In early May, I made my first return to Wrigleyville since the end of the 2019 season. Living in the suburbs, suffice to say going downtown last year wasn’t exactly at the top of my to-do list.
For my 30th birthday, my wife and some friends booked a rooftop on a Friday afternoon and we took in our first Chicago Cubs action in well over a year. It was cold and windy, but we were back. But with a sea of empty seats, there was definitely something missing. Next weekend, though, that all changes.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
The City of Chicago aligned its full reopening with the rest of Illinois, meaning next weekend when the Cubs welcome the Cardinals into town for a weekend series, there will be no capacity limits in place at either Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field. The official start of summer is still a few weeks out, but it might as well be June 11 at that point.
This is about more than just being surrounded by fellow Cubs fans. That part will be probably a little strange after the last year-plus, but I imagine it’ll soon feel great. The attendance boost will help the organization pull in additional financial resources just ahead of the July trade deadline.
"“I think we’ll learn a lot about this team over the month of June because to go out there and have success [against that schedule], that’s certainly a mark for a team that has a chance to compete in the postseason,” Hoyer told NBC Sports Chicago recently, “because I think that’s the kind of environment you’re going to have to play in during the postseason.”"
June marks the team’s toughest stretch of schedule yet – and after the Chicago Cubs swept the Padres to kick off the month, the team dropped the opener to the Giants in San Francisco. Still, the team is in first place after a scorching run in May – and could be poised to buy come the summer. Hoyer recently noted the organization expects to have what it needs to add at the deadline, should they find themselves in contention at that point.
Fans in the stands means revenue, resources for the Chicago Cubs
Fans back in the stands means ticket revenue, business for the bars and restaurants that Ricketts owns in the area. It means more concessions – hot dogs, nachos, beers – and more t-shirts, hats and uniforms. All of it translates to dollars and money in the bank for the Cubs, a good sign after a winter of cost-cutting frugality that saw the team trade Yu Darvish just to save money on payroll.
Could the full re-opening of the city, Wrigleyville and the Friendly Confines help propel the Cubs back to the postseason? It definitely has the potential to help – although it’s up to the players to keep up their strong play before the front office will decide its course of action.