In response to Joe Pepitone’s new book about his life in baseball, Chicago Police Department SWAT teams and Federal DEA agents swarmed Wrigley Field early Friday morning and took the ivy of the ballpark’s famed outfield walls into custody.
Pepitone’s recently released memoir of his time playing in Chicago in the early 70’s details accounts of bleacher fans throwing him marijuana cigarettes, often called joints, while he was on the field. Pepitone would then hide them in the ivy until after the game, when he would retrieve them and, according to some sources, “get blasted the hell outta the ballpark.”
A CPD spokesman responded to questions after the daybreak raid saying, “At this time we believe the ivy of Wrigley Field to be the sole perpetrator to numerous accounts concerning the inebriation of opposing ballclubs and the pushing of drugs onto small market teams. Those slips and falls in the outfield grass, the rough routes run to routine fly balls, and the entire performance of the last 40 years can be linked to the illicit substances being distributed by this ballpark pusher.”
While the move is being hailed as a positive step forward in the attempt to remove controlled substances from baseball, there is some push back from current and former players.
“The drugs were some of the best parts about playing in that place, man,” said former slugger Moises Alou. “I mean, after the [Steve] Bartman ball in ’03, I just strolled out to the old ivy wall to catch me some green, if you know what I mean. I had to cool it down.”
The former Cubs outfielder was far from the only one to opine on the arrest. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one current player said that now he would have to hide his “Cheeba in his 3rd base glove. Oh, man, I shouldn’ta said that.”
Bail for the ivy is set at $1.3 billion.