Road to Wrigley

With over 30,000 tickets sold for tonight’s Class-A game at Wrigley Field, it’s safe to say tonight will be a special game for a lot of people:

The fans who have never seen a minor-league game; those that drove up from Peoria, Ill; families who will be treated to a big-league ballpark at minor-league prices; the player development staff who get to see their hard work on a big stage; and of course the players who walked out of the clubhouse tunnel wide eyed.

Much of the fanfare is for Ryne Sandberg, who has done a great job with the organization’s 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds in his one and a half seasons at Peoria. He was the focus of a pregame media session with as many reporters and TV cameras as Lou Piniella gets before a typical Cubs game. Even he couldn’t help but say, “Wow, this is a big deal, isn’t it?”

Ryno answered questions ranging from his feelings being back to what he is telling his players to take away from this to the fight his team was involved in — in his absence — last week.

I’ll be in attendance tonight, updating the blog a couple times with impressions of the minor-league atmosphere and some quotes from the Chiefs. I’m excited to hear about the experience from two different perspectives: the players getting the Wrigley Field experience and the fans who are experiencing minor-league fan-friendliness for the first time. I’ve already heard about the dance routines, mascots, t-shirt giveaways and water baloons.

Here’s hoping I get a little splash of cool water — it’s hot out there!

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