The ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field will be bathed in artificial light Monday night,but Rebecca Cavet is one of many neighbors unhappy to see the end of the Chicago Cubs' daytime-only schedule.
And it's not because she's an avid fan of day baseball."We were planning on doing a lot to this house," said Cavet, 30, a commodities trader who moved into a home across from the ballpark two years ago. "But with the night games, I can see the property values falling."
With the coming of baseball after dark, Cavet and other residents of Wrigleyville, a neighborhood of narrow streets, three-flat apartment buildings and a sprinkling of small businesses, will learn if their worst fears of late-night noise and drunken rowdiness are going to come true.
But after more than seven decades of day baseball, the first night game in Wrigley Field history, pitting the Cubs against the Philadelphia Phillies, has Chicago buzzing.
Ten miles from the ballpark, in Grant Park along scenic Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago, thousands of fans unable to get a ticket to Wrigley will be able to join in the "historic event" by watching the game outdoors on a 15-by-17-foot screen.
"I wanted to show the game on a huge screen in my parking lot and serve beer, hot dogs and peanuts, the next best thing to being at Wrigley," said suburban car dealer John Tufo, who opted for the park with other sponsors of the baseball party.
Wrigley's $5 million lighting system went up this season after years of opposition from some neighbors. But the City Council voted in February to lift the ban on lights in the major leagues' only unlit stadium, going along with arguments by the team's owner, the Tribune Co., that night baseball would ensure Wrigley's future.
A handful of games are being played this year, with a limit of 18 scheduled for next season and beyond.
At Monday's Grant Park alternative baseball party, the sponsors are holding a drawing that will provide the winner with two tickets to the game, and a limousine to get there.
But that may be easier said than done.
For nearly 40,000 fans, getting to the game may be more of a challenge than fighting for the tickets that sold out in one morning on phone lines jammed with more than a million calls.
Parking on nearby streets has been limited to residents and business owners who have special stickers. Fifteen police tow trucks and 172 policemen will be on the prowl.
The predicted mess has some local officials and business owners scared that, despite all the hoopla, their cash registers won't ring.
"Who's going to go out for meal in Wrigleyville with all this game traffic and nowhere to park?" asked local Alderman Bernard Hansen.
Sam Toia of Leona's Pizzeria agreed.
"There's a parking problem around here with or without Wrigley Field - and I certainly can't see people coming in with these night games," he said.
Chicago police say they're taking precautions to prevent havoc.
But Cavet said she's planning to move next spring. She fears rowdy fans and noisy cleanup at the park.