Wrigley Field – Ballpark Review

Check out my other reviews by clicking the links in the list below. List is my personal ranking of favorite to least.

  1. PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates
  2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore Orioles
  3. Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox
  4. Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs
  5. Comerica Park – Detroit Tigers
  6. Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
  7. Citi Field – New York Mets
  8. Miller Park – Milwaukee Brewers
  9. Nationals Park – Washington Nationals
  10. Progressive Field – Cleveland Indians
  11. Marlins Park – Miami Marlins

All photos were taken by me.

Wrigley FieldChicago, IL

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The 10th ballpark I have visited is The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. It opened in 1914, the Cubs began playing there in 1916, and it currently seats 41,268.

Wrigley Field is located in the North Side of Chicago in a neighborhood called Lakeview. In Lakeview, there is a district called Wrigleyville where you can find Wrigley Field. As I drove towards the park on Addison (Wrigley is on the corner of Clark and Addison) I thought it was awesome that we were 0.3 miles from the park and you couldn’t see it yet. This place is so tucked into the neighborhood that you have to be a half block away to finally see it.

The park appears and you see the famous Wrigley Field marquee. The marquee was added in 1934 and has since been painted red from its original color, green.

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The back of the marquee is still green and reads the same as the front. It was also blue for a little while in the 1960s. It’s iconic and grabs your attention when you come into view of the park.

Wrigleyville adds to the overall Wrigley Field experience. The streets have tons of bars just outside the stadium and they are filled before and after every game. The Cubby Bear is right across from the home plate entrance and down the road from that is a bar called Sluggers. I checked both out for a few and both were filled to capacity and a great time.

Right across the street from the park is just normal residential houses. I was walking on Waveland, the street behind the left field bleachers where fans line up during batting practice waiting for a home run ball to leave the park, and I thought it was crazy how close these normal houses were to the park.

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Outside the park you can find statues of a couple Cub legends. Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks aka Mr. Cub, and legendary broadcaster Harry Caray are all immortalized outside the park.

Do not drive to this park if you don’t have to. The roads are all residential streets with cars parked on the sides leaving one lane in each direction to travel on. You will see almost everyone who has a parking space selling that parking space. Prices around the park are usually $40+. There are multiple bus options and a train station on Chicago’s Red Line (the trains are called the ‘L’) that can drop you off right by the park. Much cheaper. Uber/Lyft are good ideas to avoid the parking.

Wrigley Field began the 1060 project after the 2014 season. The project will provide major renovations that Wrigley desperately needs. It should be completed in a few years and started with the expansion of the outfield bleachers area and added two video boards to left and right field. The renovations should update the park while keeping the classic look. There was lots of construction going on outside the park while I was there. All together the renovations will cost over $500 million.

Wrigley Field is 1 of 4 ballparks that has the bullpens on the field in foul territory. The renovations are said to make a space somehow under the bleachers to move them off the field.

The concourse is very tight and has support poles throughout them. They get crowded very quick, and post game can be a nightmare. They aren’t much though. If you cross the street to go to the home plate entrance, the security scan is 15 feet from the corner of the street. You step through security, scan your ticket, and 15 more feet later you’re in the main concourse. You can’t see the field from the concourse and have to go through a tunnel to get to the seats.

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There is no concourse in the upper deck and the press box looks like it could fall onto the people below any second.

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There are ramps located behind the 200 section that wind above the seats below to take you to the upper deck. You can find one or two food/beer stands tucked off to the side from these ramps. The stairs from these ramps down to the luxury boxes look sketchy.

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The scoreboard pictured above is there because the view of the main scoreboards is obstructed from this location. The picture below was taken of the field from the same location.

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In the upper deck there was a cool part of the park called the Jack Daniels Bar. It’s a platform that is above the Wrigley Field marquee and has a cool view of downtown Chicago with food and beer/liquor options. This is one of the only areas where fans can hang together to have a drink or some food. You can’t see the field from there though.

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The seats in the lower deck were recently replaced and made better. They were pretty wide and I didn’t feel crammed the way I did at Fenway. The seats in the upper deck though were borderline scary. They’re rusty and look like they might fall apart. The steps to get to those seats in the upper deck are sketchy as hell. My foot was bigger than some of the steps and some of them had concrete chunks missing from them and I had to go down them sideways just to keep my footing.

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I couldn’t get to the bleachers section of the park to look around. You need a separate ticket to get in there. Fans for the bleachers enter from the center field gate and are only allowed to stay in the outfield. They can’t get into the main concourse of the park, and vise versa for those who are in the main part of the park. That is the place to be though if you want to have fun, drink beer and heckle the other team. The seats are general admission and are first come, first serve. Fans line up 4-5 hours before the game to get a good spot.

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Entrance to the bleachers behind the center field scoreboard.

Beyond the outfield walls on the other side of Waveland and Sheffield Streets there are residential houses with seats on top of the roof. The seats are sold for a view of the game from outside the stadium. The new scoreboards messed up a lot of these seats, but they still sell.

Wrigley isn’t known for its food the way other parks are. They have your standard hotdog, nachos, popcorn, pizza and thats about it. The food menus look like something you would see at the old bowling alley that no one goes to anymore. A popular food is the Chicago Dog. It has the hot dog, yellow mustard, neon green Chicago relish, onions, a pickle, sports peppers, sliced tomatoes, and celery salt. It looks absolutely awful thanks to that neon green relish. You try it though. I was alright passing on it.

By the way, don’t put ketchup on your hot dog at Wrigley Field. People will laugh at you and look at you like you murdered a kitten.

As for beer, you can find plenty of Bud and Bud Light vendors, and a massive Budweiser advertisement above the new right field video board (all thanks to a big Anheuser-Busch deal). Aside from that, Wrigley has been known for serving a beer called Old Style since 1950. This is a classic at Wrigley and is called Chicago’s Beer. You have to go to a beer stand in the concourse to get it. It’s nothing to get worked up over, but I thought it was great.

If you’re looking for something else a little better like an IPA, they have Goose Island beers which are brewed in Chicago. I saw 312 Urban Wheat and IPA from vendors.

Wrigley has a hand operated scoreboard in center field. The scoreboard has been there since 1937, the same year the bleachers were built in the outfield. The board features inning by inning scores for up to 12 games throughout baseball that day. The scores are all changed out by hand by operators inside the scoreboard. The construction of the two new video boards in left and right field have taken away from the center field scoreboard. They’re brighter and overpower the old score system. The old board doesn’t give score totals either. People complain about doing the math. Mild inconveniences are killing me.

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When people think of Wrigley Field, the first thing that comes to mind about the park is the ivy covered outfield walls. It’s beautiful. It was also installed in 1937. This was a “damn” moment from when I first walked into the park and saw the field. The ivy grows in every spring over a brick outfield wall. Players still go up into the ivy to make a catch risking injury against the wall. It’s iconic and should never change.

Wrigley used to play nothing but day games. This place didn’t have lights until 1988. They tried to put lights up in the 1940’s but wound up donating them to the war effort after Pearl Harbor. Day games at Wrigley still occur more than at other parks.

Another thing that makes Wrigley unique is the wind that effects play so often. Being close to Lake Michigan, Wrigley Field experiences all kinds of weather from the lake and often very strong winds. It’s a park that plays neutral to hitters and pitchers. Even though the walls down the lines are deeper than any other park in baseball, the wind can carry a routine fly for a home run, or hold a home run ball to a warning track fly.

I think my favorite thing about Wrigley Field was that you show up for baseball and that is exactly what you get. There is nothing else. No side shows during the game, no distractions from the game, no mascot, no ferris wheel or anything like that. All the extras are outside from the park. It’s an unbeatable baseball atmosphere. Nothing but organ music fills the park before the game just like the old days.

The Cubs fans are loyal and have known nothing but losing for 100+ years and still grind it out yearly. It’s easy to be a Cubs fan this year with their success and high favoritism to win the World Series. I was warned that the Cubs faithful would be a brutal bunch and to not wear anything Pittsburgh, but I did anyways. No one said anything rude to me. All the ushers stopped me to ask if it was my first time there and to help me out if needed. They say the true heckling from fans comes in the bleachers.

A lot of fans were there for their first time. Wrigley Field is always going to have tourists visiting due to it’s history and landmark status and the place always welcomes newcomers. However, if you’re a Cardinals or White Sox fan, be ready to get some crap all around the park.

Tickets are expensive as hell for this place. Even before they became the best team in baseball it was tough to get tickets and they still sold out almost every game. Most of that being to the fact that it just Wrigley Field, similar to Fenway. Prices can exceed triple digits easily and climb from there. It was a one time thing for me on my trip, so I made sure to grab a great seat by the Pirates dugout. A great section of the park would be the 400 section. Cheaper than the lower level, no obstructed pole views, and you get great overall views of the whole field.

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Much like Fenway Park, the history this park holds makes being there that much more awesome. Wrigley is the second oldest park behind Fenway, and it has seen it all. This is where Babe Ruth called his shot in the 1932 World Series. Henry Rowengartner became the first 12 year old to fictionally pitch for the Cubs. Kerry Wood struck out 20 batters in 1998. It’s where Steve Bartman took a foul ball away from Moises Alou which prevented the Cubs from winning the pennant in 2003. And it’s where the Cubs have never won a World Series.

There were a few things I didn’t like about the park. There were parts of the park that felt like it was falling apart. I think the renovations should fix a lot of that, so another trip once complete will fully answer that question. The bathrooms were pretty gross. They’re really old and didn’t smell too pleasant. The lack of food locations in the upper deck lead to crowded areas and long lines where there is food. Congestion is already an issue here, so people standing still in line doesn’t help the cause. All of this adds to the charm that is Wrigley Field, so it’s tough to hate on that stuff.

I don’t like the new video boards at all. They’re nice, I just wish I got to visit this park before they were added to get the true feel of Wrigley.

This place is a must visit for any baseball fan.

Overall, 8.5/10.

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