Pro baseball

Region Cubs' fans soak up Beyond The Ivy rooftop experience

2014-05-16T19:15:00Z 2014-05-22T07:06:14Z Region Cubs' fans soak up Beyond The Ivy rooftop experienceAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
May 16, 2014 7:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Let's put Friday's Brewers-Cubs game in perspective for a moment.

Cubs bad. Losers in 10 of last 12 games. Off to worst start after 40 dates (13-27) since 2002.

Brewers very good. Lead National League Central by comfortable margin. Are 5-1 in last six games.

None of that mattered to Highland attorney John A. Salzeider and the more than 200 friends at his 12th annual Wrigley Rooftop Party Fundraiser to benefit local children's cancer charities.

The Salzeider Family Charity works closely with Beyond The Ivy and its three impressive left-field venues that run parallel to Waveland Avenue.

Friday's party at 1010 Waveland was a big success despite a steady drizzle and 31-degree wind chill. Most of the turnout was from Northwest Indiana.

"If I have clients to entertain, I don't get the noise and distractions in here. It's almost like a suite here," Salzeider said. "One year, we had two rooftops going at the same time and I was bouncing back and forth between the two.

"If the game gets rained out, they let you stay to eat, drink and continue socializing."

Including an annual golf outing which Salzeider's charity hosts, he estimates having raised $200,000 to help benefit children with cancer.

There are 15 rooftops in all -- six along Waveland, nine along Sheffield beyond the right-field wall -- and, in good weather, they are packed.

The rooftop at 1010 Waveland is a brick-and-steel fortress, furnished on each level, with a bar and buffet in the Clubhouse, a bar and huge outdoor grill on the rooftop, and a stairway leading up to rows of bleachers rising into the sky and offering a great view of Wrigley Field and all the action below.

The food is great. There is good variety, a salad bar, plenty of seating on all levels, outdoor fireplaces and dozens of TVs showing the game.

Restrooms are immaculate. Some rooftops offer an elevator for senior citizens and those in wheelchairs.

Patty Purcell is Beyond The Ivy's rooftop director and, on a typical game day, covers more ground than a foot soldier.

"A -- you can see the game. B -- we have great food. C -- we serve beer and wine. And D -- you have lots of room to socialize, which makes it easy to navigate the building," Purcell said.

"Most of all, the rooftop is an event."

Crowds are orderly. Children are allowed.

"I'm just a life-long Cubs fan," said Dyer's Rick Dernulc, who was checking out the panoramic view from high in the bleachers. "Financially, this (the rooftop) is probably better. If I had brought my older son to the ballpark, you probably spend between $250 and $300. You're in a seat next to a person and a little confined.

"But up here, you can mingle, walk around and talk to people," added the 1984 Munster grad.

Tickets to Friday's rooftop party fundraiser were $125, which included food, drinks, giveaways and an auction.

"Conversation," said Highland's Jesse Solis, a first-time visitor. "Everyone's close together. Good view. Big windows. Great prices considering what comes with it. There's TVs to watch if you're getting rained on.

"You're going to spend a lot more money in the ballpark."

Not everyone on this dark, drizzly day came to watch the Cubs' latest misadventure.

Highland's Jane Mrvan, seated in the Clubhouse, was asked how much of the game she had seen.

"Oh, 10 percent."

Do you know who the Cubs are playing?

"No."

But she was having an absolute blast.

"The draw for me is friends doing something great for the community," Mrvan said of the Salzeider Family Charity and its many region sponsors.

"I've been coming here a little more than six years. I'm not a huge Cubs' fan, but it's a nice group of individuals to spend time with."

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