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Wrigley finally hosts a Fall Classic — in football

Today’s column from the Kankakee Daily Journal and The (Ottawa, Ill.) Times

Wrigley finally hosts a Fall Classic — in football

The WISCH LIST

Nov. 13, 2010

Wrigleyville is usually pretty dead in November.

It’s usually pretty dead in October, too, mind you. But that’s for different reasons.

During this time of the year, though, Major League Baseball has closed the book on its season (not just the Cubs’), the local bars have closed their patios for the winter and the streets are filled mostly with neighborhood residents, not rabid fans.

But, come next Saturday, the area will again be awash in gameday spirit as Wrigley Field – home of the Chicago Bears from 1921 to 1970 – plays host to the Illinois Fighting Illini and Northwestern Wildcats in the 2:30 p.m. Allstate Wrigleyville Classic, the iconic ballpark’s first football game in 40 years.

For those attending the Big Ten tilt, those who would like to, and those who simply want to soak up the gameday atmosphere in the neighborhood, here are some tips on how to get your football fill.

You want tickets …

Well, good luck. The game is a sell-out, although tickets are available at StubHub.com and Craiglist.org. As of today, they were going anywhere from $55 to $1,000 a pop.

Your best bet might be just trying to scalp tickets outside the ballpark. Generally, the best locales for ticket-hunters are outside Murphy’s Bleachers (Sheffield and Waveland) or near the Red Line station on Addison Street.

You want parking …

Again, good luck. Like during a Cubs game, the streets and lots around the ballpark will be jam-packed. However, the Cubs will be running their shuttle and parking service at the DeVry University campus located off Addison Street and Western Avenue. For $6 you can park there and ride the shuttle free to and from Wrigley.

If you don’t want to drive into the city, identify the Metra station nearest you and use the Regional Transit Authority’s handy online trip-planner at tripsweb.rtachicago.com to plan your trip to Wrigley.

You want Wildcat fans …

Northwestern fans aren’t exactly known for flocking to watch their football team play in Evanston. However, at Wrigley Field, that likely will be a different story.

If you’re an NU alum or fan, the Northwestern Alumni Association is hosting a Young Alumni Tailgate Event at Sports Corner sports bar (Addison and Sheffield) from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visit alumni.northwestern.edu/yatailgate for more information.

NU also will hold a free Alumni Tailgate on “Wildcat Way,” (aka Sheffield Avenue, between Addison and Waveland) from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Elsewhere, Mullen’s on Clark (3527 N. Clark St.) is known as Wrigleyville’s “Northwestern” bar and it should be awash in purple.

You want Illinois fans …

Since the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic is officially a Northwestern “home” game, the Illinois Alumni Association isn’t hosting a special event for alums and fans. However, the Chicago Illini Club is, with a Tailgate Party at Rockit Wrigleyville (Clark and Waveland).

As of Friday, a few dozen tickets were remaining for the 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. event. Visit chicagoilliniclub.org for more information.

Another good game-watch option is Rebel Bar & Grill (3462 N Clark St.), considered Wrigleyville’s unofficial “Illini” bar. Arrive early, though, as it’s sure to fill up quickly.

Or, you want to play …

If you can’t get tickets and don’t like crowds but still want to experience football at Wrigley Field, consider instead visiting The Friendly Confines on Sunday, Nov. 21.

For its “Touchdown on Wrigley Field” event benefiting Chicago Cubs Charities, the organization will open the ballpark and allow fans to toss the pigskin around the Wrigley gridiron for 50 minutes.

For ticket information, visit cubs.com and search for “Touchdown on Wrigley Field.”

Wrigley's ready for some football ...
Wrigley's ready for some football ...