The temperature in Chicago approached 90 degrees Wednesday afternoon and it seemed like many people opted to stay indoors around Wrigleyville rather than braving the heat. It was easy to avoid people as I made my way up Waveland Avenue and there really didn’t seem to be much competition at all for the limited patio seating at Murphy’s Bleachers or the popular benches outside of the still-closed Gallagher Way.
But near the firehouse on Waveland a small, dedicated group of onlookers had set up shop to watch as the Chicago Cubs arrived at Wrigley Field for the first time in 2020.
The historic ballpark doesn’t look all that different than it has during the entire pandemic. There are some placards informing people of restricted access, near the left field gate. Cubs employees now wear badges that clearly indicate which tier of employee they are for access purposes. But it’s only noticeable if you’ve been walking by the ballpark day after day since everything closed down 111 days ago. By traditional Wrigley Field standards, this crowd does not even register, more people showed up for the new organists practicing than showed up today.
It is worth noting that players seemed more impressed with the ballpark than neighbors were impressed by their arrival.
I will be keeping a close eye on neighborhood developments as this new limbo period between no baseball and baseball commences. But suffice to say that today was pretty anticlimactic. If you just happened to be strolling down Waveland today you would be forgiven for wondering why the news cameras were there at all.