It doesn't matter that we only got to watch two innings (they were the only two the Orioles scored any runs), I got to cross another venue off my bucket list of baseball stadiums – Wrigley Field in Chicago.
It was a whirlwind Saturday – we left Baltimore at 7 a.m. and left Chicago at 7 p.m. Just a day trip, an awesome one at that. And I got to go with my dad, just him and me.
Neither of us is really sure why it came up, but back in May, Dad said something about going to Chicago to see the Cubs. I jumped in and quickly said "I'll go!" The rest is history.
I've always wanted to see Wrigley. It's an old-school baseball stadium and it did not disappoint. It was everything I thought it would be.
My husband sent me a text message that asked "Is it awesome?" I answered "Yes. Just yes." It really is pretty hard to describe.
It kind of reminded me of Fenway Park in Boston. It's small, it's quaint and it's basic.
The old-school sign out front beckons the fans, drawing them in.
Inside, it's dark and kind of dungeon-like beneath the stands, all the cinder blocks and steel beams exposed. The numbers on the scoreboard are changed by hand. Fans sit really close to the field. All the seats are the same, except the bleachers, which are their own story. (I would have loved to sit out there, but I'm not sure my dad was up for it.)
Perhaps the neatest part about the stadium is its location. It's just plopped down right in the middle of a Chicago neighborhood.
There are houses just off the outfield, across Sheffield and Waveland avenues. They have bleachers on top and they're most often rented out by businesses. (A guy we were sitting next to said the Cubs want to add seats around the outfield, but the owners of those houses are protesting because it will block their views of the stadium. That should be an interesting fight to watch.)
There are no giant parking lots nearby, but that's OK, the "L" takes you right there. Dozens of small restaurants are filled with fans but quickly empty out as game time nears. I have no idea the name of the restaurant where we ate – the sign outside simply said "EAT." We could have found any one of those "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants and been happy.
My dad said it reminded him of the old Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia, which was also right in the middle of a neighborhood. His dad used to take him there sometimes when he was a kid.
We only got to watch two innings; fortunately the Orioles scored a run in each. A crazy storm blew in quickly, making it seem like it was night. The field got covered and play was suspended for more than three hours. Because our flight left at 7:15, we didn't have a choice but to leave. Even if the rain had stopped before we left, it was still going to be a while before the field was ready and the players warmed up. The game resumed just as we got to the airport.
I had wanted to see Wrigley Field no matter who the Cubs played, but that they were playing the Orioles Saturday made it that much better.
Orioles fans traveled well to Chicago. Our flight out Saturday morning and back Saturday night were both packed with orange. And in a stadium that seats more than 41,000 people, I ran into two from Harford County.
I haven't seen Don Morrison, former spokesman for Harford County Public Schools, in years, but it wouldn't be so strange to see him at Cold Stone Creamery in Bel Air, where I ran into him on a recent Sunday night.
But to see him in the stands at Wrigley Field? That was crazy.
As my dad and I walked around, I also saw Dave Carey, former mayor of Bel Air, who is now a District Court judge. He and his wife had flown to Chicago earlier in the week and watched the Orioles play the White Sox, too.
Just goes to show what a small world it is.
It didn't matter that the Orioles didn't win, or that we only got to see two innings of the game. I got to see Wrigley Field. And I got to spend a great day with my dad, which the older I get becomes more special.
So thanks, Dad, for a great trip. So glad I got to spend the day with you doing something that I love.