After 71 years of “wait ’til next year,” Cubs fans now have to wait ’til the next game — if not longer — to see a World Series victory at Wrigley Field.
The thousands of fans who packed the old ballpark, joined by the thousands more without tickets who packed the neighborhood, just wanting to be close to the action, left disappointed but hopeful after the Cubs dropped the third game of the Series, 1-0, to the Cleveland Indians.
“My grandpa told me in 1969 that one day we’re going to do it. I just didn’t think it’d take this long,” Mike Traficanti of Carol Stream, said outside Wrigley after the game.
Traficanti went to the first two World Series games in Cleveland before attending Friday’s game at Wrigley Field. He also planned to be at Sunday’s game.
The lifelong fan said his grandfather instilled hope in him nearly 50 years ago that someday, the Cubs would hoist the World Series trophy.
“I think we have to win tomorrow,” he said. “We can’t fall behind 3-1.”
The mood around the ballpark after the game was a far cry from last Saturday when the Cubs clinched their World Series berth.
Joyous reveling was replaced with solemn walks to the Red Line or to nearby bars, all of which were already packed with people who’d been there throughout most of the day.
A line of Chicago Police officers, on foot and horseback, prevented the crowd from going north of Addison on Clark, forcing the throng to go east on Addison.
One sergeant, normally assigned to the Chicago Lawn District on the Southwest Side, said the department had opted to show its presence in an effort to keep fan behavior in check.
A spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications didn’t respond to an email asking how many people were in the neighborhood Friday night, but about 300,000 people flooded the streets of Wrigleyville last weekend when the Cubs clinched their first World Series berth since 1945, officials said.
Earlier this week, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said more than 1,000 local and national law enforcement officers would be in the Wrigleyville area maintaining order.
Hundreds of uniformed Chicago Police officers flooded Clark street from Grace south to Roscoe.
Along the populous stretch of bars, people who didn’t opt to spend more than $100 on cover charge stood or sat in the street to watch the game on TVs that faced outside.
Several helicopters, owned by both local TV stations and municipal agencies, could be seen and heard crisscrossing the area throughout the day.
Friday’s defeat had come despite a plea for divine help by Evan Wiseman, who was visiting Wrigleyville from Iowa.
Wiseman, standing beneath the Wrigley Field marquee at Clark and Addison streets, had said a silent prayer as the Cubs batted in the bottom of the 9th inning.
“I’m disappointed,” he said. “We had a chance in the 9th and we blew it.”
The loss still left Wiseman feeling eager for Saturday night’s game at Wrigley.
“I’m a Cubs fan,” he said. “I’m a perpetual optimist.”