This weekend has been absolutely crazy on the North side of Chicago as the New York Yankees have come to historic Wrigley Field for a three game series. As of the writing of this blog, the teams have split, with the Cubs winning Friday’s game and the Yanks taking a 4-3 decision in the Saturday afternoon affair. Tonight (Sunday) the clubs will vie for the rubber game of this series.
As a long time Minnesota resident and Twins fan, watching the Yankees isn’t such a big deal. We see the Yanks invade Target Field once or twice a year. However, to see thousands of New Yorkers abandon the Big Apple for the windy city on a glorious summer weekend is a classic experiment in sociological behavior.
While we’re not sociologists or psychologists, my daughter Tara and I view game day from a unique perspective as purveyors of parking spots, the rarest of Wrigleyville services. Our clients choose to drive their automobiles to the ballpark, which makes a lot of sense in most cities, but makes absolutely no sense when 60,000 fans and onlookers cram into a tiny Chicago neighborhood with virtually no parking lots. We stand on our corner, which we call “the zone”, holding our parking sign which displays the words…”EZ OUT – Behind my House – No Block-In – You Keep Keys.” We park the legally permissible number of cars behind our garage, along with our neighbors, who vacate their garages and alley parking spaces to provide spots for Cubs fans.
As Yankee fans walk along the streets by the thousands, I lump them into three categories. First are the “grey hairs.” These are men between 50 and 65 who look casual in their Yankee caps and jerseys but would feel equally comfortable in a $5,000 silk suit. These guys have money and are comfortable in their skins. They’re not intimidated by crowds, and certainly not by anything they encounter in the City of Chicago. They will either be with a bunch of other “grey hairs” or will have their wife (or a woman half their age) on their arm. Many of the grey hairs know that Babe Ruth hit is famous “called shot” in 1932, but as New Yorker’s are prone to do, they think that everything important happens in the Big Apple. Of course, almost every Cub fan knows that the Babe called his shot in game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley field. The grey hair Yankee fans are nice people who are neither confrontive nor abrasive. They’re guys that bring plenty of money to Chicago and know how to spend it. You’re delighted to have them around.
Then there are the “party animals”. These are mostly younger folks who accompany their Yankee fan friends to the game. The party animals don’t know much about baseball and don’t really care about the game. For them Wrigley Field is a place to socialize, drink beer, and have a good time. What happens on the field is of minor importance. Party animals spend a lot of time “texting” during the game. They don’t know what the count on the batter is, what inning it is, who is pitching, or even the score. Baseball purists look at them in disgust, knowing that there are thousands of real fans watching on television who would love to be in their seats.
Finally, there are the “stupid drunks.” These people are mostly in their twenties. They’re young and full of energy. They show up buzzed to the ball park and by the time the seventh inning has begun, they have lost all good sense about what to say and how to deal with others. I wish I could say that these are the Yankee fans, but there are plenty of Cubs fans who fall into this category as well. Stupid drunks are loud and obnoxious and this gets worse as the game progresses. Fighting, barfing in the street, and being loaded into police paddy wagons are some of the favorite activities of the “stupid drunk.”
Tonight we will see the final chapter of Yankee weekend. Say a prayer for the stupid drunks…they can always use the intervention of the Almighty.