I suppose the recent calls to replace Wrigley Field are to be expected; today's society always wants what's new, improved, and modern. But there's something that's just so . . . historic when you step off the El at the Addison Street exit and there it is. The oldest stadium in the National League, the second oldest in baseball. It was built in 1914, which is why you'll never see a stadium built like it (or Fenway Park in Boston) ever again. It's shoehorned into an actual neighborhood, bordered on all four sides by Addison and Clark Streets in the front, and Waveland and Sheffield Avenues in the back. At the corner of Waveland and Sheffield is a statue of the Cubs' late broadcaster Harry Carey, fittingly underneath the "Bud Light Bleachers" sign, as Carey had the tendency to drink heavily before and during games.
There's also a statue of Cubs' legend Ernie Banks along the Clark side; sadly his mantra of "Let's play two!" has become as obsolete as Wrigley surely will.
Inside, Wrigley lives up to its nickname of the "Friendly Confines," as it certainly isn't a big park. But what a park it is. Those ivy covered brick outfield walls, that magnificent hand-operated scoreboard, the lack of advertising, ribbon boards, and video replay give Wrigley such character, that, when coupled with the intimate seating, we could have been watching a game from the 1940's or 50's.
The food was good, although the lack of a pickle spear on the Chicago dog was a glaring omission, but then again, I was there to see the Cubs in their home environment, and wasn't that concerned with my meal - an overindulgence of fried Wisconsin cheese curds can do that to a person.
It was a fitting end to a whirlwind trip - four baseball games in four days in four different stadiums. I do miss my "brother" Thom; he truly is like family to me, and our shared love of baseball makes our strong friendship even stronger. It was also good to see Margie and Dave again, and to quote The Turtles, I'm glad they're so happy together. So thanks, Wrigley, and thanks to all of Chicago. It's a great city, but the weather precludes me from saying I'd like to live there. Cubs fans are a special lot, and to be a part of it, even for just one night, is something every baseball fan should experience.
It's baseball. Pure. Perfect.