In a season full of religious holidays, Cubs fans flock to Wrigleyville for a sacred celebration of their own– Opening Day. A new season brings hope and excitement to the north side of Chicago.
“We are very excited for this season, that’s partly due to the organization bringing in Theo [Epstein] to work with us,” Tom Ricketts, chairman of the board for Chicago Cubs said in an interview inside the stadium before the start of the game. “We want to give the fans what they’ve been waiting 104 years for, a World Series title for Chicago.”
Epstein took over the Cubs last October as the President of Baseball Operations. With the fate of this upcoming season resting on his shoulders, many fans are eager to see some positive results.
“This year is unlike any other,” said Zachary White, a photographer for FanFoto inside Wrigley Field. “They’ve hired new management and new owners. There’s change all across the board and it’s palpable. The fans want results. Hopefully Epstein is able to bring change this year.”
Despite a rough past, it is undeniable that Cubs fans have a long-standing devotion to their team.
“The energy is always astounding; there’s literally nothing the Cubs can do to drive true fans away from Wrigley,” said Cleveland Anderson, a sales associate at Wrigleyville Sports. “Wrigley, without a doubt, wouldn’t be the same in any other city. There’s a beautiful vibe that this city has. Chicago Cubs baseball brings people together.”
A new year brings hope that the 136th season opener will be a game changer. The Cubs haven’t seen a World Series title since 1908.
“There is a feeling each year that starts anew with cubs fans and there’s passion here unlike anywhere else in baseball,” White said.
With many fans arriving well before 6 a.m., the streets quickly became a sea of blue and red. One colorful fan calling himself “This Year Man”, was the center of attention in a Cubs super hero outfit.
“I have noticed that people tend to take me a little more seriously when I’m wearing tights,” said This Year Man, whose real name is Joel Radwanski. “I was born loving the Cubs. My first words were ‘go cubs’. My second words were ‘beer here’!”
With a long road ahead, many Cubs fans make predictions for the up coming season.
“I hope we win the World Series this year,” said Shari Clerk, a Chicago Police Officer. “We have a 50/50 chance to break the curse.”
Sam Bohne, Colin M. Hill, Ray Mayol, Austin Montgomery, Tianna Rosa and Tina Spenzos contributed to this story.
Watch a video from opening day below:
Listen to an audio clip of a vendor below: