Opening day is coming up soon, and most of the attention has already focused on the new screen in right field at Wrigley. I’m curious to see it myself, since new things always have some sense of novelty about them.
But there’s something else that will be new for this year, as a result of the freakishly warm weather we’ve had in Chicago this year. I noticed it today, and I’m sure it will also be seen at Wrigley earlier than we’re used to this year. If you couldn’t guess, I’m referring to the ivy that adorns the outfield wall.
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In seasons gone by, the ivy didn’t make an appearance until May at the earliest, and by June, it would start to resemble the ballpark that we recognize. But with spring’s early arrival this year, we’ll see the ivy come in a lot sooner than ever before. Chicago’s flowers and trees are blooming well ahead of schedule, so there’s no reason to believe the ivy won’t also follow suit.
Does this mean that the team’s slow starters (Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza come to mind for last season) will do better without so much cold weather in April? Let’s hope so. Does this mean that Randy Wells, or others in the starting rotation, won’t get hurt again after their first start of the season? Again, let’s hope so.
Since nobody wants to see a slow start to the Theo Epstein era, playing without the cold-weather excuse seems like it might help, on some level at least. But we’ll all find out about this soon enough.