There's baseball at NU Day at Wrigley, too

    Even though the Northwestern University Marching Band probably won't be in attendance on Thursday, Wildcat students are set to descend on the "Friendly Confines" for NU Day at Wrigley. Photo by Emily Chow / North By Northwestern

    So you’re in a little bit of a snag: You bought a ticket to NU Day at Wrigley because a) all of your friends are going, b) it was only $15, c) you wanted to see why half of this campus is obsessed with the Cubs or d) all of the above, but your knowledge and/or interest in baseball is confined to the painfully awful Little League games your younger brother guilt-tripped you into attending when you were home alone this summer thanks to the quarter system.

    But don’t worry. Even if you can’t tell a foul ball from a home run, North by Northwestern has your back with this NU Day at Wrigley explainer. Let’s start with the basics.

    The venue:

    When it comes to baseball landmarks, few ballparks come close to what Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, means for America’s pastime. Wrigley is the second-oldest baseball field in the nation behind Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Since its construction in 1914, Wrigley has hosted some of the greatest baseball players of the past century.

    While the history and nostalgia that emanates from the nearly century-old park will make baseball junkies squeal in delight, for someone who doesn’t care as much about baseball history, going to a Wrigley game may seem about as exciting as going to class in Kresge or visiting a friend in North Mid-Quads. Even so, the environment at Wrigley should be great, even if the facilities are not up to your standards. 

    One of Wrigley’s trademarks is the ivy that grows along the outfield wall, which not only enhances the park’s aesthetics, but also provides its share of hilarity and confusion at the expense of outfielders. But even if nothing remarkable happens in the ivy, it will make your mobile uploads that much more Instagram-worthy.

    Note: “Wrigleyville” is known for its lively bar and restaurant scene, so if the game isn’t piquing your interest, you can always bail and enjoy the atmosphere. Speaking of games, though, there is a professional ballgame taking place at NU Day at Wrigley, in case you forgot. Let’s take a look at the teams.

    The game:

    On Thursday, the Chicago Cubs will face off with the Philadelphia Phillies. And while even the most disinterested fans can get caught up in an exciting game, that’s not likely to happen on Thursday night, unfortunately.

    The fact of the matter is that both the Cubs (15-21) and the visiting Philadelphia Phillies (18-19) have seen better years. Both teams are in last place in their respective divisions, but for entirely different reasons.

    The Phillies have won their division, the National League East, every year since 2007 and have gone to two World Series in that time, beating the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and losing to the New York Yankees in 2009. But injuries to a few key players coupled with a lackluster offense have made 2012 a tough season for a team that was expected to finish toward the top of its division.

    The Cubs are a different story. The loveable losers of the Windy City have been bouncing between competitor and doormat status ever since they came within one game of the 2003 World Series. While the Cubbies, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908, are in the process of rebuilding on the shoulders of Starlin Castro (a guy young enough to be a senior at Northwestern), they still have a long way to go. 

    What’s going to happen:

    Thursday’s matchup pits Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay (3-3), one of the best pitchers in the majors, against Chicago’s Chris Volstad (0-5). While Halladay is coming off of an impressive start against the San Diego Padres, when he allowed two runs on seven hits through seven innings, Volstad has not earned a win he has pitched since July 2011. 

    Though the Phillies haven’t been the best offensive team this year, they should have no problem besting the Cubs as Halladay will shut down Chicago’s less-than-stellar offense.

    In English: The Cubs won’t hit anything until Halladay leaves the game, which likely won’t be until you do too – around the sixth inning. You’ll hear a lot of booing and yelling, most of it directed at Chris Volstad, and most of it will be coming from the bleachers: another Wrigley institution where inebriation dulls the pain of watching the Cubs lose again.

    Bottom line: Yes, there will be a ballgame played, but it won’t be that exciting; our prediction is that the Phillies will best the Cubs by a score of 5-2. 


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