Cubs could feed off Wrigleyville – or it could wind up costing them their season
Could Cubs fans wind up costing the team their shot at a 2020 season?
Wrigleyville has long been one of the things that make being a Cubs fan – and attending games at the Friendly Confines – so unique. Of course, in recent years, we’ve seen more and more organizations work to develop similar setups around their ballparks, but there’s nothing like being in the neighborhood on game day.
The energy that fills Wrigley Field 81 times each year spills over into the local bars. Watching games at these establishments can, at times, rival being in the ballpark itself. That raw passion is something players have traditionally fed off, too.
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"“The environment here around Wrigley Field, when the fans are in the stands, is absolutely electric. They’ll definitely be missed,” new Cubs manager David Ross told MLB.com. “But even being around the ballpark a little bit already, people are out walking around, you see the Cubs jerseys, you see the Cubs hat, it’s just exciting to be back in Chicago.”"
I’ll be the first to admit. There’s no better place to be than in the bleachers on a Friday afternoon for a 1:20 first pitch. But these aren’t normal times. As baseball fans anxiously await July 23-24, the dates slated for Opening Day in the shortened season, COVID-19 spikes have erupted across the country, prompting dire warnings from officials.
Although Illinois is yet to be rocked by such a resurgence, we could be well on our way if behavior from last weekend repeats itself. Social distancing and masks were a rarity across Wrigleyville, long considered one of the city’s summer hot spots.
You have the younger portions of the population desperately hoping to enjoy a ‘normal’ summer – and while we all understand the sentiment, most people don’t seem to realize just how precarious the situation is. It’s not hard to envision a spike in Chicago prompting the city to reconsider having both the Cubs and White Sox play their games at their respective home stadiums.
Ross continues to emphasize the importance of following protocols with players, who report to Wrigley on Wednesday for a large batch of COVID-19 screening ahead of the team’s first workout on Friday. Given their families are at risk, I have little doubt they’ll be focused on making sure they’re adhering to best practices during this sprint of a season.
The only question left is whether or not fans, who have been longing for baseball for months, will do what needs to be done to make it possible for the Cubs to return later this month and play the 2020 season as safely asa possible.
"“Fans have a way of still communicating without being in the stands. It is going to be unique, and that energy that is brought when you come out of that dugout and the place goes crazy, that will definitely be missed. But we’ll make the most of it and find our new way.”"