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Cubs-Cards series heads to North Side — and Wrigleyville’s ready

The Wrigley Field speakers pumped a little rock ’n’ roll Sunday as fans lingered outside the ballpark, hoping to score an autograph while crunchy autumn leaves tumbled down Waveland Avenue.

Days like these don’t come around too often in October. Not on the North Side. But merchants who make their living near Clark and Addison say they’re excited — and ready for the first postseason game at Wrigley Field since 2008.

“It’s kind of a big surprise to all Chicago,” said Victor Rodriguez, who sells souvenirs at Waveland and Sheffield.

The Chicago Cubs evened their best-of-five series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, stealing home-field advantage as the National League Division Series heads to Wrigley Field for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday. Jake Arrieta, the hottest pitcher in baseball, is set to start Game 3 for the Cubs.

The two teams didn’t face off Sunday, but Cubs fans still lingered around Wrigley Field.

They took selfies with the statues honoring Cubs of yesteryear.

They gathered on Sheffield to peek inside at players practicing on the field.

Cubs fans look through a gate at Wrigley Field to try to get a peek at the players on Sunday. | Jon Seidel/Sun-Times

Cubs fans look through a gate at Wrigley Field to try to get a glimpse of the players as they practiced on Sunday. | Jon Seidel/Sun-Times

And an artist stood near Clark and Addison, painting a picture of the Friendly Confines.

Freddy Fagenholz, general manager at Murphy’s Bleachers, said he may have a few extra workers on hand Monday. But for the most part, he said, “We just expect more people.” And he said he’s excited to see more fans in Cubbie blue.

“It’s nice seeing, wherever you go, Cub T-shirts again,” Fagenholz said. “The ‘W’ flags are out.”

Rodriguez, who helps sell souvenirs at a stand nearby, said Sunday was spent making sure everything was restocked.

“It’s been good for business, as well,” Rodriguez said. “It’s attracted a lot of tourists.”

The Chicago Transit Authority offers increased train and bus service during Cubs home games, CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said. As of Sunday afternoon, she said that same level of service can be expected Monday.

The Chicago Police Department had no comment Sunday about its plans for Monday’s game. Cubs fans hope to have some celebrating to do when it’s over. To them, Fagenholz simply said, “Be safe, respect people’s properties and have a good time.”

“I just think the atmosphere’s going to be unbelievable,” Fagenholz said. “I think people have been waiting for this for a long time.”