Cubs rookies get ‘surreal’ Green Monster experience

April 29th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Jordan Bastian’s Cubs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

BOSTON -- grew up in New York in a family full of Yankees fans. When he was young, the Cubs pitcher decided to make things interesting. Brown opted for the rival Red Sox as his team of choice.

“I’m big on going against the grain, for sure,” Brown said with a grin this past weekend.

That background added another layer to Brown’s field trip with a group of his Cubs teammates on Friday at Fenway Park. Brown (the Cubs' No. 9 prospect) and a few other Cubs rookies -- (No. 1 prospect), and (No. 10 prospect) -- headed out to the Green Monster and stepped inside the famous wall to pen their names on the inner wall of the manual scoreboard.

“It’s surreal,” Brown said.

As the foursome walked down the left-field line in Boston, a Cubs fan atop the 37-foot wall shouted down to the group: “Hey, Pete! Nice homer yesterday!” Crow-Armstrong raised a thumbs up skyward and yelled back his thanks. Earlier in the day, Javier Assad, Miguel Amaya and Christopher Morel could be seen in the Green Monster Seats, taking photos from the top of the famous wall. Even more teammates explored throughout the weekend.

It was a rare moment when both fans and players were touring the old ballpark at the same time.

“It was like our one chance to kind of fangirl, you know?” Crow-Armstrong said of stepping inside the Monster. “It was cool. You know, like, all the Manny Ramirez moments in there. It’s one of the more iconic places in baseball, so it was cool to be a part of that.”

Sharpies in hand, the group ducked through the door in the left-field wall and began to search the wall for the perfect spots to sign their names. As they made their way through, they started calling out famous names they found. An oversized “Babe Ruth” autograph (clearly a fake, right?) led to some laughter.

“This place has so much history,” said Mervis, who said Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was one of his favorite players as a kid. “Just seeing all the other names on the wall, whether it’s fans or celebrities or other players, it’s just really cool to be a part of that.”

“Oh, this spot’s calling my name, for sure,” declared Crow-Armstrong, who put his autograph at eye level on the wall. Canario moved onto a cement step and put his name higher up. Brown wrote his name in all caps and then tried to memorize nearby “landmarks” so he could find it again in the future.

“It’ll be like a treasure hunt,” Brown said. “This is so cool. This is like a dream come true.”

Brown’s approach was smart, as the group soon discovered after veteran outfielder Cody Bellinger popped inside the Green Monster. The group cheered his surprise arrival and Crow-Armstrong offered Bellinger a hug. Bellinger told them he had signed the wall on a previous trip to Fenway.

“I’m in here somewhere,” said Bellinger, as he scanned some support beams with no success. “Where am I? Somewhere on the cement.”

Bellinger could not find his original signature, so he grabbed a marker and signed the wall for a second time.

“That was the best,” Crow-Armstrong said. “Merv and Ben and Alex are some of my really better friends here. You just spend so much time together. It was cool to be able to collect little moments like that with those guys.

“And Belli, too. I love Belli more than anything. It was just cool seeing him look for his signature as it was for us to make ours.”