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I'm a Cards
fan going to my first game at Wrigley. Anything I should know?
My wife and I will be traveling to Chicago to attend our first game at Wrigley Field. We will be going to the Saturday, April 18 game against the Cardinals. We're just going for the day, but are looking to get the full Chicago baseball experience. Any tips for enjoying ourselves before, during, and after the game?
RetroVertigo, via the Straight Dope Chicago Message Board
Cecil Adams replies:
Cardinals fans, eh? Retro, you're talking to
the right guy. Confession: Even though I live on the north side of Chicago
and go to Cubs games from time to time, I'm a White Sox fan. I'm not a bitter,
brooding White Sox fan, however. Why should I be? My team wins the World
Series once in a while. This gives me perspective. I know from experience
that patience, smarts, and hard work will eventually lead to success. Cards
fans know this too. Cubs fans, on the other hand
let's just say history has taught them life is cruel, and that the law of
averages is willing to make an exception in their case.
Be prepared for the urban experience. Delicate subject here, Retro. Don't get me wrong. Saint Louis is a nice little town. You've got the Arch, you've got a trolley, you've got let me think some bars. They're beautiful. But you're heading up to Chicago now. Chicago is OK, it's not as crowded as, say, Mumbai, where you've got people falling off the trains and getting run over at a rate of approximately 12 per day. The CTA isn't that bad, but things can get snug, especially on the Brown Line southbound at Armitage in the AM rush, where they might as well just inject gelatin into the cars and paint "Hormel" on the side. Not to worry, though. On the Red Line to Wrigley, the worst that happens (usually) is someone throws up in your lap.
Dress for the weather. The rule of thumb is, pretend the game is in Antarctica. Might as well be, depending on the day. See, one thing about Saint Louis, you do get a spring. We've got Lake Michigan cool in the summer, fricking cold in April and May. If the wind is blowing out of the southwest, you'll get homers galore and 60-plus temps. With an east (lake) breeze, batten down the hatches. At one game in April a few years ago there was hail. They cancelled, the wimps.
Fan etiquette. Now to the core question proper behavior in the heartland of Cubdom. Here I yield the floor to Ted Cox:
You may get the impression from the above that Cubs fans are all drunken louts. Not so. The majority are charming even when inebriated. Besides: (1) Who do you think sold them the Budweiser, Mr. Spirit of Saint Louis? (2) Drinking for a Cubs fan isn't recreation, it's anesthesia. Back to Ted:
Halsted is the gay nightlife district, which is about two blocks away. I confess I don't get out to the bars as much as I used to and have no idea what wearing red on Halsted Street means these days. The one caution I remember is about yellow. You sure don't want to wear that.
Ted refers here to the common practice among Cubs fans of chatting on the phone, texting, or otherwise socializing, oblivious to the fact that a game is in progress. But come on. Given what historically happens on the field (never mind Steve Bartman, these guys have never gotten past Leon Durham), would you want to watch?
The best vantage point for watching the game. Some will say the bleachers. For a first visit, I'd personally stay out unless you bring Kevlar and staves. Young Andrew reports that last time he was there, 11 mopes were ejected for pouring beer on Brewers fans. However, being the considerate lad that he is, he did mail back the driver's license found by one of his friends, which a drunken fan had left under a seat.
At this point you're probably thinking: Maybe the little lady and I should just spend the afternoon at the Art Institute. Don't be a wuss. A game at Wrigley is the classic baseball experience. Dave at the Reader offers the following advice:
Welcome to Chicago, and enjoy the game.
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