Fan created a mini Wrigley in his backyard

Extreme Home Makeover has nothing on this

July 2nd, 2020

With the baseball season on hold and the usual hum of summer delayed, there's not much for a baseball fan to do. That is, unless they're handy with PVC piping and have backyard space to use.

While some Wiffle ball fanatics might build a custom strike zone and draw some foul lines, 16-year-old Palatine, Ill., high schooler DJ Dick did so much more. Dick turned his backyard into a miniature Wrigley Field, complete with a Cubs logo painted on the on-deck circle, ivy covered outfield walls and yes, even the iconic green scoreboard.

He originally started last year, but there wasn't much to the field beyond the wooden fence, some foul poles and a rudimentary scoreboard. So, when the coronavirus shutdown began in March, the Cubs fanatic (he turned down a trip to Hawaii to go to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series) got the time he needed to make his vision reality.

"Really, this quarantine was when I did everything you see now because I had so much time without sports going on," Dick told "The field was just a normal backyard wood fence with two PVC pipes for foul poles. It was pretty much all I had -- and a net behind home to keep [the balls] out of the neighbor’s yard."

With the newly found free time, Dick got to work. He painted a new scoreboard to match the one in Wrigley, added the flag poles and even attached the ivy in the outfield. That alone took three hours.

With social distancing still a must, the field has been an important outlet. Dick has been playing games with friends and teammates almost every day -- some don't even end when the sun goes down. Just like Wrigley in 1988, this place has lights.

Fortunately, he's got understanding neighbors, who don't mind kids chasing balls into their yards or shining lights to keep the games going deep into the night.

DJ's father, David, appreciates that.

"We live in a neighborhood without a lot of car traffic, so we get a lot of people who will stop by and look over our fence and watch a game as it’s going on for five or ten minutes and make their way," David said. "It’s nice. We invite our neighbors to come over and play as well, and they get in games with DJ and some of his buddies."

While the neighborhood spectators are nice, DJ's real dream is to have someone from the Cubs organization come and check out his replica of the stadium. Though it may look like Wrigley, it doesn't exactly play like the friendly confines.

"The right field line is the shortest part, it’s about 65 feet, center field is about 90 feet, left field is about 95. It takes a pretty good hack to get it out," Dick said. "It's definitely a pitcher’s park."

Photos courtesy DJ Dick