When the Red Sox came to Wrigley Field for the first time in 2005, things were a bit different. The Sox had just come off their first World Series win in 86 years, and at the helm of their ship was a 30-year-old Yale graduate who broke the Curse of the Bambino.
Fast forward seven years. Another city, another team, another curse. It all must sound pretty familiar to Theo Epstein. From one historic ballpark to another, the guy is trying to make lightning strike twice. And he couldn’t make it happen in better places.
Everyone knows that Wrigley and Fenway are the two most historic ballparks in Major League Baseball. But is one better than the other? Probably one of the best people to answer this question is Epstein, but I doubt he will be doing that anytime soon.
Both parks obviously have a lot in common. They’re not only landmarks, but serve or have served as venues for other sports, including football and hockey (the NHL Winter Classic), as well as concerts. Not to mention fans treat the parks as temples. Here is how they stack up in a few other categories:
Appearance: I think Wrigley is more visually pleasing. Fenway has an odd, almost oval-like field shape, where the outfield juts out past the infield. Wrigley is much more symmetrical, plus lush green ivy is a lot more appealing than a huge green wall in left field. Also, Fenway has a lot more advertisements around the ballpark, which I think are distracting and take away from the ambience. Edge: Wrigley
Updates: Fenway has undergone many more improvements, including drainage systems and the additions and renovations of seats. The park also has a video display on its main scoreboard, an addition Wrigley only recently added near the right field bleachers. Word on the street is Fenway also has nicer bathrooms than Wrigley, a feat not very difficult to accomplish. Edge: Fenway
Pop Culture: Both parks have been featured in a few movies and television shows. One of my personal favorites is Rookie of the Year, which filmed scenes at Wrigley and was about a kid with a crazy powerful arm who became a pitcher for the Cubs. More realistic than the Cubs winning a World Series? At this point, probably.
Another gem was 2005’s Fever Pitch, a story about a diehard Red Sox fan’s passion for his team getting in the way of his love life. The scenes at Fenway are fun to watch, made all the more exciting by the fact that it was filmed during the World Series year. Edge: Fenway
Tradition: There are the curses, but who wants to talk about that now? Both teams have the seventh inning stretch, but with Harry Caray and the more recent barrage of celebrities who have sung, it has become a Wrigley Field staple. The Red Sox belt out “Sweet Caroline” during in the bottom of the eighth, but tradition is everywhere you look at Wrigley, from the win and loss flags, to the “Eamus Catuli” sign in the right field rooftops, and the signing of “Go Cubs Go” after every (seldom) win. Edge: Cubs
Personally, I have a special place in my heart for Wrigley and will always prefer it over any other park, but I think ultimately choosing which is better is an impossible task. They both have their highlights and pitfalls, but they will always be loved and revered by the teams and fans that frequent them daily.
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