CHICAGO (CBS) — They work about as close as you can get to Wrigley Field without sitting in the stands, but they might not be able to watch much of what’s happening on the field when the Cubs begin the National League Championship Series on Saturday.
While anticipation is building for the Cubs’ showdown with the Dodgers, the firefighters at Engine Company 78 said their attention can’t be on the playoffs, even though they’re some of the Cubs’ biggest fans.
Engine Company 78 sits across the street from Wrigley at the corner of Waveland and Seminary avenues. At 122 years old, the firehouse has been there longer than the Friendly Confines.
Firefighter Tom Schwartzers said working so close to Wrigley Field is “a really unique experience.”
“There’s a lot of energy always in the neighborhood, even when the Cubs aren’t here, but especially now that they’re in the playoffs. So you definitely get an uptake in calls, but it’s nice to be part of all of it, and be out there on the streets,” he said.
Unfortunately for Schwartzers and his fellow firefighters, the firehouse is especially busy during the playoffs.
“With all the increase in people in the neighborhood, we definitely get a bit more calls,” he said.
Firefighter Sammer Fakhoury said, unfortunately, a lot of the calls are about bar fights.
“We are really busy during the game, mainly more towards people being intoxicated and falling,” he said.
The firefighters doubt this weekend will be any different. While their TV will be tuned into the games on Saturday and Sunday, they said it’s highly unlikely they’ll be watching, but that doesn’t bother them.
“You’re still out there. You still see the neighborhood. You still see all the fans out there. So it’s all part of it one way or another,” Schwartzers said. “It’s a great experience.”
During the NLCS last year, the so-called Wrigley Firefighters were taken out of routine service and specifically assigned to special duty to make sure fans in the area stayed in line and weren’t rowdy. They said they have not yet received specific orders for this year’s NLCS.
Either way, the firefighters are predicting the Cubs will put an end to their 108-year World Series drought.
“We do anticipate the Cubs winning the World Series,” Fakhoury said.