Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guess Where I Was On Sunday

Yup, I was at Wrigley Field on Sunday.

Now those of you who know the Cubs schedule might be thinking, "Weren't the Cubs in Kansas City on Sunday?" And you're right, the team was out of town.

But the ballpark was still open, and Mrs. WW, WW Jr., and I all took the Wrigley Field Tour. Two of the three tickets were a Christmas present from my parents. We were already heading to Chicago for my niece's graduation open house, so we thought this would be a perfect time to take the tour.

There were about 50 people in our group, with our leader at the front and a security-type person in the back, making sure no one wandered off. The tour lasted about 90 minutes and we got to see several areas of the ballpark that are normally off-limits to use regular folk.

Before the tour began, we were encouraged to use the restrooms because once we got going, the rest of the bathrooms we would see were probably locked. I took the opportunity to snap a picture of the famous Wrigley Field troughs....

....which were stocked with nice, fresh urinal cakes. And for the shy types, there are...

....regular urinals, too!

With that out of the way, the tour began. Our first stop was the lower deck grandstands. We sat is some seats that I can't afford and heard the history of the ballpark. Here are a few shots from the seats....

From there, we moved on to....

....the press box. This is actually the second press box at Wrigley. The original was in the area behind home plate where the luxury suites are located today. When those were added in 1989, the press box was moved to the upper deck.

When you enter, the first booth is where....

....the organist and public address announcer sit. This was a very tiny booth. Moving down the hallway you come to the road team's TV and radio booths and then the Cubs. This is....

....the Cubs TV booth, home to Len and Bob, It's the one with the Harry Caray picture on the top, since it was also Harry's booth. Beyond the booths was another door which led to the....

....print media section. There were 4-5 rows for the reporters. Each area had a reserved spot for the different writers. In the very top row of the press area, was a desk....

with this old, green metal box on it. That box has been around since 1937. It's the control box for the balls, strikes, and outs on the scoreboard. If you wondered what the view looked like from the booth,

....now you know! When we were finished in the press box, it was off to the bleachers. Along the way we passed by the open fence gate in the right field wall. This is....

....the view of the field you get. On the way up into the bleachers, we passed by the batters eye suite in center field. From there, the field looks....

....like this. We all had a seat in the bleachers and heard about their history. One interesting fact is that the top of the wall is no longer flat, but instead in shaped like an inverted V. The reason for that was that fans were walking along the top and falling onto the field or in someone's lap. The guide also told about a race the bleacher bums used to have. A beer was placed on the wall in center field and then two racers lined up in the left and right field corners. They would then race to the beer, winner take all.

Here's a shot from the bleachers, along with a close up of the scoreboard.

After the bleachers, it was on to the Cubs clubhouse. We started towards the third base concourse.

By modern standards, tit is very narrow. After all, the park was built in an era when fans go into their seats and stayed there the whole game, all two hours of it.

The entrance to the clubhouse is through a door that is right along the concourse. Of course, it's not marked at all. If you saw it, you might assume it just went to some storage area.

You go through the door....

....down some stairs, and then you are....

....in the Cubs clubhouse. It is a very basic looking room. There's nothing fancy, and its not big at all. I'm sure that it would be the smallest home clubhouse in the National League. But it is bigger than the visitors locker room at Wrigley. The Cubs are in their third clubhouse, but the visitors are in the locker room that is original to the park. You can imagine just how tiny it must be.

After seeing the clubhouse, it was on to our last stop, the Cubs dugout and the field itself. We walked down a narrow hallway, but just before we got to the dugout, on the left side of the hallway, was a small room, with no door, just...

...a place for the players to take care of some quick business during the game. From there, it was just a few feet to...

...the Cubs dugout. It seemed small, and the view wasn't the greatest, but it was the Cubs dugout!

We also got to walk on the warning track between the two dugouts and take a few more pictures It was a real thrill to be standing in a spot that I have seen thousands of times.

Wrigley Field was in the news a little while back because ESPN's Peter Gammons referred to the park as a dump.

Maybe to a spoiled writer, used to being pampered in the newer ballparks, it is a dump.
Maybe to the millionaire ballplayers who are used to having more room in the clubhouse for their entourage, it is a dump.
Maybe to the "fan" who sits in the luxury skyboxes and is used to big, wide concourses, it is a dump.

But to this fan, who goes to the park to watch a ballgame,

this place is heaven!


  1. Awesome, must have been a blast to get that tour!

  2. That's a fun tour. Got to take it about six years ago. Thanks for sharing your photos.

  3. I've been on guided tours at Camden Yards in Baltimore and old Busch Stadium in St. Louis (as well as an unguided tour at Olympic Stadium in Montreal).

    Have to say I never stopped to see what the bathrooms looked like!

  4. This is probably as close as I'll ever get to taking a Wrigley tour, so thanks for the trip! Way cool to be that close to history.