Wrigley Field Food – The Complete Menu

Chicago Cubs


Wrigley Field Food – The Complete Menu

Posted by Kurt Smith

Here it is my friend: the complete, ultimate fan’s guide to the Wrigley Field food menu.

Read it well and read it often, because this is important! If a trip to the Friendly Confines is in your future plans, you’re going to want to sample Chicago-style dogs, deep dish pizza and (not or, and) Italian beef. Or find cool nearby places and bring your own.

And of course, you’re going to want to tell your friends about the amazeballs food in Chicago’s North Side ballpark. (If you’d like to know about some White Sox food choices, read this and this.)

chicago dogs

Yes, I’m gonna talk about hot dogs. No worries.

Don’t skip anything, but if time is a factor, here’s your table of contents:

The Sheffield Counter Wrigley Field Restaurant
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Dogs + Other Encased Meat
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef
Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Crispy Pork, and Joe Maddon Hoagies
What About Burgers?
Fries, Nachos + Other Munchie Food at Wrigley Field
For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites
Dessert At The Friendly Confines
Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher
Want To Save Money On Wrigley Field Food? Check Out This Tip!
And Yes, You Can Bring Your Own

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The Attached Wrigley Field Restaurant

Because Wrigley has changed so much since my last visit, and time is a factor putting this out, I’m leaving an analysis of the new fancy clubs for a future post. You can read about them here on the Cubs website.

sheffield counter

The Cubs seem to like the word “Counter” better these days, but the food doesn’t taste any different.

The Sheffield Counter restaurant is located at the end of the right field concourse, along Sheffield Avenue, and is open to anyone with a ticket. It’s a small sit down area with tables and window counters, so you can watch construction while you eat.

The Sheffield features rotating “craft dogs”: examples have included a Wrigley Dog that mixes up the Chicago dog toppings into an easier-to-eat relish (what a cool idea!), or a Kimchi Dog with kimchi, pork belly and ginger aioli…and how many times have you wished you get something like that at a ballgame?

You can also order somewhat fancy chicken sandwiches and tacos, pretzel sandwiches like ham and Swiss or beef and cheddar, bison cheeseburgers and dogs, and a healthier items like a vegan Sloppy Jane sandwich. The Big W Burger and Cuban Burger were available here in my last visit.

Chef Series wrigley

A Cubs game with Rick Bayless as your chef for the night. You have arrived.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

It’s baseball, so of course you have to have a chef. In 2017 the Cubs introduced this cool concept at the Sheffield: rotating celebrity chefs showcasing their specialties. For example, Matthias Merges of Yusho fame’s offerings included fries with Chinese sausage gravy, and hot dogs with kimchi and grilled shishito peppers piled on. It’s a great way to sample some of the best in Chicago cuisine…which is a pretty high standard to meet.

The Counter is open two hours before game time, but it does get packed, and you’ll be tight with your neighbor if you don’t arrive fairly early.

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Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are Chicago, and Chicago is hot dogs. The Wrigley Field food menu includes them in all of the necessary forms:

chicago dogs

Poppy seeds, grilled onions…this can really soften the blow of a Cubs defeat.

Chicago Dog kiosks are found in most all of the concourses, on both levels and on the Bleacher Patio. Chicago Dog has Vienna Beef franks or Polish sausages on poppy-seed buns, on which you can add a big pile of raw or grilled onions, chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut, celery salt and that bright green relish that make it a dog “dragged through the garden” as Chicago visitors call it.

Lines get long at Chicago Dog stands, and people scarf up the toppings, so you should hit one early. They might still be cash-only, so have some on hand. Chicago Dog used to carry bison dogs; there is a separate cart for that now (read on).

wrigley field hot doug's

With a logo like this, you know it’s a great dog. (image courtesy of Hot Doug’s)

Hot Doug’s: “Hot Doug” Sohn was the owner of the most popular hot dog stand in Chicago–as in lines around the block popular. He became successful enough to retire, but the Cubs liked his unusual dogs enough to give him a stand in the bleacher section, behind the center field scoreboard. There you go; another reason to get a bleacher ticket at Wrigley. Lines get very long at this stand too; jump on it early if you can.

Hot Doug’s famous dogs are sold in various forms named after Cubs’ greats, which they rotate for each homestand. For example, you might see the Tinker to Evers to Chance double play combination:

Joe Tinker: A veal saltimbocca sausage with crispy onions, sage mustard and Swiss cheese.
Johnny Evers: A jalapeño and Jack cheese pork sausage with caramelized onions, sweet and spicy mustard and more Jack cheese.
Frank Chance: A spicy Polish sausage topped with cilantro aioli, pico de gallo and Chihuahua cheese.

(Trivia question answer: Harry Steinfeldt.)

wrigley field food high plains bison

The logo features a three-legged bison…which is presumably easier to catch.

The High Plains Bison people are the Official Lean Meat of the Chicago Cubs, and they have separate carts at Wrigley that sell hot dogs, Italian sausages and brats made from lean bison meat. On your sausage you can get peppers, sweet onions and/or marinara.

The High Plains bison dog itself doesn’t taste very different from a classic dog except for a smokier flavor, and the meat is leaner and healthier, as they clearly state on this kiosk. I had one in my last trip and it was very good.

So why choose a bison dog? According to the High Plains website, bison offers 45% fewer calories than beef, 87% less fat, and 100% more iron. And of course, you have the option of getting one at Wrigley Field.

wrigley field smokies

Nothing says smoked beef like a hand-operated scoreboard look.

Wrigley Field Smokies: I didn’t know this, but smoked sausages were a popular thing at Wrigley, so the Cubs brought them back. The Smokies cart sells hickory-smoked beef sausages with a secret blend of seasonings, and no artificial colors or flavorings. I don’t know how to describe a smoky flavor, but that is the selling point. Smokies are also made by Vienna Beef, and they’ve informed me that they offer them on their website for limited times.

The Smokies are slightly larger than the Wrigley dog and cost a bit more; you can get one with grilled onions and stuff. I don’t see them on the current Cubs menu, so if you can’t find the cart, you can probably order them at Chicago Dogs or another stand.

wrigley field food decade dogs

Well, the picture was cool.

Apparently, the Decade Dogs stand is unfortunately no more; it was another spot for unusual hot dogs that were named after the decades when such items were popular, like a 1970s “TV Dinner” dog. The Cubs fetched $1,000 for charity selling the sign. If you want unusual dogs, go for Hot Doug’s or the Sheffield Counter.

wrigley field Chicago hot dog

Here, I proudly display my own handiwork of dressing a dog Chicago-style. I get stingy with that neon green relish.

One last note about Wrigley Field hot dogs. If you buy a dog from a vendor as opposed to the concessions kiosks, the dog will be steamed coming from the vendor as opposed to grilled. Not that one is better than the other; the religion of Chicago dogs isn’t clear on the matter.

The vendor steamed hot dog is wrapped up and the roll can get good and mushy, which some folks (including myself) like. Still, you’re missing out on the whole dressing up of the hot dog this way—with a vendor you’re limited to mustard packets.

 

Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza

wrigley field food giordanos pizza

Appetizing isn’t it? And you’re just seeing the one corner of it!

Giordano’s is the official pizza of the Cubs; they even have their chefs on the premises rather than risk leaving this pizza thing to amateurs. As a big fan of Giordano’s deep dish pies, I’m happy about this development; you probably will be too. You can get a six-inch pie here with various toppings or a thin slice…for some reason the thin slices are on the menu too.

I could quote you some reviews about how legendary Giordano’s deep dish is among Chicago natives and visitors, but I’ve also tried it myself, and it’s right there with Lou Malnati’s and the original Pizzeria Uno (which is much better than the chain version) as my favorites.

Part of the Giordano’s deal was teaming up with Vienna Beef to create a Chicago Dog pizza, with all the classic dog toppings. I don’t know if this number is still available, but you can look for it.

While the convenience of trying a deep dish pie at Wrigley is great, Giordano’s has an actual location just a few blocks away, with more selection of pizzas and toppings. It’s just a 12 minute walk from Wrigley, and just steps from the Belmont Red Line Station.

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Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef

wrigley field italian beef

Is it me, or does the sun shine brighter on Italian beef?
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

For you non-Chicago natives, the Italian Beef is roast beef that is sliced thinly, slow cooked in au jus gravy and seasonings, and then dumped on a roll with hot pepper giardiniera if you like. It’s a little bit like a Philly cheesesteak, but different enough to make it a Chicago thing. You’ll need napkins for this one.

One thing, don’t call it an “Italian beef sandwich” in front of a native. Just Italian Beef.

Buona Beef is the official Italian Beef of the Cubs. Buona is a popular chain of about 17 restaurants, with an excellent diagram on their site about how to make an Italian beef sandwich. I trust them.

You can find the Italian beef at Bleacher Platform 14, and also at the Chicago Dogs and Marquee Grill stands.

wrigley field als italian beef

A nearby and equally authentic authentic Italian beef. (photo courtesy of Al’s Italian Beef.)

Nothing against Buona, but if you’d like to try a classic Italian beef, Al’s restaurant is just a short walk south on Clark Street. Lots more choices of toppings (more about that in this post), and Al’s is a true vintage classic in Chicago. And I’m not just saying that because they let me use this photo.

 

Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Crispy Pork, and Joe Maddon Hoagies

joe maddon hoagie wrigley field

Take it from a Philly guy. It’s the bread.
(photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants)

The Maddon Italian hoagie comes from the Maddon family’s restaurant in Hazleton, PA, the “Third Base Luncheonette”. It’s ham, salami, white American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, spicy peppers and olive oil. It’s a sub with a nice kick to it.

The curse-breaking manager of the Cubs says himself that the key to the sandwich is the bread and the peppers. He doesn’t know the brand of bread they use, however. The Joe Maddon Hoagie is popular and occasionally sells out, so I’d plan ahead for this one.

The concept of a beer can chicken sandwich is pretty cool, unless there is an actual beer can in the chicken sandwich itself. (I’ve eaten in restaurants where such an item wouldn’t surprise me.) Fortunately, Wrigley does it right: it’s beer-marinated chicken breast with Dijonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato and bacon on a brioche bun.

Wrigley Field food also includes a smoking variation of the classic grilled cheese sandwich: the Marquee Melter. It’s Gruyere, cheddar and Butterkäse, (one of the remarkably few types of cheeses not mentioned in this classic comedy sketch), along with smoked brisket and caramelized onions. I’ve read that it includes a pesto dip, so be sure to ask for that.

wrigley field chick-ago sandwich

Nothing like leaving your teammate a Chick-Ago sandwich in the on-deck circle!
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

Here’s a fun one…the Chick-Ago Sandwich. It’s pickle brined and seasoned chicken thighs with tempura sport peppers, vine ripe tomato chunks, and dill aioli on an onion roll with celery salt. Kind of like a Chicago Dog, but with chicken.

The Wrigley Field food menu also mentions an Italian seasoned grilled chicken sandwich with pesto aioli, and a crispy pork sandwich with breaded pork strips and toppings on a pretzel bun. A chance to go beyond a simple burger.

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What About Burgers?

Wrigley Field Cheeseburger

Chef Tony Mantuano designed this masterpiece. This is why the Chef Series is necessary.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

Wrigley Field now offers a fancy “aged cheddar burger” and the equally popular follow-up “aged double cheddar burger”, and I presume that means the cheddar is aged, not the actual cheddar burger itself. It’s a seasoned beef patty with aged cheddar (ah!), tomato aioli, arugula and house made pickles.

The Aged Cheddar creation is at the Classics stands in the corners and at the Sheffield…at the Corner it’s less likely to be heatlamp-radiated.

Various stands throughout Wrigley sell the aptly named Big W burger. It’s basic, simple, and American: a fresh beef patty with American and cheddar cheese, the classic burger topping triad of lettuce, tomato and onion, with secret sauce (something like Thousand Island dressing if I’m not mistaken, since Big Macs still sell). Get crinkle cut fries with it for the ideal American meal.

More on the Impossible Veggie Burger in the Healthy Section…

 

More Wrigley Field Food: Fries, Nachos + Other Munch Foods

disco fries wrigley field food

I remember when going disco was a bad thing. This rocks, pun intended.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

The coolest recent addition to the Wrigley Field food menu is Disco Fries. It’s a souvenir Cubs helmet filled with crispy fried potatoes, and then topped with braised beef short rib (which we know is brilliant), roasted garlic aioli, queso Franco and green onions. You can’t go wrong piling most anything on fries, but only certain ingredients can make them Disco.

Also new in 2019 is the pork tenders, breaded pork strips with Japanese BBQ sauce and cabbage and carrot slaw. I’m not sure what legally constitutes Japanese BBQ sauce; you’d have to ask the Levy people about that.

wrigley field food walking taco

There was more chili in it when I purchased it. Honest.

Here’s a picture of a Walking Taco from a Chicago ballpark. Well, okay, I took this one at a White Sox game. But it’s the same deal, a bag of Fritos with chili con carne, nacho cheese, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. Not the healthiest thing, but a cheaper and easy snack.

You can find ordinary nachos at Wrigley, including the soon-to-be-discussed Big Slugger Nachos, but if you like your nachos with different stuff piled on them, try the Italian beef nachos at Bleacher Bums. Of course, you need a bleacher ticket for that one…

Finally, Nuts on Clark has unfortunately departed, but Garrett’s gourmet popcorn is a more than adequate replacement. Garrett’s is the famous popcorn maker in Chicago…and you have to be pretty good to be famous for food in Chicago…and at Wrigley you have the choice of their Cheese Corn or Caramel Crisp. Or mix the two and put it in a souvenir Cubs tin!

 

Wrigley Field Eats For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites

wrigley field food north side twist

The dipping sauces alone could put strain on a marriage.

If you look around the Wrigley Field food stands, especially in the bleachers, you may come across the North Side Twist, Wrigley’s version of the 2-pound soft pretzel. This monster, served in a pizza box, comes with three different dipping sauces chipotle honey mustard, beer cheddar cheese and cinnamon cream. All of which work very well.

They’re not cheap, but it’s easily enough for two people. You should get here early if you want one, these do sell out on occasion.

If you’ve got a nacho jones and/or are sharing, try a helmet of Big Slugger nachos…two pounds of nachos served in a helmet with a ridiculous amount of toppings, including ample salsa and jalapenos. Two pounds is a lot of nachos, so be sure you can handle this for the cost.

In the past at the Italian Hot Spot stands I’ve seen a Big Cheese Rip-N-Dip, a large amount of focaccia bread covered with cheese and served with dipping sauces. I don’t know if it’s still around, but if you like dipping bread sticks this could be for you.

 

Dessert At A Cubs Game

wrigley field food cookies

“Don’t get any cookie crumbs on my scoreshee… Oh, Prairie City? Never mind.”

Prairie City Cookies are the Official Cookie of the Chicago Cubs, just in case you were wondering. They’ve also been the “Snack of The Day” on the Rachael Ray Show, an equally impressive achievement. You can get a couple of tasty cookies fairly cheaply for a ballpark.

Tripper’s is the place to go for dessert varieties; they have Edy’s ice cream and several other sweet treats like lemon chills, licorice ropes and giant cookies. And on cold days you can get a hot chocolate. Tripper’s and other stands have a frosty malt cup that has been a Wrigley staple for many years. It even inspired this blogger to make her own.

The CC’s Frozen Treats stand not only has different styles of wine coolers and frozen drinks that lady Cub fans like (mai-tais, vodka lemonades, etc.), they also have ice cream in the souvenir helmet for you collectors. It’s not actual head-size, though, unless you have an extremely small head.

Want the list of other brand names featured at Wrigley for dessert? Mrs. Fields Cookie Sandwich, Dove Bars, Snickers Cones, Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Bars, and Jim Beam if you count the sugary drinks.

 

Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher

wrigley field vegetarian food

Impossible Veggie Burgers, best enjoyed from the Bartman Seat.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

The aforementioned Impossible Burger is a vegetarian burger with a plant-based vegan burger patty, topped with chipotle lime aioli, American cheese, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. Remove the cheese and it’s a vegan burger. It can be found in Left Field Classics, Right Field Classics, and at the Red Line Grill in the bleachers. Apparently they don’t want you near home plate with it.

My celiac-afflicted then-girlfriend did not like Wrigley Field when I took her for a visit (astonishingly, I married her anyway). Maybe this will get her to go again: the Cubs have gluten-free dogs. Go to the Marquee Grill stand behind home plate and ask for one…according to this blogger, you should tell them to use gloves.

Celiacs can also go for veggie chopped salads, pistachios and gummy bears. Grounds Crew and Brews stands have gluten-free Starfruit frozen treats and Wrigleyville Brew House has gluten free nuts and cookies from Enjoy Life Foods. (I’m assuming those stands still exist; if not you can look around for these things.) You may also have some GF options at the Sheffield Counter. Redbridge beer is sold at Wrigley.

The Cubs had sold kosher dogs at several stands, but in 2017 they installed a spot devoted exclusively to the art of kosher food. DanZtand is run by Danziger Kosher Midwest, a caterer based in Chicago. At their Wrigley outpost, you can get Romanian hot dogs, Romanian Polish (?) sausages, and pretzels, and presumably they would be available for Friday night or Saturday games.

For you vegetarians, the Cubs have recently added a roasted cauliflower sandwich…with roasted red pepper pesto, garlicky garbanzo bean spread, and baby spinach. Would definitely assist in digesting the also-vegetarian Giordano’s plain pizza or Garrett’s popcorn. You can also find that chopped salad in most fancier stands.

 

Want To Save Money on Wrigley Field Food? #KillerTip

save money at wrigley field

I felt truly empowered when I learned this.

Because you’ve stuck with me this long, I’m sharing a killer tip with you…

For the first hour that the gates are open at Wrigley, food and non-alcoholic drinks are 25% off their regular price at all of the non-kiosk stands. This includes the Sheffield Corner if you’re looking for something there, but not the fancier items, unfortunately. Still, 25% off anything is great at a ballpark.

The discount comes up automatically, no need to ask for it. Get your Giordano’s pizza early, and then when the price returns to normal, get your fancy chicken sandwich on.

Speaking of saving money…

 

Yes, You Can Bring Your Own Grub

wrigley field subway

Subway subtly gives away the secret for thrifty fans…

It’s becoming more common knowledge now that you can bring your own food into ballparks, within reason. Here is the Cubs official policy: you can bring in a bag that is smaller than 16*16*8, which should be large enough to carry anything you need. Your bag will be searched, and anything that could contain alcohol or be used as a projectile will be removed.

So take advantage of that loophole and save a few bucks…I’ve offered up three places to fill up your goody bag here, but Wrigleyville has tons of other takeout joints, including McDonald’s, Subway, and vendors selling peanuts and water around the ballpark but especially at the Addison Red Line station.

Coming from the north, you can get off the Red Line at the Sheridan station just a few blocks away from Wrigley and stop at Byron’s hot dogs, another classic Chicago dog joint. Get that Dogzilla half pound skinless beef hot dog with the Chicago fixin’s.

 

Hungry yet? Is that it? Wow, seems like I was just getting started!

There you have it my friends, the full Wrigley Field food menu analysis from Ballpark E-Guides. Feel free to let me know if anything changes. If you’d like to know where to find any of these items, the Cubs have a listing here that you might be able to use for a while…

Be sure to check back for any changes, and share this with anyone planning a trip to Wrigley!

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

Wrigley Field Parking – Best Tips, Lot Choices, and Shuttles.

Posted by Kurt Smith

You’re right to search for info about Wrigley Field parking before you go. Being in a residential area…and being a ballpark built before the rise to prominence of the automobile…Wrigley parking can be difficult to find and expensive.

(Want to know what to eat in the ballpark? Check out the photos in this Wrigley Field food post!)

 

wrigley field parking price

Cardboard insert allows for quickly implemented price increases.

But Ballpark E-Guides never backs down from a challenge, and after doing a ridiculous amount of research, here is a page full of my best tips for getting to Wrigley by car. If you’re looking for the easiest way to get to a Cubs game, read this about the CTA. But if you’re driving, there are things you should know. Don’t be that guy that settles for a $50 spot and/or misses the first inning. Give yourself a chance to get some grub outside.

First, I will try to briefly gloss over the traffic situation.

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Driving to Wrigley Field? You Should Know This…

The Cubs’ website provides directions from all points, including from the airports, and in most cases they provide alternate routes. Even with these, though, you should allow a lot of time—just getting to the ballpark from I-90/94 on Addison can take almost an hour on game day.

Here are some of my own suggestions for alternate routes.

Alternate Route #1: I made a Chicago friend cringe sharing this route, so don’t tell anyone.

Coming south on I-94 before it merges with I-90, exit at Cicero (41C) and go south to Foster Avenue. Coming north on I-94, use the Foster exit (42), and then make a left onto Foster.

Go east on Foster—it becomes U.S. 41 after Lincoln Avenue. Take a right on Ashland Avenue, and then use Grace Street or a nearby cross street to get to Clark.

 

irving park road wrigley field

Four lane roads are better.

Alternate Route #2: Coming from Lake Shore Drive, the Cubs recommend using the Irving Park or Belmont Avenue exits, but these get bogged down too, so you can get off one exit early and use Fullerton Parkway coming north or Montrose going south.

From Montrose you can turn on Ashland and use it to get to Addison (you can also make a left onto Clark just before Ashland). Irving Park Road (IL-19), with four lanes, is said to not be as bad as Belmont, so it might be okay, but this is an alternative.

Alternate Route #3 (for exiting): The city created an “offset centerline” on Irving Park Road making two lanes available westbound after the game; so this might be an easier route out than Addison if you’re returning to the interstate. (It’s a good idea to choose your parking spot accordingly for this, i.e. north of the ballpark.)

The general rule is that the streets west of the park are the worst, so you’re better off trying to approach Wrigley from the north or south, and coming from the south is easier than from the north.

There are hotels near Wrigley that presumably would provide a parking space and save you the trouble of finding a spot, but you’ll pay a nice chunk of change for anything decent here. You’re better off staying downtown and using the Red Line to get to the game, or staying in Skokie and using the Yellow Line.

Finally, if you’re coming from out of town, you’ll probably have to pay some tolls; bring a lot of quarters if you don’t have a transponder, because not all of the booths have attendants.

OK, get all that? Now here are your Wrigley Field parking options, all of which have their merits…

 

Wrigley Field Parking – From The Cubs Themselves.

With the ongoing renovation, as I write this, the Cubs operate four official lots. The Brown (“Toyota RAV4”) Lot is a block south on Eddy Street, the Green (“Toyota Camry”) lot is a couple of blocks north and the Irving Park lot is about four blocks north on Irving Park Road. You can buy passes online or call the Cubs to reserve a spot for most lots—which is a good idea if you don’t have a plan.

 

wrigley field parking green lot

I can only imagine what Toyota paid to add their name to this sign.

The Toyota Camry (“Green”) Wrigley Field parking lot is only available for weekday games, demonstrating the pull that the Cubs really have in the city. It’s a couple of blocks away, but it’s been repaved recently and compared to most it is a relatively easy in and out.

There are port-a-pots in the Cubs lots, but tailgating isn’t permitted. (So there shouldn’t be lines for them.) If you plan on partying in Wrigleyville after the game, try to find a lot that will allow you to stay longer; the Cubs require you to exit their lots two hours after the game ends.

Some people feel safer leaving their car in official team lots; I’m not knocking that, but I think you’ll be just fine using spots offered by Cub Parking or ParkWhiz. More on that in a bit.

(Wait…did I hear you say you want to park for free at Wrigley Field?)

Hey, you’re a bold fan. I like that! And apparently, so do the Cubs.

 

wrigley field parking free bus

Notice the word “parking” is emphasized over both “express” and “bus”.

The team offers a free remote lot at 3900 N. Rockwell Street; it is just off of Irving Park Road a couple of miles west of the ballpark. The Cubs provide a free shuttle service from here for night and weekend games; it starts 2.5 hours before the ballgame and runs for an hour afterwards, leaving every ten minutes or so which is nice.

So with the Cubs Express, and with the street parking available on weekdays (more on that in a bit), you can now park for free for pretty much any game. And this shuttle allows you easy access back on I-90/94, without having to navigate through much traffic.

One caveat though…it’s a very long line after the game, with thousands of other fans exiting the ballpark in other directions. Be ultra-mindful if you have kids with you.

 

You have other options, too, but…

…with the Cubs apparently buying the entire North Side of Chicago, I’m not sure how many of these options remain as I write this. But here’s a few non-team sanctioned lots:

 

wrigley field parking murphys

Countdown to extra income from parking!

Murphy’s Bleachers has a small lot across the street from the bleachers entrance; it isn’t any cheaper but you can keep your car there if you’re partying at Murphy’s afterward.

The Red Top Parking lot is close to the bleachers and is said to be an easy out; but you will pay extra to avoid being parked in.

 

wrigley field parking wrigleysville dogs

Wrigley parking, gyros, and outdoor dining…what’s not to like?

There is a small lot at Wrigleysville Dogs on Clark (yes, with an S); it’s a good spot to grab a quick cheap bite before the game.

Finally, South on Clark and Sheffield a few blocks from the ballpark, you can find parking that is a bit cheaper than the lots closest to the park; these lots are near many of the popular taverns (and Al’s Italian Beef!) and there are cheaper souvenir stands nearby.

Whatever your plan, if you are coming to Wrigley by car, you’d be very wise to book your parking beforehand. Don’t trust someone just because they’re wearing an orange smock (that’s a popular scam).

Fortunately for you, there are quite a few enterprising folks who will help arrange things for you…

Don’t pay ballpark prices! Order your Cubs gear and souvenirs before you go at Amazon.com. Save money on your Cubs gear AND get free shipping on orders over $25…order your Cubs swag today!

 

Give thanks for prepaid parking!

CubParking

You can’t avoid trusting a logo like this.

Cub Parking. The guys at Cub Parking have made arrangements with people who have been selling spaces near Wrigley since before they were born. You can book a spot online and they will actually greet you there most times and direct you to your spot.

You’ll pay a premium price for closer spots, but you won’t be blocked in, and you can keep your keys and leave anytime. Cub Parking offers overnight parking (which can be a boon in Wrigleyville).

As owner Nick Napoli told me in an interview (click here if you’d like to read it, it’s very informative), it’s nice to park for free and get a ride from the Cubs, but with Cub Parking you won’t have to wait for a bus and pile onto it with other eager Cubs fans. He’s got a point…standing on buses isn’t fun.

 

parkwhiz

Click this image to find deals on Cubs parking!

ParkWhiz. ParkWhiz is like StubHub for parking spots; it’s located in several tough-to-park-in cities like Chicago. Like with Cub Parking, with ParkWhiz people that own spots near the ballpark offer them to Cubs fans online. Select a game, choose from a selection of spots, print out your reservation and set your GPS.

One very nice thing about ParkWhiz is that you can read reviews of spots before booking them; they will often tell you if a spot is an easy out or if it’s near a favorite Wrigleyville establishment.

I love ParkWhiz, and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate of mine. Click here to check out Wrigley Field parking and tell them that I sent you.

 

Did you say something about “free street public parking”?

I knew that was going to distract you. OK, here’s what I know…and again, keep in mind that these rules can change.

Wrigleyville is a residential area, meaning that if you don’t have a permit sticker on your car and you park in the wrong place, your car will be towed.

But there are quite a few free spaces on side streets, a short distance away for weekday games when everyone is at work and many games are still scheduled. You can use these and hoof it or take a train or bus to the park.

Look for the 383 zone sign:

 

free street parking wrigley field

As long as you’re not partying here after a day game, the locals are good with it.

Generally, if you look around the side streets off of Clark Street or Waveland Avenue north and west of the park, you should see plenty of these. The signs will clearly say what you cannot do; if they don’t say you can’t park there during the day, you should be fine.

For day games if you are early enough (say, 3-4 hours before first pitch) you can grab one of these and park just a couple of blocks away for free; the only drawback is that you will need to be out of there by 6:00 PM (or maybe 5:00), so you can’t party in Wrigleyville too long. It’s a good idea to remember the address where you parked.

I’ve also read that there is free street parking on Clark Street north of Irving Park Road if you don’t mind at least a four block walk, and east of the Graceland cemetery on Kenmore there are street spots.

If you’re coming off I-90/94 at Addison Street and you’d rather not fight traffic the whole way, there are side streets along Addison with spaces available, and many of them within a mile of Wrigley have no restrictions. In some spots you can park right on Addison. Just be sure to check parking regulations carefully.

If you’re too tired after the game for the walk back, hop on the #152 Addison Street bus. But remember where you left your car.

The city of Chicago recently doubled the price of meters for Cubs games, so it really likely isn’t worth it at $4 per hour for metered spots. You might as well find a closer lot.

 

One More Thing for You Cubs Fan Rockers…

reggies rock bus cubs game

“I’ll see you on the Dark Side of the Red Line…”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Reggies Rock Bus. Reggies Live is a popular music club closer to the South Side; they offer packages for Cubs (and White Sox) games that include a bleacher ticket, a pre-game buffet, and a ride to the game on their wicked cool looking Rock Bus. All at a very reasonable price.

Reggies is on State Street close to the Red Line Chinatown Station; there is metered street parking nearby. Even including the parking cost it’s a great deal, and Reggies is a happening live music joint. Great for rocker Cub fans. (And isn’t that all of us?)

 

A Short Summary of Wrigley Field Parking.

When I go to a game at Wrigley, I usually use the CTA…it’s cheaper than most parking and much easier than dealing with traffic. But there are cases when you might want to drive…and it’s often preferable to being on a packed train.

If you take away one key tip for Wrigley Field parking, it’s this: book your parking ahead of time through Cub Parking or ParkWhiz. The free parking is nice, but you’ll either be riding a crowded bus or risking having to leave an extra-inning or rain delayed contest early. And you paid for nine innings!

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Reggies Rock Bus photo courtesy of Reggies Live.

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Wrigley Field With Kids – 4 Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

Enjoying a Cubs game at Wrigley Field with kids can be a challenge. It’s a bit tough to keep them entertained, for example, with little playground space. But it can be done. Here are a few things parents should know about bringing the family to the Friendly Confines:

 

wrigley field with kids terrace seats

This is a nice shady spot, and you can still see everything.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #1) Try Terrace Reserved Seats. You may want to sit in the Terrace Reserved sections (and avoid obstructed views), especially on hot summer days. They have several advantages over the similarly priced bleacher seats…they’re in the shade, and you’re less likely to hear the colorful language of some bleachers fans.

And by Wrigley standards, the Terrace Reserved seats are more affordable for families, no small thing here.

Looking for cheaper Cubs tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap cubs tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Cubs game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you! 

 

wrigley field with kids fan club

Even though, in most other aspects of their life, they’ll be expected to grow up a bit.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #2) Join The Kids Club. The “Clark’s Crew” Cubs Fan Club membership for kids now includes a game ticket (woo-hoo!), and the kid gets cool stuff like a backpack and lanyard too. Look for the “Fans” section of the Cubs’ website.

The benefits are well worth the cost. Membership includes newsletters and merchandise discounts, and front of the line access on run the bases Sundays.

Speaking of which…

 

wrigley field with kids cubby bear

I’m sure he has an important point to make.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #3) Go On Sundays. And Go Early. The Cubs offer a chance for the kids to run the bases at Wrigley Field (and that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?). Just get there early, so you can get a wristband for the kid when you come in.

Some Sundays are giveaway days, where the Cubs hand out stuff to young fans like lunch bags and wristbands. All pretty cool, but remember this…

 

wrigley field with kids concourses

They’re playing the “go back to your seat” song.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #4) Keep A Close Eye On The Kids. The Wrigley concourses get very crowded, especially for the last hour before the game starts, and it’s easy to lose track of someone small. Be sure the kid knows what to do in case you get separated…show them what Cubs employees look like and all that. It’s a crowded place outside too, so just be aware.

So there is, I hope, some useful advice for doing a Cubs game with the little ones.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Ways To Score Cheap Cubs Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

It’s increasingly difficult to find cheap Cubs tickets these days, with a finally realized champion playing in arguably the top tourist destination in baseball. But Ballpark E-Guides is here to help…so here are three tips for saving a few dollars when landing tickets to see the Cubs. Hope they help you in your quest to save some cash.

 

cheap cubs tickets april games

A game at Wrigley Field in April against the Padres is still a game at Wrigley Field.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #1) Choose The Right Game. The Cubs, and more importantly, third party sellers and agencies, charge more for August weekend games at Wrigley Field than for April weeknights. Take a day off from work, bundle up and take advantage. You can find some real steals on tickets if you’re willing to brave a weeknight in April.

Keep in mind the opponent, too…a game against the cross-town rival White Sox or the divisional rival Cardinals will cost more than a game against the Diamondbacks or Padres.

 

cheap cubs tickets agencies

Not to be confused with lesser known Stub “Hub”.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #2) Check The Agency Websites. If you’re looking for Cubs tickets on StubHub or another third party site, try comparing prices for equivalent seats at sites for agencies like Gold Coast or Prime Time, or other agencies that set up shop near Wrigley.

You might find a better deal and/or smaller fees, and you should be able to pick up your tickets at the agency itself. There’s quite a few of them near Wrigley.

 

cheap cubs tickets flex pack

Not quite this cheap, but better than most deals.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #3) Try A Flex Pack. The Cubs sell multi-game packs during the holidays before individual game tickets go on sale; it’s a great way to land high-demand games at face price (which would probably be the cheapest price).

Go in with a friend and split up the games, or give away your extras…Cubs tickets make great gifts. You can probably find some way to pull this off. If you sign up for Cubs ticket alerts, they’ll let you know when the Flex Packs go on sale. Sign up for Cubs ticket alerts here.

 

cheap cubs tickets seatgeek

Click the image to find deals on Cubs tickets.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #4) Bonus Tip: Try SeatGeek! SeatGeek is my favorite third party outlet for Cubs tickets (or any other team’s tickets) and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate of mine. SeatGeek searches plenty of other third party sites and lists them all, and I frequently find better deals there than on StubHub.

Click here to search for Cubs tickets on SeatGeek and tell ‘em Kurt sent you.

There’s a few tips that should help you save a few bucks on Cubs tickets…

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Wrigley Field Bleachers: 3 Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

Like any classic ballpark, Wrigley Field bleachers remain the same…bench-style, no back to lean on outfield seating. A place to go and be in the sun on a beautiful summer day, drink beer and get loud, and surround oneself with lovable nuts that bleed Cubs blue. It’s where a Cubs victory is considered a bonus.

It’s not for “bleacher bums” anymore with current ticket prices…but the Cubs have also improved the food situation greatly and added some neat party areas for groups.

There are some things you should know, though. OK, maybe not rules, but guidelines.

 

wrigley field bleachers early arrival

This photo was taken several hours before the gates opened.

Wrigley Field Bleachers, Rule #1) The bleachers are general admission—which doesn’t mean that the place turns into a mosh pit (at least most of the time), but it does mean that you have to get there early to stake out a good seat. The favorite spot of most fans is the front rows in left field, where batting practice homers provide a plethora of souvenirs for early fans.

If you want one of those, you’d best get there sometime around four hours before the game, at least. (I am amazed at what people will do for a baseball. Consider that half of the balls people catch out there are going to be thrown back anyway.)

Looking for cheaper Cubs tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap cubs tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Cubs game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

wrigley field bleachers harry caray statue

Bleacher fans meet at the Harry Caray statue. Not actually inside it as shown here.

Wrigley Field Bleachers, Rule #2) The bleachers are also separated from the rest of the ballpark and have their own private entrance at the corner of Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. This is important. Other ticket holders cannot visit the bleachers, but bleacher ticket holders can access the rest of Wrigley through a walkway in the left field corner.

This means that if you want pictures of the whole ballpark, or if you want to wander around the concourse before the game, you’ll likely forfeit your chance at one of the better seats.

 

wrigley field bleachers throw back baseball

No entering objects on the playing field!

Wrigley Field Bleachers, Rule #3) You should know that you will be expected to throw back a home run ball hit by the opposing team, even though the Cubs supposedly don’t allow objects to be thrown onto the field.

A story is told about how a Reds player hit a home run that was thrown back hard enough to land near third-base coach Ray Knight, who picked it up and tossed it to a fan in a nearby section…who then threw it back onto the field. Knight laughed and tossed it into the dugout.

Some fans carry another ball with them and throw that back on the field to keep the souvenir. If you can live with that on your conscience, go for it.

 

Next time you pull up the Wrigley Field seating chart, check out the bleachers. You can take the tour and sit in the bleachers and that’s great, but the main attraction there isn’t the view, it’s the fans. Well, the fans and Hot Doug’s dogs.

That’s just a few helpful tips for enjoying the Wrigley Field Bleachers…

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Can You Bring Food Into Wrigley Field?

Posted by Kurt Smith

The short answer to the question for thrifty fans is yes, you can bring food into Wrigley Field from outside. The Cubs allow a 16*16*8 soft-sided bag (which is pretty big), so long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or projectiles. The Friendly Confines does have some great Chicago style grub (which I talk about here and here and in this truly informative Wrigley Field food post) but sometimes it’s good to save a few bucks too.

So what does this mean for you? In addition to bringing in peanuts and bottled water, which is easy to find anywhere outside, including at the Addison Red Line station, you have a few places near the ballpark to load up on Cubs game sustenance. This can help you choose an ideal parking spot, incidentally.

Here are three suggestions if McDonald’s, Taco Bell or Subway doesn’t light up your palate:

 

visiting wrigley field wrigleysville dogs

Is there an “unofficial” hot dog of the Cubs?

Bring Food Into Wrigley Field, Stop #1) Wrigleysville Dogs. Yes, that’s an “S” in the name. Probably some legal thing. Wrigleysville Dogs is a few steps north of the ballpark on Clark Street, and it’s a great place for super cheap grub – like that classic Chicago dog dragged through the garden.

You can park in their lot too, if you’re early enough, but that part isn’t cheap.

Looking for cheaper Cubs tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap cubs tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Cubs game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

bring food into wrigley field el burrito mexicano

Translation: “Mexican Burrito”. Took all night to come up with that name.

Bring Food Into Wrigley Field, Stop #2) El Burrito Mexicano. This tiny but authentic joint is right there at the foot of the Red Line station, and you can get yourself an easy-to-carry burrito to bring inside. (Burritos are an underrated ballpark food IMHO.)

Again, super cheap, but keep in mind that it’s cash only and very popular with fans. Get there early before it gets packed if you can.

 

bring food into wrigley field nuts on clark

The store is just a block away from the stand inside the ballpark.

Bring Food Into Wrigley Field, Stop #3) Nuts On Clark. There is actually a Nuts On Clark outpost inside Wrigley Field as of this writing, but you can order your gourmet popcorn right there at the store on Clark Street, and it’s cheaper than in the ballpark and has a wider selection.

It’s a very short walk from Wrigley, but it’s only open during the day, so use this one for day games.

There’s three outside choices in Wrigleyville for fans bringing in their own grub. But there’s a pretty impressive menu inside the ballpark that you’ll want to know about too…

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

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How To Avoid Obstructed Views At Wrigley Field

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

One could probably write an entire book about how to avoid obstructed views at Wrigley Field, as Tim Shea did with Fenway. Next to finding the ideal parking spot, it’s one of the ballpark’s biggest challenges. There is an excellent website dedicated to the subject called “WrigleyGuide”, run by the resourceful and intelligent Matt Motyka. If you have time to check the seats you’re looking for, it’s a great resource.

But just to get you started, here are some basics to keep a big support pole from blocking too much of your view of the field at the Friendly Confines. (Or just sit in the bleachers.)

 

avoid obstructed views at wrigley field overhang tv

It’s better since they added those newfangled “TV sets”.

In the lower Terrace Reserved sections, those big poles hold up the upper level; in the Upper Reserved sections they hold up the roof. In most Terrace sections in the lower level, the pole is in Row 6; it’s in Row 1 of the upper sections.

Support poles are almost always in Seat 1 or 101 of a section, except for 2-3 sections (211-218) on the third base side. In the Terrace, stay away from the seats ending with low numbers in rows 7-10 – although the opposite applies in Sections 211-218. If you get a seat in Rows 11-18, the pole won’t likely be too much of a problem, but in higher rows the overhang could block your view of the scoreboards.

Fortunately the Cubs have added TVs in the lower level to help see anything you miss as a result.

Looking for cheaper Cubs tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap cubs tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Cubs game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you! 

 

avoid obstructed views at wrigley field support pole

See 90% of the field for 100% of the price!

In upper reserved sections, again, just avoid seats that end in low numbers, unless you’re in the first couple of rows. If the Cubs don’t mark a Row 1 or Row 2 seat as “Limited View”, it’s probably a great seat.

In most upper reserved seats, you’ll probably have a pole blocking your view of something. If you can’t get something in the middle of a low row, try for the higher rows like 7-9 to minimize the blockage. (Row 9 is the top row.)

Again, you can always check with the nice folks at WrigleyGuide for more details, but these are some basic rules that should help you avoid obstructed views at Wrigley Field.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Best Way To Get To Wrigley Field – The CTA

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

You have a lot of transportation options for the Friendly Confines, and choosing the best way to get to Wrigley Field depends on both your budget and starting point (and mood, too).

But with all due respect to my friends at CubParking, using the Chicago Transit Authority is the easiest way to get to the Friendly Confines, especially for first-timers to the ballpark. Once you’re familiar with the area, you can try driving it…but for now do this.

For using the CTA, you have three popular choices:

 

best way to get to wrigley field red line

I think we’re here.

#1) The Red Line. Ah, the Red Line. It may be packed to standing room level with Cubs fans and occasionally smell of urine, but you can’t beat the convenience…elevated trains stop at the Addison station, just steps away from Wrigley. The Red Line runs all night; coming from downtown Chicago it works quite well, and from a suburb like Skokie you can transfer from the Yellow Line.

The Sheridan and Belmont stations are also close enough to walk to Wrigley if you’d like to get off a stop early or better your chances of finding a seat on the train after the game.

Looking for cheaper Cubs tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap cubs tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Cubs game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you! 

 

best way to get to wrigley field brown line

Belmont – the hidden station for smart Wrigley goers.

#2) The Brown Line. If you don’t mind a short walk (Google Maps clocks it at 15 minutes), the Brown Line is a quieter, less crowded alternative to the Red. The Southport and Belmont stations are less than a mile walk from Wrigley, you’ll probably have a seat and a smoother ride, and you can pass by some decent takeout places along the walk, like D’Agostino’s. The Brown doesn’t run all night though, so check the schedule.

 

best way to get to Wrigley field blue line

Not the same Addison station where Wrigley is. Don’t walk it from here.

#3) The Blue Line/#152 Bus. Coming from O’Hare and the Des Plaines area, you can use the Blue Line to Addison Station (different from the Red Line Addison Station), and then use the #152 Wrigley Express bus to get to the ballpark.

Easy peezy, although I do suggest using the Irving Park Station and the #80 bus for a faster ride. That one involves some walking on Clark Street, however.

The Blue Line option is great for visitors staying near the airport to save on hotel parking, as I often do.

There you go, three simple public transit choices, still the best way to get to Wrigley Field for most people. But there are some cheaper and easier options too, and CubParking is a great choice for booking your parking if you decide to drive.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Wrigley Field Hot Dogs And Sausages

Posted by Kurt Smith

Did you know that there are at least five varieties of hot dogs and sausages at Wrigley Field? I don’t mean just different toppings…I mean five very different Wrigley Field hot dogs and sausages stands, and that’s not counting the Sheffield Counter or the basic generic dog.

And they’re all great in their own way. Here’s what you should know…read this whole thing, truly. And if you want to know about deep dish pizza and Italian beef at Wrigley, check out this post…great photos!

 

wrigley field hot dogs chicago dogs

I was too hungry to provide an “after” picture with the necessary condiments included.

1) Chicago Dogs. The nicely-sized Chicago dogs are Vienna Beef (yes, they’re all-beef) dogs on poppy seed buns, with grilled onions if you so desire. There are condiment stands with all the toppings to make it a true Chicago dog…chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut and neon green relish. I believe they have the celery salt too. Great for seeing what this Chicago hot dog stuff is about.

Looking for cheaper Cubs tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap cubs tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Cubs game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you! 

 

wrigley field hot dogs high plains bison

OK, so maybe it needs some work with pepper distribution.

2) High Plains Bison Dogs. High Plains is the Official Lean Meat of the Chicago Cubs; they have dogs, sausages and brats here made from leaner bison meat. Tastes just like a beef dog but leaner, and you can pile on peppers, onions and marinara.

 

wrigley field hot dogs wrigley field smokies

Made with Vienna Beef? Whew!

3) Wrigley Field Smokies. The Cubs brought back the popular Vienna Beef smoked sausages from the Tribune days (and without the 100-loss seasons!); they are hickory-smoked beef sausages with a secret blend of seasonings. The Smokies cost a bit more than regular dogs but are larger, and you can order them in Wrigleyville supermarkets.

 

wrigley field hot dogs gilberts

No, it doesn’t come with the onion. At least as far as I know.

4) Gilbert’s Craft Sausages. Gilbert’s is the Official Sausage of the Cubs; they’re craft sausages that are gluten-free and contain no MSG or nitrites. There are several types of sausage sandwiches here, like the Caprese chicken sausage with diced tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, or the Beef and Cheddar with mac and cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and BBQ sauce.

If you want to learn more about this one, you can read the review from my buddy Danny Rockett at Bleed Cubbie Blue. He’s got a high standard for ballpark food, so you know his raves count for something.

 

wrigley field hot dogs hot doug's

With a logo like this, you know it’s a great dog.

5) Last but definitely not least: Hot Doug’s. The enormously popular Hot Doug’s cart closed up shop, but Doug Sohn’s amazing red hots are now available in the Wrigley Field bleachers; lines get long and for good reason. Dogs are named for Cubs greats; the the “Barry Foote” is a corned beef sausage with Russian dressing, shredded Swiss and sauerkraut; and the “Champ Summers” is a spicy Polish sausage with Goose Island beer mustard and crispy fried onions. Hot Doug’s rotates different dogs for each homestand, and there’s always something unusual.

 

There’s your five choices of Wrigley Field hot dogs and sausages; not surprising considering that Chicago worships the hot dog. But there’s much more for you to much on at Wrigley, like Giordano’s pizza and Joe Maddon hoagies…not to mention the offerings at the Sheffield Counter and Platform 14.

Gilbert’s photo courtesy of Gilbert’s. Hot Doug’s logo courtesy of Hot Doug’s.

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(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

Visiting Wrigley Field – 5 Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting Wrigley Field for the first time, or even the third or fourth time, here are some fan tips for a game at the Friendly Confines. Wrigley is one of the most storied ballparks in baseball, but there are things every fan should know when they go. (Like what to get from the amazing food menu.)

 

visiting wrigley field welcome

Say, that new video board is really fan-friendly. What’s that grandstand behind it for?

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #1: Plan ahead for tickets. Especially nowadays, with the ownership of the Cubs fielding a champion. Wrigley can be a tough ticket in the worst of times; with a competitive team you probably want to avoid the third party markup.

If you weren’t able to get online when tickets first went on sale, your best bet for a manageable deal on tickets is to check SeatGeek (but know that you can’t print Cubs tickets at home any more, so get them well enough in advance). If you see something you can live with, grab it. But check the team website first. Just in case.

Looking for cheaper Cubs tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap cubs tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Cubs game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

visiting wrigley field upper level

If it’s good enough for the press, it’s good enough for you.

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #2: The upper deck view is great here. Yes, you have to contend with obstructed views, and there are websites that will help you with that. But the upper deck is much closer to the field at Wrigley than at most ballparks, especially the new ones with multiple levels of suites. At Wrigley you’re almost on top of the action in the Upper Box, and even Upper Reserved isn’t too bad so long as a pole isn’t in the way.

The bleachers are special in their own way, but for a first time visitor, it’s much easier to enjoy the Wrigley experience from the main seating bowl. Just make sure you get food before you head upstairs.

 

visiting wrigley field parking

“Hey, it was only $20 the last time I passed this sign!”

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #3: If you must drive, plan parking in advance. Most Cubs fans use the CTA Red Line (or the Blue Line and #152 bus) to get to the ballpark, but driving is still doable if you plan it ahead. Try my friends at ParkWhiz or the ultra-cool guys at CubParking, but don’t just get off the Interstate at Addison Street and expect to find something affordable close to the ballpark. You’ll eventually get so frustrated you’ll pay way too much for parking.

 

wrigley field food smokies

Made with Vienna Beef? Whew!

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #4: Try a Hot Doug’s dog or Wrigley Field Smokie. Hot Doug’s is a popular joint in Wrigley, selling dogs with unusual toppings named for Cubs greats. But Hot Doug’s is only available in the bleachers, so if you’re in the main concourse, seek out the Wrigley Field Smokies stand. It’s where they sell the classic smoked sausages that were a longtime staple of Wrigley Field back in the day.

Giordano’s pizza is great too, but you can (and should) try that in numerous locations in the city.

 

visiting wrigley field wrigleysville dogs

Betcha didn’t know there was more than one Wrigley!

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #5: Make a day of Wrigleyville. The whole area from blocks around embraces Wrigley Field on game day. There are great taverns like the all-time classic Murphy’s; the Cubby Bear across the street where the Foo Fighters once played; Slugger’s with dueling pianos; and a whole host of watering holes where people celebrate a Cubs victory and wait for the Red Line train crowds to thin out.

There you go; five tips for your first time visiting Wrigley Field, or your second or third if no one’s shared these with you yet. There’s a whole lot of ways to save money on what can be an expensive outing, but this should get you started.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

The Free (Or Very Cheap) Bus To Wrigley

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

Most fans know the basics of how to get to Wrigley Field…use the Red Line El, get off at Addison, etc. Which works just fine. With Wrigley not close to any interstates, and in the heart of a neighborhood, driving and parking can be difficult…and rough on your wallet.

So as a public service to baseball fans visiting the Friendly Confines, I’ve included two great ways to get to Wrigley on the cheap…one very inexpensive, the other free…

 

wrigley field parking express bus

They use the lot for school or something during the day.

Get To Wrigley Field, Tightwad Route #1: The Cubs’ Own Free Shuttle. The free shuttle for night and weekend games to the ballpark used to run from DeVry University and cost $6 a carload; even that was a great deal. But now the bus runs from the lot at 3900 Rockwell Street, and it costs you only the gas to get there. It’s why I included this in my complete guide to parking at the Friendly Confines.

 

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As the Cubs state, the lot is just east of the Chicago River, so if you’re coming from the west on Irving Park Road and you cross a slight bridge to go over a river you know you’ve gone too far. The lot is large enough to hold enough cars on most nights, and last I checked there are even some port-a-pots. Best of all, the bus will be full of happy Cubs fans on their way to their second home.

The Cubs say that tailgating is permitted in all lots, which I presume would include this one. Just be sure to hit that port-a-pot and reset the clock before you get on the bus!

 

how to get to wrigley field express bus

“Excuse me, does this bus go to Wrigley Field?”

Get To Wrigley Field, Tightwad Route #2: The Pace Wrigley Field Express. I haven’t yet used Pace to get to Wrigley Field, but I have tried the U.S. Cellular Field Express (which I guess now would be the Guaranteed Rate Field Express) to get to a White Sox game, and I loved it for several reasons.

Pace is an inexpensive suburban bus service, and they run separate routes to both ballparks in Chicago. For Wrigley, riders can grab a bus in Schaumburg or Lombard to the ballpark for just $4 each way, and parking at either pickup point is free.

The bus saves you the considerable hassle of navigating Chicago streets to the ballpark or even to a CTA station, it costs less than you’d probably spend in gas getting there, and like the bus from the remote lot, it’s full of happy Cubs fans. I had great baseball conversations with the people on the U.S. Cellular Express; if you like talking baseball with strangers the Pace Express buses are for you. And free parking!

Of course, there are many more ways to get to the Friendly Confines…like the venerable Red Line, the Skokie Swift, Metra Rail and driving and parking for you brave souls…

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Wrigley Field Prepaid Parking – CubParking

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

Wrigley Field prepaid parking is a necessity for anyone willing to try driving to Wrigley Field. But as the guys at CubParking can tell you, you can do okay so long as you book beforehand.

Recently Nick Napoli of CubParking contacted me and educated me about ways people park their cars at Wrigley Field…and why they should order parking in advance. I was impressed enough with the Cub Parking service to interview him, and he graciously agreed to answer my questions.

Here is the exchange below…thanks Nick! And Click here to check out CubParking and land a fine Wrigley Field prepaid parking spot for your next Cubs game…

Wrigley Field Prepaid Parking Cub Parking

Awww…isn’t he a cute little fella? Yes, let’s park here.

I recommend to my readers not to drive to Wrigley, since parking is expensive and scarce by comparison to other ballparks. You offer a solution to that. How did you get started doing it, and what was the response early on? I know you guys are all Cubs fans, did you finally get fed up with parking hassles at Wrigley?

Well for starters that’s good advice. It’s always best to take the CTA to a Cubs game. The Red Line drops you off a block from Wrigley Field, it’s perfect. And you’re right, official Wrigley Field parking is scarce.

For people who choose to drive in, the locals here have been offering up their private parking spots since long before I was born. It’s tradition here, we have neighbors in their 70s out there parking and they’ve been doing it 50 years. They’ll tell you some stories man.

I started parking cars with my friends and neighbors when I was very young, maybe 8 or 9 years old. The neighbors would occasionally let me sell their spots too, it was a whole show. My kid brother who struggles with autism would set up a cooler of cold drinks and make tips. He didn’t mess around, Kurt. We don’t mess around at CubParking (laughs).

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wrigley field prepaid parking sign

We should try to get a little closer.

You are, I’m sure, more familiar with the driving and parking experience at Wrigley than I am. Can you contrast the difference between booking your spot beforehand and searching when you arrive? I expect the difference is massive!

Yes, customers who book Wrigley Field parking in advance don’t even realize the difference until after they arrive in the neighborhood and experience the pandemonium for themselves. Online reservations aren’t scrambling to buy a spot off a stranger, they have an address, a place to go and a reservation.

And over the years we’ve seen everything, or so we think. Those who wing it are often left frustrated. They end up buying a street spot off some weirdo, which is illegal. Or they park with a random bad guy who parks you in a random spot and then people get towed. Or people return to their car to find it’s blocked in. Just so many variables and things that can go wrong and ruin your game day experience. And unfortunately it happens every game.

When customers book with us, there is literally none of that. We’re the good guys. We meet customers at their parking spot when they arrive, get them checked in and on their way. We live in the neighborhood too, so we’re around after the game too in case they need us. So you’re right again Kurt, the difference is massive.

 

I notice you offer “all night” parking…a very nice option in Wrigleyville. Is this mostly because you want to offer people a way to party without having to drive? Where do people spend the night?

Glad you asked! We started offering it because people would ask for it. Customers often want to come grab their car in the morning, we have spots for that. As people arrive for the game, we can usually tell who is staying out late and who is leaving in the 7th inning, but now we offer overnight and extend time parking to everyone just in case.

And I’m not sure where people sleep but we have had folks ask to sleep in their cars. If it has to come to that, we don’t mind. I think we all agree it’s better than driving drunk. So hey, sleep one off in our garage if you have to. We all appreciate it.

 

How does Cub Parking turn a profit?

We split all money with residents 50/50. Everyone’s happy, it really works great.

wrigley field prepaid parking express bus

No, you can’t leave your car there for the weekend.

Would you say that Cub Parking is the most affordable option for fans? The Cubs offer free parking with a shuttle from near DeVry University. Does CubParking have better options than that?

Yes, we’re not only the most affordable option but we’re the best value too. That shuttle you mentioned isn’t a bad deal though. And you can’t compete with “free parking” either.

However, people who drive in often come in traffic from a long ways away. So the idea of finally getting out of the car and then waiting to pile on a crowded bus is not attractive. People want to get out of the car and just be there. Not to mention after the game you have to line up to shuttle all the way back.

For $20 or so you can park a block or two away from the park, leave early or stay late until traffic dies down. It’s money well spent, considering how expensive everything else is on game day. CubParking is the best money you will spend all day.

 

Do you have your favorite spots, say, for easy exit or for location close to hot spots in Wrigleyville? And if so, why?

Well, all of our spots are EZ Out, customers keep their keys and are free to leave whenever they want because they’re never blocked in. We have spots just steps from Wrigley Field and others that are up to 2 blocks away. There’s often a premium for the really close spots. But we also keep a few open for our regulars and seniors.

 

Are there plans for expansion, say for parking for other big city ballparks like Detroit?

Not really, no. We love the Cubs, and parking for Wrigley Field. It’s something we want to expand locally here in Wrigleyville. We’d like the whole neighborhood to use us. We put cash in our neighbor’s pockets, park responsibly, and even have spots for neighbors coming home that can’t find parking on game day.

We look out for our people. This is our neighborhood and we look forward to growing with it in the coming years.

(CubParking logo courtesy of CubParking.)

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Wrigley Field Food Items – 3 Other Things To Try

Posted by Kurt Smith

Since Chicago is a hot dog city, I’ve listed a few choices for excellent choices of hot dogs and sausages available at the Cubs ballpark. But Chicago isn’t a one-trick culinary pony, and you have plenty of other great choices for Wrigley Field food items.

Here are three of my favorites: (but if you truly want the full list, check out this post!)

 

wrigley field food giordanos pizza

True, I don’t want to watch someone else eat this.

Wrigley Field Food, Tip #1) Giordano’s Pizza. I’m a huge fan of Giordano’s, and you haven’t enjoyed a taste of Chicago until you’ve tried a deep dish pizza. At Wrigley, you can find a nice sized personal pizza at the Blue W and other generic stands (it’s easy enough to find).

You can order a 6-inch stuffed pizza, and it’s filling and reasonable for ballpark prices. I would get a fork for it. They have a thin crust variation at some stands, if you’re keeping some space for that footlong Decade Dog.

Giordano’s even has chefs on the premises. They don’t mess around with their good name.

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wrigley field food pig candy blt

It’s like they set up a whole stage for this thing, isn’t it?

Wrigley Field Food, Tip #2) The Pig Candy BLT.  Pork & Mindy’s is a Bucktown-area joint known for its creative barbecue sandwiches…not just for slow-smoked meat but for some truly inventive toppings.

In 2017 the Cubs added a few of the more popular Pork & Mindy’s sandwiches to the menu in the Bleachers; the aforementioned Pig Candy BLT features brown sugar bacon, lettuce, tomato, dry rub mayo and balsamic caramelized onions. (You had me at brown sugar bacon.) Did I mention the griddle brioche bun? Folks, this is why we love baseball.

As far as I know, the Pig Candy BLT is only available in the bleachers; correct me if I’m wrong on that.

 

wrigley field food north side twist

“Yes, you can have half. But the cheese is mine!”

Wrigley Field Food, Tip #3) The North Side Twist. The North Side Twist is a HUGE soft pretzel…large enough to go into a 12” pizza box. If you’re thinking you could handle this thing on your own, know that it’s two pounds, not including the dipping sauces, and it’s easily enough for two.

Ah…the dipping sauces. The cornerstone of a good soft pretzel. The sauces included with the North Side Twist are chipotle honey mustard, beer cheddar cheese, and cinnamon cream. You can use two thirds of it with the other sauces before going for the cinnamon cream for dessert.

The North Side Twist shouldn’t be too tough to find. They often have it on display in its full glory at Blue W or other stands. I believe you can get it in the Bleachers as well.

 

wrigley field food als italian beef

You don’t need to know how to spell “giardiniera”. Just how to pronounce it.

Wrigley Field Food, Bonus Tip!) Al’s Italian Beef (on Clark Street). There’s nothing wrong with the Buona beef edition of Wrigley Field’s Italian beef (Chicagoans tell me not to include the word “sandwich”), but before you try it, you should go for the true staple of Italian beef in Chicago…Al’s on Clark Street in Wrigleyville, just a few blocks south of the ballpark.

The sandwich…sorry, Italian beef…here is a sandwich of thinly sliced beef with hot peppers and/or spicy giardiniera, and you can get it with any amount of au jus gravy, including having the whole sandwich dipped in it. It’s also probably a little cheaper than what you’d pay for such a delight at the ballpark.

 

There’s three (+1!) non-hot dog items well worth trying at the Friendly Confines; but there are all kinds of worthwhile places at stands at Wrigley to get your grub on…

Al’s photo courtesy of Al’s Italian Beef. Pig Candy BLT photo courtesy of Pork & Mindy’s.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

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A Century of Lovable Futility: Wrigley Field at 100

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

(Note #2: This post was written before the glorious Cubs triumph of 2016. Eamus Catuli!)

With the Friendly confines of Wrigley Field at 100 years old, a fair number of Cubs fan pundits, George Will recently included, assert a connection between the Friendly Confines and a frequently hapless team. With Wrigley Field nearly always full regardless of the team’s fortunes or even the weather, there is little incentive for management to put a competitive team on the field.

If that is true…and the argument could certainly be made…then it’s a testament not to an often mismanaged ballclub but to the sublime beauty of a classic ballpark. There aren’t many cities where fans will still fill a ballpark after even a few consecutive last place finishes.

And maybe the theory could be turned around. Maybe Wrigley is at least partially popular because the Cubs are so bad so often.

 

Waiting For The Cubs

Happy 2016 Cubs Fans.

If you ask me the three most noteworthy happenings at Wrigley, I would come back with: Babe Ruth’s “called shot” (it didn’t really happen, but it’s memorable), the ejection of the Billy Goat, and the Steve Bartman incident. In all three cases the misfortune went against the home team.

Then there’s my own most memorable game there…in June of 2003. Mark Prior pitched a masterpiece for eight innings, striking out 16 Brewers, including whiffing the side in the seventh and eighth.

Manager Dusty Baker…who would later that season be blasted by the Chicago media for leaving a rattled Prior in the Bartman game…pulled his young star for the ninth and brought in closer Tom Borowski, who gave up a walk, a single, and a three run homer to the first three batters he faced. The demoralized Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the bottom and lost 5-3.

So yes, I’ve witnessed some Cubs heartbreak myself. Add a championship drought that is now at 108 years and counting, and there probably is a bit of a romance in the Wrigleyville futility.

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Wrigley Field at 100 go cubs

Go Cubs written in mustard? Why didn’t I think of that?

This is not lost on the Cubs, of course. In the midst of planning for the modernization of this ancient ballpark, the team management…surely well aware that this team could be headed for another 100-loss season…have made 2014 the year of Celebrating Wrigley Field.

Part of the celebration is discounted pricing for tickets – the Cubs are actually offering tickets at the low (for Wrigley) price of $19.14 (for the year Wrigley opened); the seats are in the upper outfield corner and there are still lots of tickets available. My buddy Floyd Sullivan, author of “Waiting for the Cubs”, tells me he could even get Opening Day tickets.

 

wrigley field at 100 murphys

Don’t forget that back then $10,000 a year was considered rich.

The Cubs also added some specialized food items for each decade of Wrigley’s existence; out on the concourses they’re peddling a Reuben Dog for the 1910s, a TV Dinner Dog for the 1950s, and a Bagel Dog for the 1990s.

In the suites patrons can order 1960s Wedge Salad or 1980s Cajun Wings, and there are ten unusual drinks to go with them…like the 1920s Gin Whiskey and the 1930s Called Shot. Yes, the Cubs celebrate a Yankee home run.

And there’s the Wrigley Field replica cake, put together by “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro…a beautiful piece of work that was later found dumped in the trash, hardly eaten.

That is so…Cubs.

All this, of course, directs attention away from that heartbreaking statistic…that the Cubs have never won a World Series at Wrigley Field, their last Series win coming in 1908 at West Side Park. Obviously, no one remembers—and few fans today could even conceive—what a powerhouse the Cubs really were back then.

 

wrigley field at 100 harry caray

Is that Will Ferrell?

But the atmosphere of an entire block of fans sitting in the stands, bleachers, taverns, and on nearby rooftops celebrating a ballgame, and Chicago dogs with onions, relish, pickle spears and sport peppers can keep people coming back to see a nearly perennially inept team.

These people are baseball fans, through and through.

For a century now, visitors to Wrigley Field have had no problem understanding it.

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Book Review: Waiting For The Cubs

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support.)

(Note #2: this review and this book were written before the glorious Cubs triumph of 2016. Eamus Catuli!)

Sometimes I think that if the Cubs won the World Series, it would be a gigantic letdown.

When the Red Sox finally broke their 86-year jinx in 2004, it was made much sweeter by the way it happened…an unprecedented comeback from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the hated Yankees in the ALCS. That would have been memorable even without a curse, but it lived up to how sweet a long-awaited World Series victory could truly be for Red Sox fans.

What could the Cubs do to match that, especially given that their futility has reached (and now passed) a full century? The White Sox went longer than the Red Sox did without a championship—a full 88 years—but the baseball world outside of Chicago almost yawned when they breezed past the Astros in the 2005 World Series.

No Longer Waiting.

There hardly seems any way an end to the Cubs drought could match the buildup. Floyd Sullivan, author of “Waiting For The Cubs: The 2008 Season, the Hundred-Year Slump and One Fan’s Lifelong Vigil”, doesn’t seem overly worried about the possibility.

Most people appreciate that it’s tough being—or more correctly staying—a Cubs fan. But until one reads Sullivan’s account of the 2008 season, one doesn’t really feel the effect of a lifetime of devotion without a payoff and with no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

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Cubs win blue w

A blue W. For “Victory”.

Throughout the book, despite that the Cubs have one of their best seasons in years, Sullivan—and his equally devoted Cubs fan family—are always expecting the other shoe to drop, always waiting for the imminent disaster to befall their heroes.

One could hardly blame them, especially after the 2003 NLCS, when Steve Bartman’s unfortunate blunder sparked a legendary collapse. Despite that a writer of Sullivan’s skill could have easily put a few gratuitously heart-wrenching pages in his book about the incident, he almost skims over the subject, informing the reader that “if you’re interested in reliving it, Google Steve Bartman.”

Sullivan writes from a personal angle, but the book never feels like someone telling his own story. Instead he shares the pain and occasional euphoria of being a Cubs fan, something his family and friends, and certainly any fan, can relate to. At one point he humorously shares the possible double meaning of what his children get written on their Wrigley brick dedication, which reads simply, “Thanks, Dad”.

His family has moved from Chicago to York, Pennsylvania; and while this precludes frequent trips to the Friendly Confines each year, it does enable him and his family to see the visiting club in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which they do frequently, with a trip to Washington thrown in. His description of Nationals Park, which opened in 2008, is spot-on accurate.

His tales of trips to Pittsburgh are hilariously fraught with the dangers of the western PA Turnpike (with which I can definitely identify), but also a couple of weather miscalculations…one trip ends with a game postponed in what he believed was hardly a downpour, as a result he cancelled a later trip on his own due to torrential rain and missed a full nine innings of Cubs baseball at PNC Park.

Waiting For The Cubs

It did.

The book mainly focuses on the story of the Cubs’ 2008 season, with some side tales of Cubs fan agony. It’s the centennial of the team’s last World Series championship (yes, that was in 1908), but it’s also a season where fans believe the team has the best chance to break the curse that befalls them, with pitchers like Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol, and position players like Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome.

Despite that the Cubs won 97 games and the NL Central Division in 2008, though, Sullivan never seems to believe that the Cubs will achieve the ultimate glory—indeed he almost predicts an easy victory for the Dodgers, the Cubs NLDS opponent. It bears out, with the Dodgers whitewashing the Cubs 3-0 in the series. Another Cubs season, as he puts it, ending with a loss.

But it’s not all bad…the family actually meets Ryan Dempster over the winter.

“Waiting For The Cubs” concludes with the story behind the Fred Merkle boner that cost the Giants the 1908 pennant…seemingly the last time that the baseball gods smiled on the Chicago Cubs…and Sullivan does a better job than most at clearing up what really happened that day at the Polo Grounds.

Many books have been written about the Chicago Cubs and their futility, but few of them capture the mind of the Cubs fan. Sullivan does it perfectly, making the story both personal and universal. No Cubs fan reading this book would disagree.

Nor, in fact, would any baseball fan. Highly recommended, whether you’re a fan of the Cubs, White Sox or Cardinals.

Cubs Win

You can still hear Harry saying it.

Click here for Floyd Sullivan’s “Waiting For The Cubs” blog.

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