By Joe Tripp
Spring is in the air, and in Chicago that means blooming gardens, color everywhere, but most of all… baseball. Now I’m not originally from the toddlin town but on a purely ascetic level, one park here is clearly superior. If you’re from the Windy City, you know which one I’m talking about—and don’t get me started as to why (not even mentioning the fact that you can’t see the Chicago skyline from the US Cellular Field, even though you’re less than a mile away while inside).
For those of you who don’t know, Wrigley Field is the crown jewel of the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, and you can bet more people will be traveling from across North America to this ballpark to see the Cubs than the average year. Why so? This year marks the 100th anniversary of the legendary ballpark.
The only way to gauge your passion for the game is if you did everything in your power for visiting Wrigley Field this year. If you plan on making the trip (which I highly recommend), here’s a nice checklist to maximize your fun when you check out the Cubbies with your buds this year:
1. Consider the Rooftops
Many of the rooftop seats offer tickets that have all you can eat food and drinks (the alcoholic kind) included in the ticket price. They’re pricier than a stadium seat, but once you pay for your ticket, a hot dog, and a couple of margaritas in the stadium, you’re basically paying the same thing and getting less but…
2. Bleachers are Best Seats in the House, Period
The camaraderie in the bleachers is unmatched. Yeah, there’s the occasional out-of-towner rooting for the other team, but I can’t remember the last time I didn’t make friends with somebody new after sitting in the bleachers.
3. Wear Pants with Deep Pockets when on a Budget
A flask and cargo pants fit well if all you’ve got is the price for the ticket. You can get a Coke in the stadium and save yourself the booze expense. Just don’t loiter at the door when they scan your ticket. Walk in like you own the place, or you might get searched (happened to one of my buddies behind me in line recently, and it was his own dang fault).
4. Take the Train
…For a couple reasons. Parking is not gonna happen, unless you got the homeboy hookup with the nearby firehouse or something similar. And also, you’re gonna need a minute to sober up on the way back. Best to do it when you can just sit back and relax. Or even if you’re not sobering up, at least you’re not driving.
5. Be Prepared to get Some Sun
If you tan, great! If you burn, you might wanna bring some sunscreen. Or if you’re just concerned about the heat, I had the guy in front of me with a motorized bottle/fan that misted air at you. That was pretty awesome on a hot day.
6. Get to Know Your Surroundings
Home runs and foul balls happen more often than you think. I never bring a glove. I figure if I’m lucky enough to catch a ball, I’ll fight through the pain.
7. Throw it Back!
And we all know in recent years the Cubs have given up way more homers than they’ve hit. So, if you are the happy recipient of the visiting team’s home run ball, please do not keep it. If you have second thoughts, you will be strongly persuaded by everyone around you to toss it back onto the field.
Let a little of the Bleacher Bum lunacy rub off on you. Or, better yet, rub a little off on other people (but not physically…unless they’re okay with that). By following this easy-to-use guide, you will maximize your hard-earned money, forget your troubles, and wake up a happier person the next day. If only I could go every day.
Chicago-based Joe Tripp is the frontman and key songwriter of Joe Tripp and the Hops. Honesty drives his music, and that pursuit of honesty in his music, combined with an admittedly driven and persistent need to compete, complete with the demons that come with the desire to succeed, are among the forces that have driven the former Texan to his current position in life and music.
Connect with Joe Tripp and the Hops at: www.joetrippandthehops.com