How it felt on Opening Day and what to expect when you return to Wrigley Field
Excitement. Nervous energy. Like Christmas morning, Opening Day is one of my favorite days of the year. This year was extra special, as it was the first game that welcomed fans to the stadium since the end of September 2019. The city instituted a 25% cap on capacity, which amounts to about 10,200 people in the stands. It's almost surreal to see Wrigley with this few people, something we haven't seen in decades.
The streets around Wrigley looked so empty, especially on Opening Day!
We waited for what seemed like forever to hear about how we might go to see games this year. It wasn't until late March when it was announced that season ticket holders would get the first shot at buying tickets, then it opens up to lottery winners and the rest to the general public, and that they would sell each home stand separately, adjusting to any new Covid outbreak numbers as the season moves along.
Tickets are offered in pods of 1-2-3-& 4. While I was on the website it seemed easiest to get tickets in pods of either 2 or 4. Tickets are fully electronic this year, and Wrigley is cashless. You must have Ballpark app installed on your phone, as your tickets will be downloaded into the app. If you resell your tickets, you must sell them as a pod, not individually.
Your ticket will look like this, and have information like which entry you should use and how early you can arrive. Entry times are staggered so there isn't too much bunching at the gates and varies from 90 minutes before the game to 30 minutes before.
There are free standing ticket scanners once you pass the metal detectors. Bags no bigger than 9x5 (the size of a fanny pack) are allowed (ex. medical bags or diaper bags) and are subject to random searches.
This was not my Opening Day ticket, OD ticket was 4x this price!
Once I got up to our seats in the upper deck, I was reminded of how much I missed that view of the field. Also, I was reminded how cold it is where we were, as we were under the overhang... windy, and no sun. Opening Day this year was a balmy 35ª for a high. I had to break out the winter gear and wore layers upon layers, (including Sparklespants!) that I looked like the kid from a Christmas Story.
Things started getting more exciting when the Cubs roster was announced and the crowd went wild over John Vincent's National Anthem - he must have held that "freeeeee" note for 30 seconds! It gave me goosebumps!
Cyle has the perfect walk up song - I love "Sweet Emotion"!
J-Hey ran out with the Chicago flag
Wrigley is my summer home, as it is for many others. The crowd didn't skip a beat and booed the umps when they were introduced, clapped to Rizzo's 1st walk up song and chanted Javy! Javy! every time he came to the plate. They also gave new Cubs Joc Pederson a warm welcome.
Beer and hot dogs are still sold by the roaming vendors, who all have credit card machines with them. You can either flag them down as normal, or try ordering from the app and have it delivered to your seat, which I did. However, it took almost an hour for me to get my hot dog, but I chalked it up to growing pains. We're all trying to figure out this new normal together!
Also, at the beginning of the game, The Cubs did a montage honoring those in the Wrigley family that passed away in the last year and one of them was the beer vendor who used to roam around our section. RIP, he is missed.
except you still have to go to the concession stand to confirm your order. You've already paid for the order and you have my phone number, why not just text me when it's ready, instead of me going to scan the QR by the concession stand to confirm? It seems like a bad idea having a bunch of people hanging by concessions if the whole idea was to try and keep people safe. (I made this comment in the after game experience email!) It's just as easy to go and order directly. But if you do use your Ballpark App, use your mobile wallet and enter all your credit card info into the app before you get to the park to make it a seamless paying experience.
By the way in that picture above, the seats in front of me are zip-tied together so no one can sit in those seats and to keep everyone socially distant. A bonus? It's actually nice having practically a whole row to yourself and not have to crawl over 10 people to get to concessions or to the bathroom.
I don't think I need to tell you how this game ended but it felt really really good to be back, cheering the Cubs on with 10,000 other fans. See you this summer!
• Wear your masks! It's a requirement.
• Try the Oatly soft serve ice cream. It's new this year and it's deeeeeelish!
• Don't be a doosh and yell terrible things to players! This isn't Twitter and you are ruining other peoples' experiences!
• I am 0-1 with the Sparklespants. Sigh