GameDay ready for Wrigley Field
November, 19, 2010
CHICAGO -- Ernie Banks will be on hand to help sing the seventh-inning stretch outside of Wrigley Field on Saturday, but it's not certain which team's name will follow "root, root, root for the ..."
Ric Tapia/Icon SMIErin Andrews will be doing segments from around Wrigley for GameDay.
Banks will join ESPN's GameDay crew as it sets up at Clark and Addison before the Northwestern-Illinois tilt. The game made headlines Friday when the Big Ten announced each team will head into the west end zone when it's on offense.
"I don't know what to expect behind us," Chris Fowler said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I'm told the street's open, and we're at a McDonald's parking lot. We expect a good crowd."
The show is from 8-11 a.m. CT.
"We were over there most of the day today," Kirk Herbstreit said, "and to see that football field laid out -- and I know there's been a lot of attention about the wall -- but just to see that stadium with its history, and to see a football field on it ... I thought they did a nice job with Northwestern banners making it seem like a college football environment."
Herbstreit agreed with Friday's decision, and said despite everything, the players will enjoy the moment.
"I think the game, despite all the talk about the teams having to head in one direction, I think it's going to be a lot of fun for these players," he said on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000. "I think they wanted to avoid a potential disaster. It is what it is. I put myself in the shoes of the players and coaches, you improvise and adjust."
The event is sort of a coming home for Fowler.
"As a kid who grew up in Rockford, Wrigley Field to me meant birthdays every year, late '60s, early '70s," Fowler said. "I grew up a huge Cubs fan, and a huge fan of the Chicago sports scene. Lloyd Pettit doing old Blackhawks games was the reason I got in this business."
Banks will sing at approximately 10 a.m. CT. Mike Ditka also be part of the show around 10:45 CT.
"There may be some other Cubs greats," Fowler said. "It's not a baseball show. It's a football show, but we'll tip the cap to the Cubs and the great sports history of Chicago."
There will be a net behind the crew, "just in case there's a flying object coming our way," Fowler said.
GameDay's first road trip was in 1993, when No. 1 Florida State visited No. 2 Notre Dame.
"We turned the corner in mid-to-late 90s, when schools lobbied for us, and coaches saw the recruiting value," he said. "I never would have imagined this."