Wrigley Field: Chicago’s Colosseum?


One of the benefits to working in the city is the ability to walk to a number of places in order to kill time at lunch.

If I get an opportunity to take a lunch, I normally head out for about a half hour and can hit up Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, a food place and maybe one more stop within a few blocks. Ok, so maybe it takes 45 minutes. Nine times out of ten, if I don’t hit them all, I at least end up at Barnes and Noble.

I probably owe Barnes and Noble a ton of money. If they were able to one day scans us as we walked through the turnstile door and figure out how many pages, or how many books we’ve read without buying and then charge us retroactively for that reading, I would probably have to finance the fee. I am definitely one of the guilty parties that put Borders out of business. Barnes and Noble one day is probably going to be next.

While it’s still around though, I find myself there often. Two rows are my lunch time go-to’s. Comedy. And sports. Between the two of them, my experiences with each have largely shaped who I am today. After ‘parental guidance’, those two things have done the most to make me who I am today. I’ve watched sports for as long as I can remember and I played sports for as long as my talent would allow (that would be intramurals in college for the record). I’ve been performing and writing comedy for over nearly fourteen years. It will be fourteen years this September to the first time I stepped on stage at a true comedy club in Boston, MA. Dick Doherty’s Comedy Club. Sunday night show. Bring two friends/paying customers, get 5 minutes of stage time. I was bit by the bug and have loved doing comedy since.

I just got back to my desk from a quick trip to Barnes and Noble which is what inspired this rambling. The other day I started flipping through a couple different Cubs books and ended up purchasing Veeck: As In Wreck. Before that it was The Last Best League about the Cape Cod baseball league featuring the finest young talent in the game. I’ve read Jim Breuer’s entire book in the past month and most of Tina Fey’s while standing in the middle of the store, not far from the checkout counter. That counter is filled with people who would love for me to sign up for the Barnes and Noble Club, however they don’t seem to care if I buy any books. I mean, I do buy books, however a lot of the time, I end up remembering where I left off in a given book and just continue reading it for free day after day until the book is finished over a span of consecutive visits. (Sorry, Jim and Tina).

Today I ended up in the autobiography section. I’ve been stopping by in the past few days to read Paul Mooney’s book ‘Black is the New White’. It is fascinating. It’s all about his career in comedy and coming up through the ranks along side Richard Pryor, his best friend through that time of his life. I’m up to Chapter 25 and I plan on reading that one next tomorrow afternoon. See you then B&N (don’t close overnight, k? Thanks).

It got me thinking about stand up comedy on my walk back to work. I’m not sure what made me connect these three things, but this is what happened. 1) Stand up comedy is like the supposed survival battles of yesteryear of the Roman Colosseum. 2) The audience at a stand up show is both the crowd and the lion. 3) The Colosseum is still standing for people to admire, tour and stand in awe of. 4) If Wrigley is Chicago’s Colosseum, does that make the Cubs the lion or the humans?

It’s that last one that even to me seems a little silly and yet after being in the heat, intriguing all at the same time.

Wrigley is a long standing building that fans have traveled to from far away lands or right around the corner to watch numerous ‘battles’ over the years. We clearly go there to watch one side win and the other side lose. The weapons have been replaced by balls, gloves and bats and the ‘players’ are now all human, the rules are different but the fact remains that it’s still a ‘battle’ with one side winning and one side losing. (It amuses me to think that instead of a W or L flag flying at the Colosseum to let people know who won that day, they’d have a human flag and a lion flag to fly).

The thing I can’t figure out is, who would I have been rooting for at the Colisseum. Would I have been rooting for the human to win, or pull for a mauling by the lion?

Is that wrong? I just honestly am not sure which outcome I would prefer. Which victory would have sent me home happy? And in this silly analogy, then, which would the Cubs be? The humans…or the lions?

Sad part is, when the day comes that Wrigley Field is no longer needed to house Cubs games, I don’t believe it will still remain. I think any owner that decides to tear the place down is going to hear it from the fans, however, that day might just be inevitable. The Colosseum remains and you can tour it and take in it’s grand stature and imagine the battles that once happened there and the crowds that once showed up to take it in. No, I’m not really implying that Wrigley Field’s bleachers, rooftop partners or grandstands are anything to literally match up to that of the impressive architectural accomplishment that is the Colosseum. Simply, stating that Wrigley is the venue, as was the Colosseum to the Romans, to see our ‘battles’ of today on the baseball field. I just can’t figure out who of today is the lion and who is the human.

Of course, back then, you only got one out. Heck, you probably only got one strike on you by the opponent and the game was over. Especially if the opponent was the lion. No calling time and stepping out of the box opportunity available there.

I understand the comparison and question is silly, but this is what happens when I’m outside too long in 100 degree heat I guess, wihtout lunch. Still, I’m curious. in this ridiculous heat induced scenario, if we are to say Wrigley Field is our Colosseum, then who are the Cubs? The humans? Or the lions? And out of curiosity, which side do you think you would have been rooting for?

(I need to get a sandwich and some air conditioning, STAT).

Go Cubs Go!


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