Whether it is the charm of Wrigley Field itself or the surrounding area, Wrigleyville has always been a sought after destination for fans. However, the members of the Chicago Cubs find some benefits from the area themselves.
Anyone who has been to Wrigley can attest to just how unique the area is. What it lacks in parking, it makes up for walkability and Wrigley Field fits perfectly into the neighborhood’s homes and businesses. With that setup, Wrigley Field has traditionally been a ballpark that fans make a destination by arriving early and exploring the surrounding area.
The Cubs, though, have seen a trend unfold of the organization’s players, coaches, and front office officials choosing to live close to Wrigley Field. With the players seeking various means of transportation, it has created a unique bond between the team and the fans. More from USA Today:
In a sense, it puts a different spin on the term “friendly confines.” [Ben] Zobrist, Jon Lester,Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta all live in the neighborhood. So does president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. And general manager Jed Hoyer is just a few minutes’ drive away, in Lincoln Park.
“I think guys love that,” Hoyer said. “I think the neighborhood feel is great. The families like it. They can walk with their kids to the ballpark. The lifestyle stuff definitely sells a little bit.”
For Zobrist, it was a big selling point when he signed with the Cubs in the offseason. The native of central Illinois and his family live about a mile from Wrigley in a home with a miniature basketball court and play area outside for their three young children.
Zobrist often takes his bike to the ballpark, though that ride in uniform was a first. But the biggest benefit is the extra time at home. When he played in other cities he had to leave around 2 p.m. for a night game. Now? Sometimes as late as 4.
“It’s just a special thing,” Zobrist said. “They’re never going to make another venue like this in professional sports where it’s basically in a neighborhood. And because of that, it has such a unique feel. I mean, it’s honestly baseball heaven on earth.”
If somehow the Cubs ride their regular season success into the playoffs and end their 108-year World Series championship skid, the bond between the players and Wrigleyville will only grow.