I can only go back to when I signed with the Chicago Cubs to give you an idea of how I feel about this ballpark. I'd been watching it on TV in Seattle, where I was born and raised, and there was always something about Wrigley Field that intrigued me.
When I got here, two years after my senior year, I'm walking out of the corner clubhouse with Ernie Banks and there's nobody in the stands, and the feeling I had was unbelievable -- walking with Ernie and walking on that grass. I felt like I was walking on air. There was an electricity and an atmosphere that I'd never experienced in my life. Any ballplayer that's ever played here can tell you about that great atmosphere, and anybody who's come here to watch a game feels the exact same way.This, to me, is a ballpark that helps the fans relate to the players because of its intimacy. They're right on top of you, and that's special. You look at a ballpark like Wrigley that holds 41,000, and it's packed every game, despite not having a team that's gone to a World Series in most of their lifetimes. People just love to come here, and it's a park you just love watching baseball in.
To me, it's the No. 1 park, and I think if you went and asked all the players who played here back in my day, they'd say the same thing. It's a hitters' ballpark, and everybody gets that feeling that anything can happen today. Everywhere you go, you see it. Cubs fans never lose their allegiance, or their love, for Wrigley Field.
Will Wrigley still be here in 50 or 60 years? I don't know that. I don't have an answer. Heck, I never thought I'd ever see Wrigley Field with lights, but they're here and they're great.
But I've got to believe that when you look at Wrigley, you're also talking about Wrigleyville. It's all about leaving the ballpark after the game and going to the bars and restaurants. It's one big happy family here, with nothing but parties. It's a wonderful place, and absolutely the best ballpark in baseball.