I have no idea if my 18-month-old, Devin, likes baseball. Heck, I don't know if he even likes football. One thing I do know for sure is that he loves his dad when I walk through the door each day. That's a feeling that can't be beat.
A Chicago icon for sure is Wrigley Field. So we decided to take Devin down to the Wrigley Field area. I know Wrigleyville (the neighborhood around the ballpark) is known as an adult playground, and on game days there is certainly a lot for adults to do. But I'd also heard of other things to do on a game day in Wrigleyville, so we headed that way one afternoon before taking in a game that night.
Devin is so into dogs right now so my wife and I took Devin down to a little dog park near Wrigley Field called Wiggly Field.
Devin had a blast. He didn't care that it was all pavement and that it smelled, well, like a dog park. He was going crazy, pointing and laughing at the dogs. There were a lot of people throwing tennis balls and about 15 dogs ran after them. It was funny to watch and every time someone threw one, Devin pointed and yelled "BALL!"
We left Wiggly Field and headed to get something to eat before the game. Wrigleyville isn't really kid-friendly, but we did find a nice family restaurant, Messner's Wrigley Grille (3553 N. Southport Ave.). It's sort of a pub and grill, but they have family seating and a kids' menu. They were very nice and welcoming to us with a small child. I'm pretty sure they didn't know who I was, which made it even better because they truly were sincere about catering to us.
At the game, the big crowd had Devin looking around at everything. I've been to other ballparks with play areas in the stadium. You won't get this at Wrigley Field, but they do take care of families with small children. Wrigley Field is sort of known for the crazies in the bleacher seats behind left field. Neither Devin, nor I actually, would fit in there, but we had a good experience at Wrigley in the family-seating section.
We didn't stay for the entire game, but the funniest thing happened in the first inning. A Cubs player hit a towering home run. When the ball was sailing through the air, Devin pointed to it and said, "Baaaaaaaaaaallll" and his finger followed it all the way over the wall. It was worth a good chuckle.
Don't let Wrigleyville scare you off if you have kids. It's a little tougher to find things to do for them, but overall, it was a fun night and a good experience for us.
Devin Hester is a receiver for the Chicago Bears and father of Devin, 1.
See more of Devin's stories here.