Everyone knows that V I Warshawski is a Cubs fan, but it’s been a while since she went to the ballpark. For a book I’ve just started writing, I’m imagining a chase scene, down those nasty old corridors between the visitors locker room and the dugout, so I persuaded some friends to come with me for a tour of the park today.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, 65 under cerulean skies, and we had a lively and knowledgable guide, who gave us some fun facts about the field, and baseball history. Charles Weeghman, who built the park, was a restauranteur–he installed the first concession stand in major league ball. The Wrigleys took over the majority ownership in 1920 and expanded the field, which was originally only about 2/3 its current size.
As most baseball people know, the Wrigleys thought night games would be a passing fad, although they did have a plan to install lights in 1941. After Pearl Harbor, they shipped the lights up to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station for use in simulating night landings on aircraft carriers, and it was another 47 years before permanent lights were installed. However, the All-American Girls Professional League played their 1943 championship game at Wrigley under temporary lights.
We weren’t allowed into the dugouts because high school prospects were trying out on the field, but we got to see the locker rooms–very bare-bone affairs compared to some of the newer parks, but surprisingly enough, all of the parks have pretty utilitarian facilities–just a place to hang clothes, a little safe for valuables, a chair to sit in before the game. Interesting factoid about laundry: the home team is responsible for washing the visitors uniforms. The night before a team arrives, a courier deposits their dirty laundry at the home park, where the staff launders the clothes and has them hanging up in the visitors’ locker room by the time the team arrives. Jobs I’m glad I don’t have…
We did get to sit in the press box, and, since no one was around, use the men’s room outside, which has an amazing view of the city.
I’m not sure I can really set a chase scene here–the fun place would be the old scoreboard, which no one is allowed into–but I do have my heart set on another possibility: guest host of the 7th Inning Stretch.