome (2003)
Citizens Bank Ballpark (2005)

I am sworn to get the old Yankee Stadium before it goes down next season--have a free place to stay in NJ, etc. etc.
Will eventually get new Comiskey and the large space vulva.

See you Saturday.