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Inside the Friendly Confines

The late ’90s were a relaxed time in baseball, before the steroids crisis and camera phones put players on their guard. That’s when photographer Andie Giafaglione captured these poignant moments of the Cubs’ day-to-day lives.

In 1995, after graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, photographer Andie Giafaglione went out on a limb and wrote to the Cubs’ then-photographer Steve Green.

In that lull between the 1994–95 players’ strike and the steroids crisis of the early 2000s, “people forgot about baseball there for a while,” she says. That led to an air of accessibility among players—a relaxed atmosphere that Giafaglione credits with both Green’s willingness to hire her off the bat, and the intimate tone of her photos.

A lifelong baseball fan who grew up seeing games on the AstroTurf confines of Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, she remained with the Cubs (one of only a few women to work in the Clubhouse) from 1996 to 1999—four rollercoaster seasons. “I learned more about photography in that time than in any other class or job,” she says. “Shooting sports as a young photographer is a total trial by fire.”

Almost 20 years later, the Cubs are in striking distance of the World Series, and 35 photos from Giafaglione’s tenure at the Friendly Confines are on display at the GMan Tavern (3740 N. Clark St.). Per Giafaglione, they’ll remain there throughout the Cubs’ playoff run. “Maybe longer,” she says. “I don’t want to jinx it.”

Below, she recalls some of her favorites.

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