My introduction to Wrigley Field happened on Opening Night 2015. I rode the Red Line down to the ballpark, and as soon as I exited the CTA station I began to witness the madness.
I walked into Wrigley. I was given a No. 14 pin commemorating Mr. Cub, along with a schedule magnet. Fans were cheering, drinking, taking photos. I snaked my way through the crowds inside, stopping to pick up a pretzel with cheese on the way to my seat. As I walked away from the snack bar, I noticed the menu had a black bean burger. I’ll be ordering that at some point, I thought.
My seat was in Aisle 213, which is under an overhang. Directly above the seat were the suites, and I watched people go in and out all night. The seats quickly filled up as I waited for the pre-game Fall Out Boy concert. The temperatures were dropping and there was a cold wind hitting my face. I made the rookie mistake of not dressing in appropriate clothing for the game, because it had been much warmer just hours before. People around me were draped in Cubs blankets, and I was jealous.
Fans were on their feet for most of the pre-game happenings, which included a tribute to Ernie Banks. Some chanted “Ernie! Ernie!” and other tributes. It was touching to see people so proud of their team and its history. The fans also cheered loudly for Jerry and Joey Banks, who threw the first pitch. The new video board made its debut that night. Videos of Ernie Banks were shown between innings, and the bleachers, which are still being renovated, were covered in Mr. Cub tarps. Also, I’ve never heard a crowd as into singing the national anthem. Fall Out Boy performed three songs before the game, including “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark/Light Em Up” and “Centuries,” which is on my running playlist. The team’s lineup included a familiar name: Miguel Montero, who was one of my favorite Diamondbacks players in recent years.
The entire experience was surreal. There’s something special about watching a baseball game at Wrigley. I wished I had remembered to bring the GoPro for higher-quality photos. I look forward to attending more games this season.