To say there are only three things to love about Wrigley Field is like trying to name the best of the Three Tenors.
And no, Placido Domingo did not play shortstop for the Cubs.
1. Section 242
This is where I have had season seats since 1986. Our “Terrace Reserved” seats are along the aisle and near the field boxes in the far right field corner of the ballpark. Section 242 is like sitting in the bleachers without the cost or the hassle. We get a panoramic view of Wrigley and over the years have entertained guests such as the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich, Hillary Clinton (well she stood near a 242 corner) and former Cub Pete LaCock who watched a meaningless game with us many autumn moons ago.
I became a Cubs season ticket holder in 1985 and landed in the grandstands behind home plate. We sat near late newspaper columnist Mike Royko and porn star Seka, who at the time was hanging out with Cubs pitching coach Billy Connors.
But our section was frigid year-round, due to the lack of sun. Late Chicago singer-songwriter Mike Jordan called them “great hangover seats.” Maybe that’s why Royko was there. In April, most of Wrigley is shrouded in a blanket of gloomy shade. But I noticed the sun shining in the right field corner of the ballpark.
So after the ‘85 season I wrote the Cubs a letter and they let us pick from the litter of 242.
Our section has become a warm family over the years. We have cried, drank together, cried and cried some more. There’s Wise Pete, who has seen it all, optimistic Mike and Hope and Jacques Pryor. Simon the Usher is our maharishi yogi. Rush Street Jim Rittenberg always has a smile from the expensive field box seats a few rows down along the pristine red brick.
My season ticket partner Angelo has been instructed to dump my ashes out of 242 into an eternal spring.
2 .The Wrigley Ivy
On a beautiful midsummer day every visitor to Wrigley Field is embraced by the lush green ivy on the outfield walls. Bill Veeck Jr. planted the original vines in 1937 along with Chinese elms in square boxes that framed the center field bleachers. The tree experiment was abandoned in the early 1940s because too many leaves blew around the ballpark. The poets among us equate the ivy with the curve of the baseball season: we are brown and tattered from a tough winter, we emerge in full glory in June and July and fade away again into a respite of heartbreak.
3. The L’s left turn at Irving Park
The top of the majestic Wrigley Field scoreboard can be seen by all riders as the L swings left at Irving Park. This helps explain the proletarian nature of the Cubs — all walks of life riding by know the score. My friend/Chicago cop and good guy Mike Reischl recalled, “As the L slowly makes the turn, the conductor would announce over the PA system in a gravely sound, ‘Next Stop Addison, Wrigley Field!’ and then he repeated it twice. It just gives me goose bumps and still gets me excited. And I’m 41 years old.” I’ve been to most major league ballparks. There’s nothing that compares with Wrigley Field and the L.
The ride goes on forever.
Dave Hoekstra will attend his 37th consecutive Cubs home opener today.
YOU GOT BETTER ONES?
Tell us your three favorite things about Wrigley Field!