Road to Opening Day: #37

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As we inch closer to Opening Day, keep track of our countdown lineup here.

The Ivy

CF_Ivy
Aside from the iconic scoreboard and the marquee on Clark and Addison, the most distinctive feature of Wrigley Field is the ivy-covered outfield walls.  While it is a drag that the Cubs can’t advertise as much along the outfield as other ball clubs, it would look really ugly and tacky to have “Eat At Joe’s” or whatever spray-painted onto the ivy.  Despite the antiquated features of the ballpark that make the innards seem like a dungeon and the looming danger of concrete falling on fans’ heads, the ivy makes the viewing experience at Wrigley Field very enjoyable because it’s so aesthetically pleasing.  At the beginning of the year, when winter is starting to finally go away, the ivy hasn’t gone into full bloom yet and the outfield looks like it’s been slathered with dog poop and weeds, but closer to May the leaves bloom and it’s the familiar green we’re used to.  It’s a beautiful background that we use for our blog page, a very appropriate image for a Cubs community.

via HardballTalk
via HardballTalk

The ivy is so special that fans want to take Wrigley tours to get close enough to it to touch it.  Some even go so far as to want to steal it.  Despite the inviting blanket of ivy, the brick wall underneath is still super solid and players have gotten quite a jar crashing into it while chasing after deep fly balls.  I can’t seem to find the article now, but I recall reading that former coach and manager Mike Quade used to have Alfonso Soriano run into the brick wall for practice, which may have contributed to some of Soriano’s eventual speed-sapping injuries.  The ivy produces one of the most unique ground rules in the majors, and sometimes a well-placed carom can dislodge a previously lost baseball.  The ivy also allowed us to enjoy one of the best commercials ever with two Cubs favorites in Kerry Wood and Andre Dawson.

What year is it?
What year is it?

Ever since Bill Veeck introduced the ivy to Wrigley Field in 1937, Cubs fans have associated the lush background with the team and the ballpark.  While we’re ready to let go of many of the traditions, I think the ivy is going to be the toughest to eliminate.

37 more sleeps until Opening Day.

About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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