College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).

Bob and Harry

Bob Asmussen checked out the sights and sounds Sunday outside and inside at Wrigley Field in Chicago before his beloved Braves beat the Cubs 6-0.

Listen to this article

CHICAGO — My family hadn’t attended a Major League Baseball game en masse for three years.

Until Sunday.

Part Father’s Day gift/anniversary present, the Asmussens headed to the big city and the oldest baseball stadium this side of Fenway Park: Wrigley Field in Chicago.

I’ve got a goal to attend a game at every MLB park in the country. My current count is 21 cities, which includes a couple of former buildings.

Wrigley was checked off my list long ago, third chronologically after Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium and Busch Stadium (old version) in St. Louis.

Visiting the ancient home of the Cubs brings back so many personal memories. Like saying “Hello” to the late, great Harry Caray. A handful of interviews with former Illini. And, of course, the amazing one-way Illinois-Northwestern football game in 2010. (While you were reading that line, Mikel Leshoure just ran for another 12 yards.)

I had a nice, warm seat for the football game, though I went on the field for about the last quarter to soak it all in.

The seats weren’t as good Sunday. We were literally at the top of the stadium, in the last row of 421B. We brought the binoculars, but didn’t need them.

One of the beauties of Wrigley is there is no bad seat. Cozy comes to mind.

A second didn’t pass when I thought “this would be better on TV.” It was most definitely better in person.

TV gives fans the angles the producer wants to show. When you are at the game, you are the producer. You watch what you want to watch: the position of the outfielders, movement in the dugout, why does that beer vendor look so happy? Stuff like that.

It is the ultimate in people watching. With most of the attention directed at the guys on the field.

To the credit of the Cubs, the fans aren’t peppered with entertainment. No music blaring. No silly on-field races. The game should be enough.

Some changes at Wrigley have happened throughout the years, including a digital scoreboard to go along with the old-school, manual version. But the place is similar to what it would have looked 30 years ago.

Staying put

Atlanta’s Truist Park is a wonderful building and home to the World Champions. I have been there before and will go again.

But it is not like Wrigley, which is wedged in the same neighborhood it has occupied for 108 years.

Truist Park is actually 15 miles from the original home of the Braves: Fulton County Stadium.

What makes Wrigley so unique is its location. My friend Mike lives three blocks from the place, in the quaint neighborhood.

The locals happily accept the commotion because they know it is for the greater good of the city and it only happens 81 days a a year (mostly in the afternoons) unless the Cubs make the playoffs. Hey, stop laughing. It will happen again.

Unless the folks in charge of the Cubs are dopes (they are not), the team will never leave Wrigley. It will celebrate its 200th birthday in 2114. Hope you can be there.

The place will get spiffed up between now and then. Hopefully no roof. Or gizmos and gadgets to enhance the experience.

Other than the struggling team on the field (25-42 going into Tuesday’s game at Pittsburgh), the Cubs are set into the next century.

Friendly confines

Legend has it Wrigley was the first place fans could keep foul balls that went into the stands. I’ll buy it.

Despite being in the nosebleed section, we saw a couple foul balls Sunday that came close. One nearby fan made a great barehanded catch. Another sadly dropped the ball and spilled a drink (beer, perhaps?).

Wrigley is the happiest place on Earth. Like Disney without the Mouse ears. Fans will willingly take your picture if you ask. The polite ushers offer suggestions and don’t rush you out of the place.

I do have a couple minor complaints. One, tickets were on the pricey side. No problem if you go to one game a year, but not as affordable if you want to attend five or six a season. And parking is brutal. Luckily, Mike offered his spot to us for the day. Good thing so I didn’t have to dip into the retirement fund to pay for parking.

But back to the point of the story. Wrigley was, is and always will be a beloved gem. The perfect place to spend Father’s Day. If the opponent is right (namely the current World Champs) I will be back again in 2023.

Bob Asmussen can be reached at 217-393-8248 or by email at asmussen@news-gazette.com.

Bob Asmussen can be reached at 217-393-8248 or by email at asmussen@news-gazette.com.

Trending Videos