Friday, July 27, 2018

Arizona Diamondbacks 5 at Chicago Cubs 1 - July 24, 2018

I'm in Chicago again for the Blue Jays, this time to see a three-game set against the White Sox as part of my Toronto on the Road quest. But I arrived a few days early with the wife and baby so we could do some proper touring. As luck would have it, the Cubs were home during the week, so I decided to check out one of those games and revisit Wrigley, the site of last year's horrible sweep.

As day games preclude any tourism, I went to the night game on Tuesday, with the Arizona Diamondbacks visiting in their ugly road uniforms. I arrived a few minutes before first pitch and went to the box office, where I picked up a standing room ticket for $28. This was something I wanted as I was interested in exploring the park more than I had done in the past.

There are standing areas along the walkways behind the lower bowl, i.e. above the 200 sections. I stood there for the first inning, with the view above. The upper deck blocks fly balls so I moved after the first inning, which was scoreless.

The next stop was in the upper deck along right field. No obstructions here, but also no place to stand, so I moved on after a half-inning.

I walked toward the bleachers and noticed some guys peeping through a fence in the right field corner. There are small spots through which you can see part of the game, though you wouldn't want to stand here very long. But I was able to take a picture with the ivy and brick in the foreground and the game and crowd in the background. That's Paul Goldschmidt manning first base in the garish duds, while Ian Happ is batting. This is one of my favourite pictures as it captures the essence of Wrigley from an unusual vantage point.

I continued to move toward the bleachers, noting that the Cubs have a Wall of Fame highlighting past stars. The above shot includes a couple with Canadian connections.

There is also a spot where the ivy surrounding the 400 foot sign is replicated, allowing you to pretend that you were actually on the field. Unfortunately, you are not allowed in the bleachers without a bleacher ticket (standing room does not count), so I turned around and went back. I stopped along the upper walkway in the right field corner, but this is not a good spot to watch the game, so I moved on.

The good seats here are below a walkway with each section guarded by an usher sitting on a small stool next to the aisle, so sneaking in is very tough. But above the walkway are the 200 seats and those are not protected, so as I made my way up the stairs, I noticed a couple of open seats right on the aisle. There were no drinks in the cup holders or food packages below, so I was confident they were no-shows and sat down (view below). Sure enough, I had those seats to myself for the rest of the game.

It wasn't a particularly good one, as Arizona opened the scoring in the 5th with a Jon Jay triple and Goldschmidt single. A double and single added two more and then a Jay sacrifice fly in the 6th made it 4-0. Jason Heyward homered for the Cubs in the 6th so that fans of local fast-food Italian beef purveyors Buona could enjoy a free sandwich the next day. Sadly for Cubs fans, that was their only run, while Arizona tacked on another run in the 9th to win 5-1. The highlight might have been an argument between Steven Souza Jr. and Anthony Rizzo after Souza slid awkwardly into Javier Baez trying to stretch a single. Souza was hit by a pitch in his next plate appearance, clearly intentionally, and Rizzo said something as Souza reached first base, leading to a brief delay as they argued, though benches did not clear. The game took 3:13 but was played at a good pace at 1.704 PPM. A game at Wrigley is always a treat and if you haven't been yet, I really can't imagine what you are waiting for.


Turns out that this game made the news for other reasons. A fan sitting in the bleachers was hit on the hit by a falling tile from the scoreboard. He was injured and received 5 staples to close the cut, but news reports indicated that he was saved from serious injury by wearing a bucket on his head.



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