Hey, look! Another April 18 game. Popular date!
This is what Major League Baseball gets when it schedules interleague games in cold-weather cities in April -- a real good chance of rainouts and games played in horrific conditions. Thus it was between the Rangers and Cubs last April, a cold, wet month. The game the night before this day had been rained out, and with few common off days -- the teams had already used up one of them, May 6, for the makeup date for that rainout -- they pretty much had to play this game.
There had been drenching rains in the Chicago area the previous day (thus the rainout) and that morning, totalling several inches in some areas. It was drizzly, windy and cold at game time. The announced number of tickets sold for this game was 26,083. There wasn't a chance that many people were in Wrigley that day; Paul Sullivan wrote in the Tribune:
The actual attendance was less than half of that on most days, including Thursday, when less than one-third of the announced crowd of 26,083 was in attendance. Only 168 fans were in the bleachers at the start of the game.
One-third? My own attendance estimate was about 4,000. It wound up being too windy and wet to stay in the bleachers, so I headed for cover, as I wrote in the BCB recap:
Around the time the Rangers changed pitchers, bringing in Derek Lowe, it got so windy that it was nearly impossible to hold my umbrella upright. Not being able to see the game, Mike and I decided to head over to the other side of the park and watch the game in sheltered seats. With so few people there, even a security supervisor I know said, "Sit anywhere you want!"
We wound up in section 209. It's interesting to see the game from that different perspective. For one thing, we could no longer see the little boards in the upper deck that show pitch speed, so we couldn't keep track of that. We sat low enough that we could see most, but not all, of the scoreboard; from about the last six rows you can't see it at all -- and more importantly, perhaps, for the Cubs with their latest proposal, from the last few rows of the lower deck people aren't going to be able to see any Jumbotron in left field, no matter how large it is.
The Cubs won the game 6-2. Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the third inning that was estimated at 475 feet, tied for the third-longest home run hit by anyone in the major leagues in 2013:
You can see from that video how few people were in the ballpark that day. It felt like one of those days from the 1970s when the ballpark was mostly empty, especially on days like this one.
This concludes the Day In Wrigley Field History series. I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed researching and writing them. I write about Cubs history because I enjoy history in general and baseball and Cubs history in particular. I think in addition to being entertained, we can all learn from the past. Now, with spring training 2014 about to get into full swing, it's time to turn our attention toward the future and the 2014 season... where more history will be made at Wrigley Field.