When the Red Sox face the Cubs in the opener of a three-game series it will be the first meeting between the teams since the 1918 World Series.
The Red Sox and Cubs share plenty of common traits, most notable was each team’s inability to win a World Series until Boston ended an 86-year drought last season. The Cubs are still waiting for their first title since 1908.
Both teams play in parks that are more like historic shrines to many, and each team has a former player headed into the Hall of Fame this summer—Wade Boggs for the Red Sox and Ryne Sandberg for the Cubs.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “People are coming in from all over the country. This is the first time they’ve been here ever. I think it shows how baseball is alive. The games are going to be on national TV. I’ve got a few guys there that have played for me that I haven’t seen in a while. I’m looking forward to seeing them.”
Although these storied franchises met in the 1918 World Series, the Red Sox have never played at Wrigley Field. None of the 1918 Series games were played at Wrigley, then called Weegham Park. The Cubs’ home games were played at Comiskey Park to take advantage of the larger seating capacity.
Bronson Arroyo, Boston’s scheduled starter Friday, is looking forward to playing in Wrigley.
“That’s my favorite place to go to in the National League,” he said. “Old ballpark, tiny locker room, but good character to the place. Great vibe in the stadium, even during batting practice. It’s a little different than any other stadium.
“It’s more like a party in the afternoon. People come in almost like they’re going to the beach or something. It’s fun to play in that park and I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Arroyo will try to help the Red Sox win back-to-back contests after they avoided a three-game sweep with a 4-0 victory at St. Louis on Wednesday.
“The first two games weren’t too great, they weren’t pretty at all,” Wells said. “We at least get out of here with a ‘W,’ and that’s pretty gratifying. That’s something we can build on.”
Chicago is also coming off a shutout as it avoided a sweep with a 2-0 victory over Toronto on Wednesday.
Opposing Arroyo will be 309-game winner Greg Maddux, who has pitched well in winning his last two starts.
“You look for him to move the ball around,” Boston’s Johnny Damon said of Maddux. “The guy knows how to win. He doesn’t give in. We need to try to get on him early. He can definitely carve you up a little bit. He’s a really good pitcher.”