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07/12/08 2:28 PM ET
Wrigley Field captivates Giants rookies
Excited to play for the first time at the Friendly Confines
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Giants rookies making their first visit to Wrigley Field sounded as excited as any tourist as they recounted their experience. "Yesterday, I was definitely like, 'Wow,' " right-hander Sergio Romo said Saturday. "Then batting practice started and it was like the movies, where you had some hecklers. It was fun." "Growing up watching baseball, you always hear about Wrigley Field," shortstop Emmanuel Burriss said. "To actually be here and be a part of it is great." Echoing Burriss, just being in the Friendly Confines was enough to give left-hander Alex Hinshaw goosebumps. Some visiting players, jaded by years in the Major Leagues, complain about Wrigley's cramped clubhouse and the dank tunnels. Not Hinshaw, who sensed the history his surroundings exuded. "Legends were in this clubhouse, walking through the same hallways," Hinshaw said. "People like Babe Ruth came through this clubhouse. It's astonishing. ... It's like a time machine." Romo related that watching telecasts of games from Wrigley aroused his curiosity about the ivy covering the outfield walls. So his goal during this series was simple: Touch the ivy, which he did during Friday's batting practice. "Somebody hit a ball to the warning track and I caught it, so I just backed up into the ivy," Romo said. "It was pretty cool." Tradition can come in less-obvious forms, too. When Burriss and Rich Aurilia reached for a stick of gum in the dugout, the 13-year veteran infielder made a keen observation. "He was telling me that was the same gum tray that was there when he was a rookie," Burriss said. Hinshaw was astounded not by inanimate objects, but by the fans, who have long contributed to Wrigley's colorful atmosphere. "You go to some parks, and the fans are just there to hang out," Hinshaw said. "Here, they pay attention to every pitch and they're involved in everything. It's like they have 40,000 players on one team. Forty thousand people want to be in the dugout slapping fives. 'Passionate' is an understatement. Fans like that are special."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.