Gately Stadium (Pullman)
There’s nothing like being outside in mid-November, in weather that laughs at the North Face jackets, watching two CPS football powerhouses go at it. It is true, watching Mount Carmel games (wherever they play) are the best, but nothing comes close to the experience of sitting on 103rd Street amongst hundreds of South Siders acting like the Bears are on the field instead of Hubbard or Morgan Park. It’s Chicago football’s true shrine.
744 East 103rd
AUDIENCE CHOICE: Wrigley Field, 1060 West Addison
Best of Chicago 2013
A proposed 500-car parking garage north of the stadium got kiboshed
The Cubs are lucky to be headquartered in a walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly neighborhood that’s dense with bars and restaurants, and everyone agrees that car traffic is already a nightmare on game days. So why did the team, Alderman Tom Tunney, and some of the neighbors think it might be a good idea to build a massive garage on top of the vast parking lot that sits north of the stadium, a move that would only encourage more people to drive to games, further clogging the streets? Luckily, Lakeview resident Eric Hanss launched a petition against the structure that garnered 238 signatures, which helped convince the powers that be to deep-six the proposal.
AUDIENCE CHOICE: None
Audience comment: “None of it will matter if they get rid of Old Style…”
Best of Chicago 2013
A unisex stripper poll by the visiting team’s bullpen
Until the Cubs decide that winning baseball games means something and until the fans actually begin coming by the millions every year to watch them play instead of joining “Chicago’s best outdoor party,” the organization needs to fully commit to the stereotype that has become reality. Go all out. Make David Guetta or Tiesto the resident DJs, institute an eight-beer minimum, have a bouncer outside Gate D for the girls that come in cut-off Cardinals’ jerseys and during the seventh-inning stretch (after “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” is sung, of course), let anyone who pays the $100 fee work the pole!
AUDIENCE CHOICE: Tear it down
Audience comments: “Moving them to Kankakee”; “A Red line station FOR DOUCHES ONLY”; “A winning team”; “Hot Dougs stand”; “An idiot alert at the turnstiles that would be constantly going off.”
Best of Chicago 2013
And the people said “no”
Ricketts Family, thank you for buying the Cubs. We think they have a better chance to succeed owned privately rather than under the control of Darth Vader, or whatever. But now, Ricketts Family, do your job. Your proposal to renovate the collapsing Wrigley Field by basically asking the state for hundreds of millions of dollars—and by state we mean, you know, us—was pretty much a mountainous insult, not to mention a disaster in timing seeing as Illinois has a $13 billion deficit and the country’s still in that whole economic downturn thing. Ricketts Family, you knew what you were getting yourself into—you bought the thing, you pay to fix it. If we bought a fix-it-up house we wouldn’t ask our new neighbors to fund the renovations. In a rare act of political awareness in Illinois, both Governor Quinn and Mayor Daley hands-down rejected the proposal. Side note: If you don’t plan on putting a competitive team on the field any time soon, don’t even bother with the renovations. Let it crumble and let’s forget about this whole “Cubs” thing once and for all. What’s that? Adam Dunn is…what? Don’t get up—let’s ride the Red Line a little further south.
Others that were mentioned a few times, amused us or seemed especially weird:
“There’s a big macaroni noodle in front of the park now”; “Undercover Boss”; “Reasonable ticket prices, winning baseball, respect paid to Ryno, resistance to garish new signs, top-notch general managing, the list goes on…”
Best of Chicago 2010
Old Style Stadium
If the Cubs brand-new owners decide that it’s time to whore out to a new product sponsor, why not embrace a local beer of choice while working the metaphorical essence of the name itself while the team plays in a ballpark that’s one shockwave away from crumbling to the ground.
Best of Chicago 2009
The famed watering hole at the corner of Sheffield and Waveland—behind Wrigley Field, essentially—is a bit clichéd and overrated, but, let’s face it, so are the Cubs. What makes Murphy’s the Cub bar is not only location, however, it’s the legend of Jim Murphy, who bought the bar in 1980 and ran it like a baseball fan, not like a businessman. Plus, you take one look outside the window, and you got a shot of Wrigley’s bleachers. For being in a tavern, you can’t beat that.
3655 North Sheffield
Audience Choice (tie)
3540 North Clark
Best of Chicago 2007
Wrigley Field may induce a kind of sleepy don’t-care-if-they-win-I’m-soooo-buzzed euphoria, and some of the city’s hottest accountants strip down to their Dockers and braided belts in the bleachers, but if you want authentic Chicago sports flavor, Soldier Field is the venue. Before its $365 million renovation began, Soldier Field was one of those remarkably inconvenient, perpetually wet, cramped, stunningly beautiful old arenas, a connection to a golden age of American sports. Opened in 1924, Soldier Field has hosted Army-Navy football, heavyweight title fights and World Cup soccer. Jack Dempsey, Billy Graham, Mick Jagger and Walter Payton have headlined events, and the stadium once drew 115,000 fans for the Prep Bowl, a high-school football championship. At the moment, Soldier Field is only a skeletal project site, clogged with cranes and construction trailers, but any Chicagoan worth their VHS copy of the “Super Bowl Shuffle” knows that it’s hallowed ground. When the renovation is complete, it will be a sleek multi-use facility designed to print money for the Bears and the Chicago Park District. Fine, as long as the colonnade is standing and Urlacher is still on our side.
1410 South Museum Campus Drive, (312)235-7000
Best of Chicago 2002
Lots of cities have public transportation, but Chicago’s El train serves as an artery for something travelers know can be frustrating: access to the airports. Residents who don’t travel much don’t likely think much of it, but the Blue Line (to O’Hare) and Orange Line (to Midway) are a godsend, a way to get to the airports without an expensive cab ride, hotel-sponsored mini-van rides or the help of a begrudging friend. And as helpful as that is, sports fans already appreciate the other El extra: direct access from Wrigley Field to Comiskey Park, on the same train. Unlike New York City, it offers baseball fans the true subway series experience, although the powers that be seem to make that occasion more rare every year.
Best of Chicago 2002