Tuesday, July 02, 2002


I go to Wrigley on Thursday, June 27th.

I have been putting off describing Wrigley Field in Chicago because I can't. I think Steinbeck could describe it in an essay and almost get it. Shakespeare could write a poem about the park and David Lee Roth could lay it down and make it feel like a real woman.

I went with a father and son who both professed to be White Sox fans since they lived a portion of their lives in the southside of Chicago. Wrigley is in the northside of Chicago but they appreciate the desire to spend an afternoon at Wrigley. It was nice to spend the afternoon with two people who appreciate that sitting in a ballpark is a relaxing way to spend your time. No forced recreation out of those two.

We walked about a mile from our car to the ballpark. The streets are lined with trees and very narrow multi-storied houses. Each lot is very tiny and is valued at around a million dollars, I was told. On every block is a restaurant that looks like it could be exceptional. On every block is a bar that looks like it could be a great hang out. Running parallel to our path is the EL that does run, as Elwood said to Jake, "so often you won't notice."

Unlike most stadiums Wigley doesn't dominate the neighborhood. It's part of the neighborhood. The only hint that we were approaching a baseball park is that foot traffic increased and I started to see "Welcome Cubs' Fans" signs in the windows of bars and merchandising stands magically appeared. Then we walked up to an intersection and there it was right across the street like it has been since the early stages of World War I.

Our seats were near the edge of upper deck on the left field side of the field. Initially I was disppointed that we had to sit so high up but from where we were sitting we could see the whole ballfield and the Waveland Ave which runs outside the leftfield wall. It's the first time I have been inside an arena and could hear and see what was going on outside the park. We were facing the east and I could see a distant chunk of Lake Michigan which changed color throughout the day as the cloud cover moved through. The El which runs parallel to the rightfield wall ran all day. I could look down at the bleacher bums, I could look behind and look west across the city, I could see the people sitting in the bleachers on the apartments to my left, I could see the manually operated scoreboard in left field, I saw Sammy Sosa sprint out to right field in the top of the first to a standing and roaring ovation from fans in the bleachers, I saw Sammy hit a monster dinger into left-center that would have left the whole stadium if the wind hadn't been blowing in, I saw Moises Alou make a great play off the wall in front of me in left, nailing the runner at second, I had some peanuts, we followed the White Sox score, sang take me out to the ball game, climbed down to field level to piss, saved the cup that I drank coke out of, got a Cubs Pez dispenser, bought a hat outside the stadium, took a bunch of pictures and marvelled that every spot in the stadium I stood in was worth a good look. The whole place was interesting, even the urinals.

It's a goddamn fairy land. It doesn't really exist and a major league park of this type can really never exist again. Nostalgia and functionality like this cannot be manufactured. Tiger Stadium sits deserted and the demise of Wrigley was actually seriously contemplated as was the desertion of Fenway. Money has always been king. The destruction of what is treasured isn't going away and someday Wrigley will fall but it just makes me feel good that it's there right now being used and loved. It reminds me of what Tom said about Dylan when I asked Tom to go see Bob with me and some friends. First he said, hell no. I axed why. He said he just feels better knowing Dylan is touring and in town.

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