5 Reasons Wrigley Field Is Better Than Fenway Park
Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are the two oldest stadiums in baseball, each one holding its own special history with two of America's most beloved baseball teams.
Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, sits on Yawkey Way in Boston, where the team has played every home season for the past 100-years. Step into Fenway Park and you immediately feel as if you have walked into the 1900s: there is a hand-operated scoreboard that sits in left field, the batter’s box is almost too close to the stands for many players’ comfort and the 37-foot steel wall known as the ‘Green Monster’ that towers over left field. Many baseball legends, such as Ted Williams, had monumental games in that park, adding even more history to this 100-year-old landmark.
Wrigley Field, or as Chicago Cubs fans call it, "The Friendly Confines," sits on the bustling corner of Clark and Addison in the north side of Chicago. Built only two years after Fenway, Wrigley will turn 99-years-old this year, making it the second oldest ballpark in baseball. The park is located in Wrigleyville, a baseball neighborhood in Chicago’s north side where apartment tenants can watch live games from their rooftops, and bars are packed with Cubs fans. The most iconic features Wrigley Field has to offer is the hand-operated scoreboard above the center field bleachers, the lush green ivy that grows on the outfield walls during the summer and the classic organ music that plays over the sound system in between innings.
While both parks are a “must-see” for any baseball fan, Wrigley Field has a bit more charm when it comes to traditional baseball games.
The Outfield Ivy
Part of Wrigley Field’s natural beauty is the gorgeous green ivy that grows on the outfield walls during the summer. While most outfield walls are nothing but, well, a wall, Wrigley has a brick wall that is covered by a tangle of luscious green ivy. However, the players aren't fooled by its beauty. Sure, the ivy is visually appealing, but it is doesn't offer any padding to the hard brick wall that sits underneath. Many players have gotten hurt from slamming into the ivy, unaware of the hard surface beneath. This is a feature of the park that sets it apart from others; it’s one of a kind.
The bleachers at Wrigley Field offer a one-of-a-kind experience while watching a baseball game. Sitting in the bleachers is basically one big party; it’s a group of loyal Cubs fans that are devoted to their team, and often have a few beers while cheering on their team from the outfield. Perhaps the tradition that the bleachers are most known for is the routine of throwing back a home run ball that was hit by the opposing team. If you refuse to throw back the ball from the opposing team, you basically become the enemy to the fellow Cubs fans around you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The Cubs operate on a unique schedule compared to the rest of Major League Baseball: almost all of their home games are played during daylight.
Because of Wrigley Field’s close proximity to neighboring apartment buildings, the team is only allowed to play a certain number of night games each year to cut down on the noise for the Wrigleyville neighborhood.
While the park didn’t even have lights until 1988, the Cubs still choose to play during the day, which some claim gives the players of both teams the disadvantage of losing the ball in the sunlight. Whether this is true or not as irrelevant, day games only add to the unique traditions that are followed at Wrigley Field.
Celebrities are no strangers to visiting Wrigley Field during the baseball season. Every home game consists of a special guest to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, which has included athletes, singers, movie stars and more. Often times, the celebrity will put on a bit of a show while they are on the field, entertaining the fans with an exaggerated throw to home plate, or running the bases.
The fun continues during the 7th inning stretch when a celebrity leads the crowd in singing, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” The guest singers always have something great to say about Wrigley Field, ensuring that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the crowd in this historic park.
Last, but not least, the hand-operated scoreboard at Wrigley Field sets this park apart from the others. While Fenway Park also has a hand-operated scoreboard, they have also drifted into the 21st century a bit with the typical jumbotron seen in today's ballparks.
You won't find that at Wrigley.
The only electronics used on the Cubs’ scoreboard is a small screen below the scoreboard that presents the player’s number and stats. The scoreboard operator sits inside the gigantic green board for the entire game, and updates the score of the Cubs game, as well as all other games being played at the time.