Thursday, October 2, 2008

How The Gays and Harry Caray Saved Wrigley Field and the Cubs

If you were born after 1984, you would probably think that Wrigley Field has always been filled with deliriously happy fans, slugging down beer and having a great time. It was not always so. There was a time when people didn't sit on roof tops across the street, and there weren't virtual street parties spilling out of taverns all around Wrigley Field. Back then you could park within a stones throw of the stadium, walk up to the box office, and buy a ticket for that days game. Back then the Cubs were lucky to draw five thousand people on a week day, and not many more on a weekend. In the 1970's The neighborhood around Wrigley Field was in decline, and there was much talk of moving the Cubs to a new stadium.

One great thing about being gay and childless, is you can be an urban pioneer. We don't give a shit about good schools and playgrounds. A little crime doesn't bother us, as long as we can move into an neglected architectural gem that we bought for a song. So it was with the north Lakeview neighborhood, (the real name of Wrigleyville). Amid Puerto Rican gang wars, and drug pushers, the gays started moving in. Clubs and boutiques sprang up, and soon the poor people and gang bangers were squeezed out. Lakeview became safe enough for straight folk and their families to stroll down Clark Street without fear of being mugged.

In 1981 the Cubs hired Harry Caray as their game announcer. Up until that point, Jack Brickhouse was the play by play guy. Brickhouse was, to be kind, just a little less dry than a slice of melba toast. Harry Caray on the other hand, was an entertainer. All juiced up on Budweiser, he would extol the beauty of Wrigley Field and go on and on about the fun of a game at the old ball park. With each inning, Harry would get just a little more buzzed on beer, and with each error or strike out, he would berate the Cubs players for being so crappy. That's why the fans loved him, he didn't try to paint lipstick on a pig.

So the Cubs lost last night. The fans still had a good time, drinking and partying in the safe neighborhood of Wrigleyville. For that you can thank the gays, they made it safe. The fans saw the game in a great old ball park that many had written off as an anachronism. Harry Caray saw it as a party place and was it's booster, even if he was usually too drunk to realize it. So enjoy the playoffs Chicago, and remember, all those bars on Halsted are gay.


  1. A nice history lesson for us all. apply this idea/lesson to a greater macrocosm and maybe there would finally be world peace.

  2. Great story for those of us who have no idea about the Cubs and the city's ongoing history. Thanks Alan.

  3. Hmmmm. not to many comments on this one.