Built in 1914, Wrigley Park is known to be the oldest original Big League Baseball park still remaining in America. It is shortly to be cleaned up and renovated a little so John and I went up to Chicago to join Chg John in a last look before it is changed. I had never been here before. The John, John pair had been numerous times before and were full of stories.
When we popped up into the sunlight from the underground we were immediately accosted by hawkers and scalpers and panhandlers and crowds. Everyone was smiling and laughing. Everyone was having a good time. This was probably my lasting impression of the day. The game was one thing, but having a good time while watching the game was why they came.
The T shirts and caps are the same the world over. Just different logos.
Some participants in the promenade on the fringes were more serious than others.
But generally the thousands of people who thronged the streets and pubs were out for a good time. There was no animosity between the teams followers. They were all there to have a great day out or to make money from the people having a great day out. And it worked.
On the street behind the outfield(Wrigley Park is built in a lovely old residential area) people stand waiting with their mitts. They are listening for the crack of the ball hitting the bat which may preempt the ball being hit right out of the park. These people catch the balls that sail over the bleachers and into the street. Actually these men were pretty serious too.
Once inside the Stadium, the sweep of the perfectly groomed green, and the walls covered in Ivy, with the backdrop of Chicago was truly impressive. You can see to the right of this shot where companies have trimmed the tops off the houses and built mini stadiums. Roof top watching is not what it used to be! The renovations to the park include huge revenue gathering billboards, that will be sited right in front of the rooftop view. Some people are a little bit cranky about that.
This score board is original. Little men sit in the dark in there, watching the game through tiny tiny windows and manually change the numbers on the board as the game progresses. Thank goodness the fans won the battle to keep the score board. There will be another fancy pancy one with all the bells and whistles and flashing lights but it will be off to the side and probably block someone else’s view.
The lights are a comparatively modern addition.
I suppose the lasting impression of the day was the joy of the crowds coming to the ballgame. There was no shouting at the ref, or cans being thrown at the field, there were no fights between the fans or between the players.
There is even a gate that is left un-masked so anyone can pause and watch a bit of the game as they pass by.
Everyone will tell you I know nothing about sport. Nor do I care to. I am happy to leave that to you. I love that people love sport but I could not sit still for a whole game if I was paid. Many of my friends in NZ will tell you this. They will tell you that I am more likely to comment on the length of a players legs or the colour of his shorts than the game itself. They will also tell you that they sigh with relief when I get bored and wander off.
So I will make no comments on the game itself. But I was glad I went to Wrigley Field and was able to taste a little of the joy that surrounds the game. The traditions that cradle this joy. And the sweetness of belonging. We were surrounded in laughter. This big old field has history on it’s side. The stadium is the winner.
Bet you didn’t guess I was going to a ball game did you?!
Today I am back on the September Home Grown Challenge. Eating only what I produce. Enough of the gallivanting about the country side! We found a restaurant serving local produce and had to laugh when we saw the names of towns quite close to us where this local produce was produced! So I made notes and will be doing some visiting when The September Challenge is over.
You all have a lovely day.
your friend back on the farm, celi