Seems like forever ago (or two weeks) that I hopped in my car and drove the five and a half hours to Chicago to see the Yankees two game series with the Cubs. My friend hooked me up with amazing seats for both games so I stopped at Wrigley first to pick them up before dropping my stuff off at the Chicago Getaway Hostel. The hostel, by the way, was great! Only $37 the first night and $42 the second. It was clean, fairly quiet, and in a great location (two stops down the red line from Wrigley Field).
Usually, I stay with my cousins when I’m in town but since this was the middle of the week and they were working, I’d be in the way staying in their office. Not an issue as it gave me a chance to check out the other option a couple of nights. I did leave my car at their apartment since they have free street parking. That saved me $28/night!
I’m obsessed with Wrigleyville and headed there early to hang out at Cubby Bear before the gates opened. I met some fellow Yankees fans and we chatted it up over a beer. No matter who I talk to, Yankees fan, non-Yankees fan, the one question is always asked, “are you from New York?” “No, Columbus, OH.” “Wait, why don’t you like the Indians?” “My dad raised me right.” Seriously I think I have this conversation every single day. The fine gentlemen I talked to were from New York and one was from North Dakota, which I think was the first person I’ve ever met from North Dakota, so that was interesting. They were nice and I would’ve stayed longer to talk about the team (hooray people that actually want to hear about Jeter!), but I had field access for batting practice! Yes, my friend is super amazing and made pretty much all my wildest dreams come true.
Standing on the field of my favorite ballpark was surreal and I was so close to my team. Watching Jeter, Soriano, Ichiro, and Gardner take batting practice close up was super cool. The following game, I even got a picture with Joe Girardi. Jeter continues to allude me, but eventually, I will get a picture with him and be able to tell him that it’s been great being a fan. That’s all I want Derek!! But yes, field access to both game’s batting practices made my heart sing and I wish my sister Alex had been there to share it with me, but the girl is running around Europe, so I don’t think she felt too bad missing it.
After batting practice I went to my seat- the fourth row right by first base- me and Teixeira were going to be besties tonight! I looked around the park soaking it all in. Wrigley is still my absolute favorite ballpark and this was my first night game. Looking towards the stadium, I could see the clouds rolling in and knew inclement weather was going to happen. Aside from my Cubs game in Arizona this past spring, I have a great track record for missing rain delays and cancellations, so I was hopeful it would be brief or blow over. It did neither.
Starting in about the second inning and lasting to about the sixth, it poured cats and dogs in Wrigley. I had the best seats of my life, so it was going to take a tornado to move me from my seats. Most of the stands cleared, but I threw my jacket over my head and settled in. I’ve sat through worse going to Ohio State football games over the years and even sat through a blizzard to watch a Browns game with my dad… A CLEVELAND BROWNS GAME! I’m Midwestern girl tough! Yes, I see the irony for being a Midwesterner that likes the Yankees, my cousin Andrew already pointed that out to me. There was a ton of lightning that looked really cool lighting up around the ballpark. The umpires continued to let them play and I figured Wrigley has been around for 100 years, it’s not going anywhere.
Once the rain subsided, the section filled up again, though my row remained empty… I was a little hurt that no one wanted to sit by me! I don’t think I smelled, but my hair was something fierce from the rain and humidity! For some reason, the Cubs play really well when I’m in attendance. Prior to this game, I’d seen them win 5 out of 6 games, the one loss coming to the Yankees back in 2011. The Yankees looked to make a comeback the top of the ninth, but it was too little too late and my man got the final out with bases loaded. At the end of the game, the clouds just erupted with rain- God was obviously taking Tanaka’s first loss hard. Usually I mill around after the game, but with this downpour, I high tailed it out of the park and into a bar. Win or lose, Wrigleyville is a good time.
Wednesday was a day game and my seat was even better (didn’t think that was possible!). I was five rows up from the dugout, near the on-deck circle. The weather was perfect, not too hot, but sunny and I was ready for round two in Wrigley. Jeff Samardzija was pitching for the Cubs and they led 2-0 until the ninth. My friend Liz is obsessed with Jeff and fully credits him for all of Brady Quinn’s success at Notre Dame. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is he’s fantastic at pitching and felt lucky to see him in person this close. As a baseball fan first (yes, before the Yankees and Derek Jeter), I get excited to see great players in person. Also, I should mention that being this close up to Derek Jeter made me respect him even more (didn’t know that was possible!). Seeing his effort and hearing his frustration when he grounded out and didn’t beat the throw to first were little things that get lost when standing a little further up. He gives it his all every. single. time. To the Cubs fans sitting behind me that didn’t know why everyone kept clapping for him and said he was average- you’re idiots. And lucky I’m polite and didn’t turn around and smack some sense into you. If Jeter is average, the Cubs are abysmal.
Anyways in the 9th the Yankees tied up the game and we went to extras. Hooray for free baseball!! I didn’t want to leave Wrigley and kinda hoped this game would last forever. Since the game went a little longer than expected, I grabbed some concessions- a Chicago dog and my favorite a soft pretzel. Now my one complaint in all the times of going to games at Wrigley, because this ballpark is near perfect. If you’re going to charge $4 for a soft pretzel, can it not be stale? I think that’s fair right? I ate it anyways and hoped I wasn’t in the back of any pictures or video while I ate my hot dog… it was a mess! While I was walking back from the concourse I did run into Alex and my favorite Wrigley usher Bill. I stopped him and took a picture to send to my sister. He was so sweet and thanked me for remembering him. Silly guy, thanks for being so nice to us Yankee fans!
The Yankees pulled out the win in 13 and poor Jeff Samardzija again didn’t get his win. Not that I minded very much, this was my first Yankee win of the season (1-3 record). An extra inning game gave me seven Jeter at bats and plenty of time in my favorite ballpark. I lingered soaking in the park, just in case I don’t like the renovations. If you haven’t been to Wrigley, it is your duty as a baseball fan to make that happen. It screams baseball and aside from the two clowns behind me, Cubs fans are great hosts. The atmosphere is magical and I’m fairly sure when I die, that game will replay over and over in my heaven. It was just that good!