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Ghost Town in Wrigleyville: Cubs Fans Move On

Chicago street magician Douglas Simon entertains Cardinal's fan Modibo Omowale in Wrigleyville before Game 6 of a World Series match between the Cards and Boston Red Sox. - picture by Christa Smith
Chicago street magician Douglas Simon entertains Cardinal’s fan Modibo Omowale in Wrigleyville before Game 6 of a World Series match between the Cards and Boston Red Sox. Photo: Christa Smith

Wrigleyville was a ghost town on Wednesday, hours before the first pitch of Game 6 of the World Series; a match-up between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs’ rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I’m not watching the series,” said Chris Evans as he shopped for next season Cubs apparel in The Cub Store across from Wrigley Stadium.

Evans, a 30-year-old Wrigleyville resident, said he keeps up with the final scores of each game.

“I’m rooting for the Red Sox,” he said. “I don’t want to see the Cardinals win, but I don’t hate the Cardinals.”

Mary Janin, a 57-year-old caterer, said she wants both teams to win, but that she thinks Boston needs it more because of all that they’ve been through this year.

“They need something to feel good about to build morale,” said Janin.

And Eric Clark, a 19-year-old customer sales representative for Wrigleyville Sports said, “I hope the Sox’s win. It won’t affect sales, but the overall attitude of the customers and atmosphere during the game days when the Cardinals visit [have been affected],” Clark said.

Alex Rothlisbetger, a bartender at Barn & Company on Sheffield in Wrigleyville, said he sees his fair share of fans and has a preference on who he would rather see as the victor.

“In my experience, Cardinals are the fans that talk trash,” Rothlisberger said. “I’ll definitely be happy if the Red Sox win. I don’t want to see another year of gloating.”

And then there are those who watch merely for the love of the game.

“I still follow because I love to watch baseball,” said Jerry Lenon, who has been a Cubs fan for the last 30 years.

Without a Chicago team in the World Series, baseball season ended weeks ago for many fans and businesses in the Wrigleyville neighborhood on the city’s north side.

Cubs fans aren’t the only ones seeing the lack of interest as many servers, bartenders and bar owners have noticed a change as well.

“We’ve been mostly playing basketball and hockey since the Cubs’ season ended,” said Erin Suss, a 28-year-old waitress at Goose Island in Wrigleyville.

While Suss and other bar and restaurant owners said they haven’t seen a decline in sales, Cubs apparel stores have.

“We have seen drops in sales since the Cubs’ off-season,” said E.J. Clark, a University of Illinois Chicago student and employee at the Wrigleyville Sports apparel store.

Clark also said the morale of Wrigleyville has changed significantly since the season ended.

The Cubs ended the season in September with a record of 66-96. But, for fans like Manny Sanchez, a Yorkville resident who was sporting his Chicago Bears hoodie, said he stopped watching when the Cubs started making player trades because “it’s really not worth watching anymore at that point.”

Sanchez said he keeps up with the game highlights on ESPN and that, “it would be kind of nice if [the Cardinals] lost.”

While Sanchez isn’t the only fan wanting the Red Sox to claim the title, other Chicagoans moved on to watching other local teams.

“I’m a Bulls fan now, baseball gone,” said 48-year-old Willie Lake.

Contributing writers: Christa Smith, Michael Snydel, Jasmine Browley, Ke’yanna Johnson, Corita Mitchell, Sydney Lawson, Sylvia Obén, Brittany Delk, Jessica Wenck and Sheila Headspeth

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