Cubs feeding off the energy of fans at Wrigley: ‘It’s electric’
“JAVY! JAVY!” chants rang out through the Wrigleyville air as Javy Báez dug into the batter’s box for a full count pitch.
The All-Star shortstop has been very vocal about how much he missed the crowd last season and how he feeds off their energy.
Who knows how much the crowd played a factor in that particular moment Monday afternoon but the end result was an absolute blast from Báez over the batter’s eye in center field. A few innings later, he homered again and received loud chants for a curtain call, to which he happily obliged.
“It feels great. It feels like a playoff game,” Báez said.
The Cubs increased to 60% capacity for this homestand, a leap from the 25% to begin the season. That comes out to just shy of 25,000 fans (24,824 to be exact) in attendance for a series with the NL’s top team, the San Diego Padres.
Compared to the last year-plus, 60% feels more like a packed house for a Cubs-Cardinals mid-summer Saturday afternoon game.
The Cubs have given the fans plenty to cheer about throughout the homestand but the team is feeding off that energy, too.
“I think the crowd is at an all-time [high],” David Ross said. “I don’t know if they’re excited to be back in the ballpark, feel the energy, summer’s here, weather’s starting to heat up. They like the way the way we’re playing maybe.
“I felt like [Monday] night as I was walking on the field, ‘Go Cubs Go’ was as loud as I’ve ever heard it and I’ve heard some loud ones. You can feel their energy. It’s electric. It’s nice, man. I’ve definitely missed fans.”
Patrick Wisdom has not had much experience in a Cubs uniform at Wrigley Field but the crowd has really embraced him this week. In fact, he was even receiving a few “MVP! MVP!” chants Tuesday night after hitting his 3rd homer of the series against the Padres.
“How does Javy say it? Large?” Wisdom said. “Man, that place was rocking. It was awesome to hear. Having the crowd noise and the cheers, it’s awesome to play in front of the fans. They’re friggin’ great.”
Willson Contreras — who hit the game-winning homer Tuesday night — agreed.
“We can feel the energy. The atmosphere is quite different than before,” Contreras said. “[The crowd] changed the energy, it changed our mindset. We play for them. We go out there to do our best and we want the crowd to have fun with it.”
Anthony Rizzo returned to the field Tuesday for the first time in a week after dealing with low back tightness. He never takes the environment at “The Friendly Confines” for granted.
“It’s amazing,” Rizzo said. “It brings everything back to being a Cub — it’s Wrigley Field, it’s the fans and hearing the roar of Wrigley is just different.
“60% seems like it’s 100%. It’s an amazing feeling to play behind it. You just look out and see how happy everyone is being back at the ballpark.”
Kyle Hendricks picked up the win Tuesday night and has watched this week as his teammates have thrived off the energy of the fans.
It helps that the Cubs won each series against the Reds and Padres.
“It feels like a packed house out there,” Hendricks said. “It’s super loud. Guys are just feeding off the energy. We love that. That’s what fuels us. It’s been so much fun just to have a good homestand here. With the fans showing up and giving us their all, it’s gonna be a really, really fun summer.”
It also leaves the Cubs daydreaming about what Wrigley Field could be like later this summer as society continues to open up following the pandemic.
“The atmosphere here [this series] with 25,000 people has been insane,” Keegan Thompson said. “I can’t imagine how loud it’s gonna be when it’s the full capacity.”