CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The Chicago Cubs hit the road for Pittsburgh Monday afternoon for Wednesday night's one-game playoff against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But even though Wrigley Field will be empty that night, its expected tens of thousands of fans will fill Wrigleyville bars and restaurants to watch the game.
There are sure signs that the excitement and buzz is building in Wrigleyville – The Ernie Banks statue got a special new jersey, and playoff shirts and caps are flying off the shelves of local stores.
"We are just looking for some postseason fun stuff. Hats, shirts, whatever we can find," Cubs fan Rob Munson told FOX 32 News.
But even though the Cubs are hitting the road, there's no doubt the party will remain here in Chicago!
Fans in Wrigleyville told FOX 32’s Dane Placko they expect the area to be “crazy” Wednesday night for the game.
Monday, FOX 32 News was there as dozens of local bar and business owners gathered at John Barleycorn’s on Clark Street to meet with Chicago Police, heads of city agencies, and 44th ward alderman Tom Tunney.
“We are ready for World Series-like night, and that's what we asked them to plan for," 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney said.
Among the security measures that will be in place Wednesday night, there will also be parking restrictions to limit people flooding into the neighborhood, booze in bars will be served in plastic cups-- no bottles-- strict adherence to occupancy permits, and the possibility of street closures depending on the size of the crowd.
“We have to make sure that we, as a city, with security and with police, make sure it's a safe experience because this is going to be in the national spotlight," Ald. Tunney said.
The security protocols will be similar to those used by police earlier this year when tens of thousands of Chicago Blackhawks fans flooded Wrigleyville to celebrate the Stanley Cup Championship. Bar owners say based on that experience, they're advising anyone thinking of heading here to avoid driving.
“Take public transportation. Don't try to park because I think they're going have some of the streets closed, so it will be very difficult to get through," bar owner Lisa Hogan said.
Ald. Tunney jokingly reminded fans that there are watering holes all over the city – not just in Wrigleyville - that will be carrying the game.
The city may meet with bar owners again –IF - the cubs advance as far as the World Series. (But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here!)