Lacking understanding is dangerous. I don’t want the first thing I say on here to be how I never liked Cubs fans, but I never liked Cubs fans. At the same time I lacked understanding. I didn’t understand that the same Cubs fans that invade out of town parks are the same as the Penguin fans that don’t know what Fort Duquesne is, why someone would want fries on a sandwich, or can’t name even one of the three rivers. Maybe next time the Cubs come to town to play I will ask one of them if they know what in the hell a sports pepper is.
One more thing about me before I get to what I want to talk about, I am not a lifelong baseball fan. I simply never got the opportunity. I am from an area that didn’t have baseball for most of my life, and the closest two cities with baseball are crime ridden cesspools. I also have no connection to those cities. I would make a bad bandwagon fan. I am just too disloyal to areas that aren’t my home. Despite the fact that I am a more recent convert to the church of baseball I am no less devoted. My father may have never gotten the chance to hold me in his arms and try to explain the rules of a game to a person whose understanding of language was to point and cry. I never got the chance to beg for balls from anyone in a uniform that walked by. There are certain things a child can get away with that an adult can’t. I will never experience those moments.
Upon entering Wrigley Field I saw again with the innocent eyes of a child. It was like my first time seeing a baseball diamond: the beautiful green of the freshly mowed grass, the bright and lively ivy climbing the outfield wall, and the contrast of the red brick surrounding the field. I walked out behind home plate just to get a closer look. The usher didn’t ask for a ticket or try and tell me I couldn’t be there to watch them water the field. She instead talked about how beautiful the place is and how I could get a first time visitors certificate. The only other stadiums where I have been this close to the field have all been minor league parks. I know it is a cliché, but Wrigley Field just felt cozy. It felt like when the action started I was going to be part of something.
One day the Cubs will win the World Series again. It will happen, it has to happen. On a long enough timeline every team will win the World Series. When this happens Wrigley Field will be the happiest place on Earth. Wrigleyville will be the drunkest place on Earth, but not in a bad way. I don’t see a lot of looting, couch burning, or car tipping happening. I see a built up release of pure and utter joy. I envision a sea of people clad in blue hugging, high fiving, and fist bumping total strangers before running off down the street in a daze of pure euphoria. No one deserves this moment more than the true Chicago Cubs fan. When it happens it won’t just be good for the Cubs, it will be good for all of baseball. Inside all of us there is a part that wishes to see history, and there is a part that wishes to see deserving and long suffering people happy. When the Cubs do finally win the World Series it will be a historic and happy event. Something worth celebrating, and I can’t imagine a more fitting place than Wrigley Field.
The true appeal of Wrigley Field isn’t that it is cozy or that fans are all on top of the players, but that if you close your eyes you can see the stands filled with men in three piece suits, ladies in sun dresses, and popcorn venders with trays and funny red striped shirts. Wrigley Field takes you back to innocence. It gives back what was lost. Part of my childhood that was stolen from me was returned when I saw Wrigley Field. My dislike of Cubs fans is now reserved for those whose grandmother’s second cousin’s best friend once changed trains in Chicago.
Wrigley is a shrine to the game of baseball. Seeing it is the same as seeing the Parthenon or Notre Dame Cathedral. For those in this world and in this country that claim America has no culture I would suggest they check out Wrigley Field. It is a place that exists out of time, but in lockstep with time. The Parthenon is a ruin whose function is debated, a person can see a sparsely attended church service at Notre Dame, but Wrigley Field is bustling and full of life. The game of Baseball is timeless in itself. Seeing it played in a living monument can only make it more special. A visit to Wrigley Field is not just a trip to see a monument of the game, but for any baseball fan it is a journey of self discovery and greater understanding.