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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: Modern edition

This is a fairly recent game, but it was surprisingly difficult to figure out.

This is a fairly recent photo taken at Wrigley Field.

As such, it should have been easy to sleuth out, right?

Not so much, and here I’m going to show you my work. First, you can see that the bleachers have been expanded, but there is no Toyota sign in left field. This dates the photo from 2006 through the first couple of months of 2010.

Here is a blow-up of the scoreboard:

The Cubs line (bottom left) pretty clearly appears to show the Cubs playing Washington, and three innings have been completed. Some of the other matchups, though, are surprisingly hard to read. This made it difficult to find the exact date.

The ivy looks reasonably full on the bleacher walls. This implied that this game was during the summer months. That turned out to be a red herring. Here’s why. Look at this closeup from the image:

That’s from the Lakeview Baseball Club on Sheffield, and its famous Eamus Catuli sign that counted up the number of years since the Cubs had won a division title, league pennant and World Series. There are seven digits after “AC” — that means we’ve passed 2008, since two digits were used for the countdowns until 100 years had passed since the World Series. It’s also my recollection that this count was a year “off” — in other words, the last three digits here appear to read “101” but this game is not from 2009, it’s from 2010.

Look at the ivy again. While there’s a lot of green, it’s clearly not fully grown in.

That made it a bit easier to find this game. It was played Monday, April 26, 2010.

The infield is being dragged as the Cubs take the field for the top of the fourth inning. The pitcher is Carlos Silva, the catcher Geovany Soto.

The Cubs were leading 3-0 at the time this photo was taken, blew the lead, then won on a walkoff walk drawn by Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the 10th inning.

This made the Cubs’ record 10-10. They lost their next three, then won three straight to even up again at 13-13, which was the last time they were at .500 in 2010. They went 38-61 after that through August 22, when Lou Piniella resigned as manager. Mike Quade took over and the Cubs went 24-13, a dead-cat bounce that made them appear better than they were. Their 75-87 final record placed them fifth in the then six-team NL Central, 18 games ahead of the last-place Pirates.