Chicago Cubs: Should they swap the brick for padding?
The ivy that covers the brick walls in the outfield at Wrigley Field are iconic to the Chicago Cubs, but should the ivy be replaced by padding?
The Friendly Confines, The Billy Goat Curse, Steve Bartman, “Hey, Hey,” “Eamus Catuli!”, Go Cubs Go, Fly the W, and the ivy are all staples of the Chicago Cubs. The ivy that covers the outfield walls as it comes to life through the season is one of the most iconic things about Wrigley Field. To get rid of the ivy would add to Wrigley Field losing its magic touch and the reason it dubs the nickname of “The Friendly Confines.”
It adds to the game, sometimes giving us a home-field advantage with opposing rookie outfielders unaware of the ground-rule double they can get if the ball disappears into the ivy. To replace the ivy for padding or some sort of see-through wall with a bar behind it would almost diminish the history of Wrigley Field and why it is the best ballpark in all of baseball.
In the 1937 season, the owner of the Cubs, P.K. Wrigley, was on a mission to make Wrigley Field something special or, at the time, different from the other ballparks. He wanted to remind everyone that Wrigley was a park instead of a stadium, hence why the ivy is on the walls. A lot of Cub fans would not be happy if something like this were to happen.
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They weren’t happy when the big fancy scoreboards were installed, some weren’t happy when the lights went up, and I could almost guarantee none would be satisfied if the ivy was taken away. Padding would be another step in the direction of Wrigley becoming more and more like the other parks around the league. Yes, it would provide more player safety, but so does thick ivy.
When walking up through the park in the tunnels with the “Watch for foul balls” signs, the first thing that catches your eye is that wall of ivy. And most of the parks that have the padding and have advertisements plastered on their outfield walls. So if it ever does happen, it would be because the current owner wants a way to make more money.
The ivy though is too distinctive to get rid of for more advertising space. It makes you feel like you’re in another world, a world with a ton of friends, a ton of fun and nothing to worry about other than the Cubs, and maybe getting a win. No other ballpark I have been to gives you that feeling. As a Cubs fan, or as a baseball fan in general, nobody would ever want that taken out of Wrigley.
All in all, the ivy should stay in Wrigley Field because of its history with the Chicago Cubs and uniqueness to the game of baseball. And to get rid of it would just be terrible. The ivy will and should stay and continue to make Wrigley Field a special place.