Apr 7, 2022 - Sports

Hope springs eternal on Cubs Opening Day

Guy at a Cubs game

A young fan poses for the camera prior to entering Wrigley Field in 2011. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If there's one unofficial holiday in Chicago, it's Opening Day at Wrigley Field.

Why it matters: The Cubs kick off MLB's 2022 season today against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers at 1:20pm.

  • For many Chicagoans, nothing rivals the sights, sounds, and smells of the home opener at Wrigley.

Zoom in: It's sensory overload. Vendors barking on Clark Street, a Dixieland band on Addison Street, the bleacher bums lining up on Waveland Avenue.

🏟 Walter Jacobson, the 84-year-old newscaster, has been a Cubs fan since he worked as a batboy on Opening Day in 1952.

  • "I remember being in charge of getting foul balls," Jacobson tells Axios. "Hank Sauer came to the plate and sent a pitch up into the net. I ran to catch it and held onto it. The crowd in the box seats cheered. It was a 15-year-old's dream come true."

⚾️ Jerry Pritikin, aka the "Bleacher Preacher" tells Axios, "I went to my first Opener in '47 and watched Hank Greenberg play in his first NL game."

  • Pritikin was one of the rowdy Bleacher Bums, known for the tradition of throwing back home runs from visiting teams.
  • "The only visiting player home run I caught was Keith Hernández of the Mets, and I threw it back," says Pritikin.

🎟 Eric Williams owns the popular Silver Room in Hyde Park. But his first job was as a street vendor outside Wrigley.

  • "I used to scalp tickets and sell sunglasses on the corner of Sheffield and Waveland," Williams tells Axios. "I hold fond memories of being there at Wrigley on those opening spring days."

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