Coffee and Cubs.
It was the combination that suited the faithful who arrived shortly after sunrise Monday to soak up the atmosphere around Wrigley Field before the Cubs first postseason home game against the Washington Nationals, which begins at 3:08 p.m.
Matt Austin, 39, and his nephew, Austin Crawford, 21, woke up at 5 a.m. to drive in from Peoria and had no particular agenda as they wandered the perimeter of the ballpark.
“It’s worth it. We’re here,” said Austin with a smile.
Andrew Nolan, 15, had a natural burst of energy from the moment he opened his eyes.
“I actually got up to my alarm clock as opposed to hitting snooze three times and having my mom yell and scream at me to get up,” the 15-year-old Norwood Park resident said Monday morning as he stood by the players entrance outside Wrigley Field seeking autographs.
“Let’s go Cubs! Fly the W!” he said.
Stuart Torzewski, 51, of Lincoln Park, took the day off work to stand outside the ballpark and get autographs with his son, Alexander, 11.
“My wife was like, ‘Let me get this straight, the game starts around three and you’re leaving home at 8 a.m.?'” Torzewski said with a laugh.
“But every sighting of a ballplayer is a story. Was he nice to you? What did he say to you? In our experience Kyle Hendricks is just the nicest guy,” he said of the right-handed hurler who bested Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg in Game 1.
Six radio broadcast booths were set up under tents in the Park at Wrigley, the grassy knoll built last season by the organization.
Messages in chalk have returned to the brick walls outside Wrigley, which were covered with colorful designs after last years championship run.
Wrigley staff scurried in and out of the ballpark getting ready for the game.
And some sidewalk venders were set up to hawk goods by 9 a.m.