CHICAGO -- From the time the sun came up Friday morning, Chicago Cubs fans descended upon Wrigley Field and the surrounding Wrigleyville area on the north side of town to soak up the atmosphere of the return of the World Series for the first time in 71 years.
With lines around the block at area restaurants, an open house at the Engine Co. 78/Ambulance 6 Station on Waveland Avenue and selfies with landmarks around Wrigley Field, Cubs fans created an electric atmosphere long before the first pitch of the 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
“I think it’s great,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “For a second, I was even talking to the guys inside, the altruistic component of all of this. Beyond everything, the game of course we want to win. Absolutely, but how about the excitement throughout the industry, throughout the game and throughout our city?
“Everybody being engaged in this moment, it’s good. It’s a good moment for everybody, so that’s not lost on me either. When you’re driving down the street and you see the involvement, I was hearing about the prices just to get into these places, and then, what you get for it, and the fact that people are flying in just to be at a bar, not even at the ballpark, that is pretty impressive.”
Admittedly, Maddon did not give himself enough of a buffer to get to the ballpark at his usual time because of the street closures and detours, but while sitting in traffic, it gave him a brief moment to imagine what it must have been like when Wrigley Field last played host to a World Series in 1945.
“No lights on the roof,” Maddon said. “That’s the one thing. I’m looking at the ballpark, so I’m thinking it should pretty much look the same even back then, which is kind of a cool thought.
“You want to slow it down as much as you can and appreciate the moment. You’ve got to appreciate the moment and what you’re actually going through right now. The sin would be to not do that and have it go so quickly that you don’t actually enjoy it. That would be inappropriate.”
Unlike Maddon, Indians manager Terry Francona did not embrace the atmosphere around Wrigley Field, and instead focused on everything that needed to be done in order to prepare the Indians for Game 3 of the World Series.
And Francona plans on sticking to that routine for Games 4 and 5 as well.
“I love what we’re doing, and I don’t need to look around,” Francona said. “I love every minute of it. It’s more fun when you win, but I would hate to wake up when it’s over and then, if we won, say ‘I liked it,’ and if we lost, say, ‘I didn’t.’ I think I’ve always been this way.
“The journey, for me, by far is the most fun. I love coming to the clubhouse and being with the guys, and then, going out and seeing how we can do.”