Experiencing Wrigley Field in Mesa

We are all familiar with the feeling of going to a baseball game. You can’t wait to smell and touch the freshly, manicured lawn as if  all of a sudden you rediscovered those senses. Eating a hotdog suddenly becomes an important mission. Executed with care, we paint our frankfurter with ketchup and mustard, careful not to spill outside the bun. Deciding which vendor to buy your beer from is almost as hard as picking a husband or wife.

Before fans could even start thinking of the good stuff, the main question burning on their mind was: “Where am I going to park?!” Fans, both home and visitor, excitedly filled, no overflowed, Cubs Park to watch the opening game in the brand new red and blue haven. Although the Chicago Cubs fell 5-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, fans still walked away feeling proud of their new stadium. With a high of 75 degrees, breezes and beers kept fans satisfied as they set a new Cactus League attendance record of 14, 486.

Photo By: Tiana Chavez/@tee_chav

One lucky Diamondbacks fan walked away with more than a suntan. Phoenix local, Greg Hart, caught the first homer hit by Diamondbacks infielder Eric Chavez. Hart was sitting in right center when a ball sailed his way. The ball fell short of where he was sitting but bounced perfectly into his grasp.

Photo By: Tiana Chavez

“As soon as I saw him hit it, I thought it’s coming right here, I even told the girl next to me,” said Hart as he smiled at his wife Marianne. Hart says he loves the park and plans on coming to more games. He’d be willing to sell the home run ball to Mesa or Eric Chavez he joked.

Photo By: Tiana Chavez

Hart was cheered on by surrounding fans, even warmly high-fived by Cubbie fans. It’s truly unique to see rival fans celebrate in unity. I guess sunshine and baseball bring out the best in all of us, no matter which side of the plate our team sits.
Photo By: Tiana Chavez

Sandy and Larry Stinson traveled all the way  from Chicago to watch their favorite team. Sandy has been a Cubs fan for over 50 years. This is her fifth year attending spring training. “I like it a lot better than the last stadium. It’s new, it’s shiny and more fun,” said Stinson. She enjoyed seeing the camaraderie among the Cubs fans that she knows and loves.

Photo By: Tiana Chavez/@Tee_Chav

To my surprise, Zach Wright, from LaPorte, Indiana said being at the new park made him feel like he was at Wrigley. “I feel like I’m in Chicago with this stadium atmosphere.”

With matching Cubs Park shirts and hats, it wasn’t hard to see Lee and Merrie Henson of Chicago, were thrilled with their first spring training experience. Both agreed the new facility is really nice and they enjoyed the fresh, comfortable weather. When I asked Lee his favorite part of the day he said “The food and the ball game, when they (Cubs) win. The food that they offer is very good and for a ballpark it’s reasonably priced.”

Photo By: Tiana Chavez/@Tee_Chav

So many fans agreed the new facility embodied the sense of community felt at Wrigley Field. After surrounding myself with people who have so much hometown pride, I can imagine how close the Cubbie clan is in Chicago- so close I can even feel it all the way in Mesa.


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