WRIGLEY FIELD — The iconic Wrigley Field marquee came down in pieces Monday, but lucky fans were able to grab some unique photos and a special souvenir.
The large red sign at Clark and Addison will be removed over the next several days in preparation of winter renovations at the ballpark, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said Monday.
It's been about 10 years since the marquee was last removed from its perch, Green said. The sign will be returned before Opening Day 2016, he added.
Randy Gerwig had hoped to be in Chicago this weekend for a happier reason — had the Cubs won the National League Championship Series, he would have been watching the World Series at Wrigley Field.
Instead, Gerwig and his wife Stephanie got photos of the marquee's removal and a piece of free sod from the field. The team replaces the sod each year, so they're giving away 18 x 18 pieces to fans who want a piece of Wrigley in their backyard.
"I'm going to plant it in my front yard, and I told [my wife] I was going to have a little fence around it," Gerwig joked. The couple is returning to their California home tomorrow after catching a Bears game Sunday and the Blackhawks Monday night.
The sign will be taken down for safekeeping as structural work takes place as the Cubs enter the second year of the five-year renovation plan at Wrigley Field. The marquee itself will also undergo some maintenance work.
With the Cubs postseason at an end, street closures began Monday ahead of work. With the marquee work Monday, the main gateway was blocked off at Clark and Addison — a disappointment to Sophia Lozano, who was visiting Chicago from Tampa, Florida, with her husband Steve.
"We saw we couldn't even get close to get a good picture of the sign, but then they told us this was happening, and that changed our perspective," Lozano said.
In August, the team added the Toyota logo to the panel beneath the marquee — prime real estate previously claimed by Budweiser in the early 1980s. The marquee was first installed in the 1930s and was initially green, then blue, before it was painted the now-familiar red 30 years later.
The ballpark and the marquee itself (which will not be altered) are historic landmarks, but the LED panel below the marquee has "a history of supporting team and corporate partner initiatives," the Cubs said.
In 2010, the marquee was painted purple for the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic college football game, hosted by Northwestern University. Allstate also got its logo in the coveted spot.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.
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