As I mentioned in Wednesday’s game preview, I was invited to watch Game 1 from the Wrigley View rooftop located at 1050 W. Waveland, right next to the Engine Co. 78 firehouse. This rooftop club is an independent club not one of the 11 owned by the Ricketts family.
Thought I’d tell you a bit about my experience Wednesday afternoon, which of course would have been better had the Cubs won.
The club opened about an hour before game time. Everyone entered from the rear of the building and was greeted by these signs:
Temperature checks were taken, as noted, and masks were required.
The overall view of the field is what you see at the top of this post. The view is remarkably good, considering you’re past the left-field corner. The height is about halfway between the last row of the terrace sections (I had a great view of the back of section 203) and the upper deck, but because it’s in the corner, you can see the infield almost unobstructed. There’s a small area behind second base that’s obstructed by the left-field bleacher elevator, and you can’t see about half of left field, but the rest of the field is easy to see. Here’s another overview of the field:
I wound up maybe 100-150 feet from where I’d have been sitting for the game if there had been any fans allowed:
The club is on three levels. There are both stairs and an elevator, though the elevator only takes you to the bottom of the seating area, which you enter here:
To get to the area where they serve food, you have to walk up those stairs. Food included Buona Italian beef, Italian sausages, hot dogs, chips and cookies, as well as a selection of beers. This is the area where the sandwiches are served:
There are two other areas in this club where you can eat/drink. This one is one floor below the seating area:
This one is directly underneath the seating area, which turned out to be handy during the two annoying little rainshowers that cropped up during the game:
TV coverage seems maybe 30 seconds or so behind live action. It was odd to hear a PA announcement of the next batter — the PA could be heard pretty clearly — while the previous batter’s at-bat was still being shown on TV.
As far as the view of the game is concerned, it was actually pretty good. You can’t see the left-field video board (I’m used to that!) or the center-field scoreboard at all, but the right-field video board is easy to see:
Here, the players line up for introductions... to the empty ballpark:
This is the first pitch thrown by Kyle Hendricks:
Here’s a brief video overview of the scene from where I was sitting.
The Cubs have added some statistical information to the right-field video board. While an inning is in progress, they show the plays that have occurred in that inning next to each batter’s name, and at the bottom, every ball that’s hit (even foul balls!) gets an exit velocity, launch angle and distance:
One thing that’s been removed from that board is the pitch count. That would be visible on the left-field ribbon board if I had been inside the ballpark, though.
About the game itself, it was fairly easy to watch the action even with the partial obstructions. I did keep score — that’s my thing! — and was glad it felt normal to do it, even after six-plus months from the last time I had done so at Spring Training:
Since this was a playoff game, most of the people at the club were into the game rather than just “partying.” This included two loud and rather obnoxious Marlins fans (yes, they have some!); unfortunately, their team had the upper hand in Wednesday’s game.
You can hear the PA system and the organist pretty clearly from across the street, as well as the fake crowd sounds that you hear on TV.
About the safety of being up there: Every other row was blocked off, as you can see in the photo, so you didn’t have to sit close to others. I felt like I was far enough away from other people to social distance well enough. Most people wore masks when they weren’t eating or drinking, though I have to say not everyone did. From what I could tell there were only about six people working at the club and no one was in the seating area attempting to enforce the mask mandate, it was more or less an honor system. Since it was an outdoor seating area and the wind was blowing pretty strongly, I thought it was a fairly low-risk thing to do. Overall on the various rooftops there might have been 300-400 people watching this game in person.
Most likely I wouldn’t do it again, though. I’m glad I had the experience, as I had never watched a Cubs game from a rooftop before, but I suspect that in normal times, during any random regular-season game most people on rooftops would be there for the party, not baseball.
Thanks again to Paul Yoffe of Red Bull for the ticket. Now let’s hope the Cubs win Thursday afternoon so we have a decisive Game 3 on Friday.