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Vintage Photos of Wrigley Field To Celebrate The Cubs' NLDS Win

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Yesterday, the Cubs made franchise playoff history. They didn't win the World Series (yet) or even earn a division championship, but with their 6-4 victory over the rival Cardinals, they completed their first ever postseason clinch at Wrigley Field. In fact, they've only won one playoff series at all in the century-plus since their 1908 World Series title. The first October champagne celebration at one of America's oldest and most beloved ballparks seemed like as good an excuse as any to take a look back at the early years of baseball at Wrigley Field.

What was originally known as Weeghman Park was built in exactly two months—including a brief strike—but not for the Cubs.

The stadium was originally home to the Chicago Whales, a Federal League team trying to break into the bigs with the help of a fancy new ballpark.

After the Federal League disbanded, Charlie Weegham bought the Cubs and moved them into his eponymous stadium. April 20, 1916, their first Opening Day at the stadium, was filled with fanfare.

After chewing gum magnate William Wrigley purchased the team in 1920, he changed the stadium name to Cubs Park, which only lasted six seasons.

In 1926, Wrigley put his name on the park. That same year, a second tier of seats was added to increase capacity to 40,000.

Wrigley Field hosted its first World Series in 1929 and was flooded with fans. The grandstands overflowed and spectators sat on the field or waited outside for a glimpse of glory. The Cubs fell to the Philadelphia Athletics 3-1.

The Cubs made it back to the World Series in 1932 but they were swept in four games by the New York Yankees. Although it was likely no consolation to Cubs' fans, it was during this series that Wrigley Field hosted one of the most iconic moments in the game: Babe Ruth's called shot.

They lost two more World Series in the '30s. Four games to two to the Tigers in 1935...

And were swept again by the Yankees in 1938.

It was during the 1930s that Wrigley was updated to include many of the iconic features that remain today: The ivy-covered wall, the bleachers, and the then-new scoreboard.

1940s:

The Cubs made their last World Series appearance in 1945. They were able to force a Game 7 against the Tigers but ultimately lost at home.

It was during that final game that local tavern owner Billy Sianis and his pet goat were ejected, inciting the Curse of the Billy Goat, which has supposedly blocked them from the Fall Classic ever since.

1950s—1980s:

Wrigley wouldn't host another postseason game for almost 40 years as the Cubs limped through decades of mediocrity. The stadium itself remained largely unchanged until very recently. Although the photography improved.

There was one upgrade in 1956 when the Cubs installed this moving ramp for fans to reach the upper deck. It was the first of its kind in any ballpark.

Hall of Famer, MLB "All Century" Team member, and "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks is honored on the field in 1964.

Ernie Banks in the broadcasting booth with Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse.

The team finally made it back to the postseason in 1984.

They'd end up losing to the Padres in the League Championship Series. But not before they tried to break the curse by inviting Sam Sianis, William's nephew, and his goat out for one of the playoff games. After last offseason's renovations, Wrigley now has a fancy new video board and other modern touches, but the biggest change of all is what the team was able to do on its field: win a playoff series.

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
Fox Sports, YouTube
Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Great Big Story, Youtube
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Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
Great Big Story, Youtube
Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:

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