Cubs fans behave during Wrigleyville celebration

A heavy Chicago Police presence helped keep Cubs fans in line and safe Tuesday. (Alex Valentine/Medill)

By Kayla Daugherty and Alex Valentine
Video by Haydee Clotter

In Wrigleyville after a key game, it seemed that there might have been more security personnel than Cubs fans.

Public officials and Wrigley Field event staff coordinated for three weeks to prepare for the crowd that poured out of Wrigley Field last Tuesday when the Chicago Cubs clinched an National League Championship Series berth.

Wrigley Field was packed with 42,411 fans Tuesday night, and several thousand more watched in bars in the surrounding Wrigleyville neighborhood.

Richard Guidice, managing director of operations at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management, said in an impromptu press conference before the game that authorities were prepared to control a potentially raucous crowd.

“We have the same planning group that meets for all the events, whether it be Lollapalooza, the Chicago Marathon or a Chicago Blackhawks playoff game,” said Guidice. “We have a plan in effect and ready to go to make sure that everybody goes home safely.”

Chris Carnak, a Chicago-area television producer, noted the crowds were more controlled than Wrigleyville celebrations of past, like the Cubs’ 2003 postseason run and the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win in June.

“It’s more subdued this time,” Carnak said. “The police are doing a good job of nipping things in the bud before they get too nutty.”

Authorities blocked off vehicular traffic around the stadium during the game and restricted all access to the intersection of Addison and Clark for nearly an hour after the final pitch

Despite their team’s securing its first National League Championship Series appearance in 12 years, Wrigleyville’s crowd remained relatively well-behaved. Disturbances were limited to yelling, pushing and frustration among fans who were unable to leave the neighborhood amid the congestion.

A half-dozen organizations coordinated crowd control, including the Chicago and Illinois State Police Departments, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CPD’s Bureau of Organized Crime, private security firm Monterey Security and Wrigley Field event staff. There were no reported arrests in Wrigleyville during the game, and just four misdemeanor arrests after, according to the Chicago Police Department’s media representative.

Following the Cubs’ wild card win in Pittsburgh on Oct. 5, Chicago police made nine arrests, and more than a dozen arrests after the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory in June, according to Red Eye Chicago.

Wrigleyville was peppered with police before noon the day of the game. By the first pitch, officers on horseback and undercover officers joined the patrol, and by the fourth inning, Homeland Security joined the action. For safety reasons, specific numbers of security personnel were not released.

Chris Carnak’s sister, Ellen Carnak, said the added security was effective. “We feel safe tonight. We’re choosing to walk the long way just to see what’s going on.”

Photo at top: A heavy Chicago police presence helped keep Cubs fans in line and safe Tuesday. (Alex Valentine/Medill)