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Game 41: Cubs at Twins

A quick Wrigley Field story before today’s action


First Pitch: 1:10 PM CT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: TIBN

Know Thine Enemy: Bleed Cubbie Blue

Today's Lineups

Christopher Morel - CF Joey Gallo - LF
Dansby Swanson - SS Alex Kirilloff - 1B
Ian Happ - LF Carlos Correa - SS
Seiya Suzuki - RF Byron Buxton - DH
Patrick Wisdom - 3B Jorge Polanco - 2B
Trey Mancini - DH Trevor Larnach - RF
Matt Mervis - 1B Kyle Farmer - 3B
Yan Gomes - C Nick Gordon - CF
Nick Madrigal - 2B Christian Vazquez - C
Marcus Stroman - RHP Louie Varland - RHP

I have been inside the gates of venerable Wrigley Field on Chicago’s North Side. I have never seen a baseball game played at Wrigley Field. Let me explain.

In October of 1998, I found myself tagging along with one aunt to visit another aunt (I have a large extended family) who happened to live not far from downtown Chicago. We took a day trip into the city and did all the tourist-y stuff: then-Sears Tower, Navy Pier, Ed Debevic’s Diner, etc. This was pre-Giant Bean era Windy City.

As we were driving around, we happened upon Wrigley Field. The Cubs had just been bounced from the playoffs by the Atlanta Braves so no more baseball would grace the Friendly Confines in ‘98—but I had spent that entire summer entranced by the Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa home run chase (#TeamSlamminSammy). So, we stopped with the simple intention of walking around the perimeter.

Complicated now—but boy was it fun back then
Photo by DANIEL LIPPITT/AFP via Getty Images

I am the type of person who generally abhors attention—not liking to draw any undue notice my way. A large portion of my extended family are the exact opposite—sometimes embarrassingly, sometimes fortunately. In this case, it proved to be the latter.

My aunts found an exterior door to knock on—and knock they did. Then, in one of the most inexplicable moments of my life (keep in mind, this is a random October weekend), someone answered the summons and took us inside after an explanation of my rabid baseball—and Sosa—fandom. I remember walking past the Cubs ticket sales offices and all of a sudden the diamond was in front of me. The staffer left us alone with the only rule to “not go out onto the field”. The pre-9/11 world was truly a different place.

We probably spent a half hour walking around the lower seating area and somewhere—though I can’t locate it at the moment—there is a picture of me sitting atop the Cubs dugout with an enormous smile on my face. Truly a magical moment for a 12-year old burgeoning baseball fan.

Two months later at Christmas time, my aunts presented me a blue Sammy Sosa Chicago Cubs jersey with “66”—his ‘98 home run total—on the back. With the possible exception of the Nintendo ‘64 I had received the previous Xmas, this was as top-tier of a gift as I could have possibly imagined at that time.

Sports Contributor Archive 2020
I may have executed a similar leap upon opening that gift
Photo by SPX/Ron Vesely Photography via Getty Images

Today’s game is of course not being played at Wrigley Field (with the new MLB schedule parameters, next year will bring that road trip). Instead, limestone will have to substitute for ivy. Let’s watch together as the Twins end this homestand—hopefully with a victory—before embarking on a West Coast jaunt!