Bricks, Ivy & Ads
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 15, 2007 11:58PM
Along with its manual scoreboard, one of Wrigley Field's signature elements is the brick- and ivy-covered outfield wall — alone in an era where most home runs clear walls of padded vinyl, printed with advertising.
The idyllic green backdrop of Wrigley's outfield will be at least partially altered, as ads will now grace the doors in the outfield wall that the grounds crew uses.
On Wednesday, the Cubs announced a deal with Under Armour that will have the ads appearing on the outfield wall for the next two years. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cubs marketing director Jay Blunk said the deal was made in part because of skyrocketing cost of player salaries.
Blunk expressed concern over what traditionalists would think about the ads on the outfield wall. But is it really so bad? Chicagoist doesn't really mind the ads — and we are usually very much traditionalists. We even like Wrigley in spite of our hatred for the Cubs (Go Sox!), because of its sense of history and tradition.
But all one has to do is look back at some old black & white photos of the ballparks of yore, and you will see that in many of the parks the outfield walls were chock full of ads. Even Fenway Park's famous "Green Monster" sported ads back in the day!
Fortunately, the Under Armour ads aren't that gaudy, either. Perhaps it doesn't have the timeless elegance a Coke bottle silouhette might have, but the simple black & white logo is certainly better than some gradient-laden, beveled and glossy-looking logo that some other company may have wanted to use.
Sure, we'de prefer to see the walls of Wrigley remain unadorned, but they do have that giant payroll. And Carlos Zambrano's not going to work for free. Let's just hope the two-year fee the Cubs earn from the ads is worth more than one of Zambrano's weekly paychecks.