Sunday, September 16, 2012

Getting Lost in the Ivy Wall

Wrigley Field
We began this part of our adventure in Chicago.  For this trip we would be visiting three stadiums in total.  We would begin with Wrigley Field, moving to Miller Park and ending at U.S. Cellular Field.  This may seem like an odd route however this trip was really to visit Stephanie's family in Wisconsin.  We were just lucky to have baseball parks along the way there and back.

Wrigley Field is one of the most well know baseball parks in the MLB.  It is also at the top of many people's list to visit when in Chicago.  For Stephanie, visiting Wrigley Field was very important to her because of family history.  Stephanie's grandfather played semi-pro baseball and was able to travel to many major league stadiums.  However only a few remain standing, Wrigley Field being one of them.  It was awesome for us to be able to stand in the same stadium that her grandfather once played in.

Gino's Pizza
When we began planning for this trip everyone was giving us advice on where to eat in Chicago and we kept hearing the same two places over and over again, Gino's and Portillo's.  We knew that if everyone was saying the same thing that we had to eat at these places to see what all the fuss was about.  Due to time constraints we would have to go to Portillo's later in the trip so we will not discuss that until our post about the White Sox.  Gino's is a must if you are in the Chicago area.  The pizza is out of this world amazing and not expensive. Daniel did almost yell at the waitress when the pizza arrived because he did not know that Chicago style pizza come with the cheese under the sauce.  Luckily he cut into it first. Make this a part of your plans whenever you are headed to Chicago.

Parking anywhere near Wrigley Field around game time is nearly impossible unless you pay.  We did not want to get ourselves into a bad position traveling to Chicago with little time to spare finding a parking spot so we used Park Whiz.  We have to give credit to Stephanie's mom for finding this site because she was afraid that we wouldn't find a parking spot anywhere near Wrigley Field.  Park Whiz lets you search game by game to reserve a parking spot for a fixed price, many of these spots are owned by individuals and it is a great deal.  This also relieves the stress of finding the cheapest most secure parking spot.  Security was a big issue for us as well considering all of our luggage was still in the car since we still had a few hours to travel after the game.  The parking spot that we got from the site was great and only a couple blocks away.

Tim Hudson Saves the Day
We were able to get to the ballpark early enough to see the Atlanta Braves batting practice, where Stephanie  almost lost her life.  While standing near the right field line watching players warm up, we were directly behind Tim Hudson.  The player tossing with him threw the ball high and hard and it was coming straight for Stephanie's face.  Instead of Daniel jumping in front of Stephanie he ran away like a little girl.  Heroically, Tim Hudson leaped just high enough to snag the ball before it hit her in the face.  

After watching the Braves for a while we began to explore the ballpark.  It is noteworthy to mention that of all the ballparks we have been to thus far, the ushers at Wrigley Field are by far most friendly and most helpful.  There is a booth to get a first time at Wrigley Field certificate that is handwritten and a nice piece of memorabilia. The shops around the ballpark are small and there really was not too much variety in food choices.  
Outside Seats

Our seats were toward the top of the stadium on the first baseline, but at Wrigley Field, TOP does not mean too high up.  The stadium seems small compared to others we have been to because it goes out more than up.  If your ticket says "obstructed view" then that is what it means.  Those seats literally have a beam directly in front of them that you cannot see around. It would also be cool to sometime go and sit on top of one of the buildings around the stadium. Those seat had their own personal chef.    

The game itself was exciting.  The Braves lost but there were still 4 home runs over the Ivy Wall between the 2 teams. The Ivy Wall which has been growing since 1937 is the only in-play foliage in the Major League.  Unlike the rest of the season, the Cubs played very well that night.
Ivy Wall
This ballpark is different because it is old.  This may be stating the obvious but it is important that people understand that you will get a different experience than other ballparks because of the age.  To start with there is no Jumbo Tron for entertainment, updates and replays.  Also the sound system was terrible at Wrigley Field. You could barely hear the announcer update.  All of the music was from an organ.  With all this said it created a more nostalgic experience to the game, like it was 1940 again.  The night ended with a rowdy rendition of "Go Cubs Go" and us heading to see the Brewers.

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