High Five #5 - The Five Toughest Cubs Tickets of 2013

Today was the first day of intrasquad Cubs games down in Mesa, Arizona. 

And while the future of the team looks bright (OF prospect Jorge Soler homered, SS prospect Javy Baez crushed a ball that SS Starlin Castro turned into diving putout), this could be a long season. 

Who cares! It's still baseball. This year is our 5th consecutive year of buying the 9-pack of tickets. For the first time I can remember, the Cubs basically allowed us to pick any 9 games we wanted, with no April Wednesday afternoons forced upon us. 

Our tickets arrived last week. It's a mix of Saturdays, Sundays, and night games. A pricier 9-game pack than usual, because we only purchased games that were in demand - but the Big Games are always more fun. 

We'll be using the MLB At The Ballpark app this year to log our attendance at Wrigley, and on roadtrips to Brewers and White Sox games. The app got some pretty good reviews last year, and I'm curious to see what it can do. 

The Cubs haven't had a lot to play for in recent seasons, so determining the "Big Games" is usually dependent upon the time of day (night games are generally preferred, especially for weekdays), the day of the week (weekends are preferred), the month (June and July are preferred), and the opponent (Rivals and historically important teams are preferred). 

Last year, for instance, the biggest game of the year was a July Saturday night vs. Boston. The year prior, it was a Saturday night against the Yankees. Both of those were nationally televised, and in both cases, the place felt electric - like we were at an Important Event. 

In honor of baseball starting up again, let's take a look at the 5 games that are likely to be the hottest tickets at Wrigley this year. (For variety, only one game per series can make this list.)

5. Thursday, May 30 vs. Chicago White Sox (1:20 start) - We can usually count on the Crosstown Classic to be one of the more important series of the year. But this year's Sox games barely make the end of the Top 5, because it's a weekday game that falls early-ish in the season, so most fans will have to play hooky from work.   

This year, Cubs/Sox is a 2-game Wednesday/Thursday set at Wrigley, and it comes immediately after a pair of games at the Cell on Monday/Tuesday nights, so there may be some Crosstown Fatigue setting in by Thursday. 

Pretty much the least possible excitement for the Crosstown Classic. But still in the Top 5, because of the bragging rights involved.

4. Saturday, August 17 vs. St. Louis (12:05 start) - Cubs/Cardinals series are always in high demand. This is a Cardinals weekend series in August. I count at least 3 factors in that last sentence  which make this a big game. 

3. Tuesday, July 9 vs. Los Angeles Angels (Night Game) - The Angels don't come to town often, and their 2013 team is loaded. Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout. 

Summer weekday night games are seriously underrated. If you work downtown, you put in a full day at the office, change into ballpark clothes, and take the Red Line to Addison - and you've got a couple of hours of pregame fun in Wrigleyville. 

2. Monday, April 8 vs. Milwaukee (1:20 start, Opening Day) - Opening Day at Wrigley is always fun. The cold, the pageantry, the fact that we're still mathematically in the hunt for a few weeks. The first sign that winter is ending in Chicago is St. Patrick's day - but the second is Opening Day. 

This year, it's against a rival team, so it will be a little bit more exciting. This will be one of the very, very few times that tickets successfully sell for more than face outside the ballpark. 

(The next 2 games in this series are night games... yikes. Dress warmly.)

1. Saturday, July 13 vs. St. Louis (Night Game) - We don't get a lot of Saturday night games at Wrigley, due to city ordinances. When they do happen, it's special. When they happen against the Cardinals, it's huge.

This one got snapped up by FOX for a national broadcast, and it's easy to see why. The confluence of all of the Big Game factors - a Saturday night, in July, versus our primary rivals - puts this game at the top of the 2013 list. 

This will be the Cards' second trip to Wrigley in 2013 (They stop in for a 2-game mid-week set in May for some reason), but you can bet that it will be one of the toughest - if not THE toughest - ticket at Wrigley this year. 

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