You know the saying, when in Rome do as the Romans do? Well I decided to do that in Chicago, so I went on a tour of Wrigley Field (there were no games when I was there). I enjoy a baseball game from time to time, but I am not a big baseball fan, even living near Yankee Stadium, so I was a little bit concerned I might not enjoy this tour, but I actually loved it.
My baseball stadium experience is the old Yankee Stadium when I was a kid, Shea Stadium and the new stadiums: Yankee Stadium, Citifield (Mets) and PNC Park (Pirates) – you’ll notice I have been to a lot of new ball parks. That is probably why the first thing I noticed about Wrigley Field is that it is old, it is almost 100 years old. You will not find the comforts of a new stadium here. That gives the stadium a certain charm, but probably isn’t as wonderful if you’re at a game that’s going into a 12th or 13th inning.
The tour had about 20 people on it and we had 2 guides, they were very nice, informative and accommodating to our group. They also had a sense of humor and made us laugh.
The tour starts with us being seated behind the Cubs dugout and getting the early history of the stadium. We did learn about some of the innovations that came out of Wrigley Field, such as the food vending behind the seating, instead of just people walking around the stadium selling food.
From there we moved to the original press area, which is now where the boxes are, and then moved to the new press box. The most shocking thing here was how little technology there was here, just some chairs and tables. Heck, it doesn’t even have air conditioning or heating! Here we learned about the bleachers on the tops of the buildings across the street from the park, some of the announcers, and having lights installed. These seem like little things, unless you’re talking about Wrigley Field.
After that we got to the coolest part of the tour, the locker room and the field. The locker room was nice, but small. But during the game it doubles as a bull pen. There is no bull pen with field access so they use the lockerrom.
When we finished in the locker room we walkout out to the field through the dugout. I was surprised how low the dugout was, and then the bench was really high. I didn’t expect that. But it did have a padded bench, which is more then I can say for the visitors dugout. We were given about 15 minutes here to take photos and explore. We were only allowed on the dirt area of the field by the dugouts, but it was fun to be on the field and get some pictures.
Maybe it’s the history buff in me, but I really enjoyed this tour, the guides were personable and made the tour fun and the stadium come alive. I would recommend this tour for anyone, including children. It was a good way to get a piece of Chicago history. If you’re wondering about what they were building in the stadium, it was a stage for a concert later in the week.