Flag ‘W’ takes over Chicago as blocks get ready to host NLCS – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) – No bright red “C”, no cute bear cub-like features.
But when the National League Championship Series moves to Chicago for Game 3 on Tuesday night, there will be no more prominent emblems of the homegrown Cuban team than the simple white flags bearing the letter W. Everyone Sports fans all know the W stands for victory, and the Cubs could use one, a 0-2 defeat to the New York Mets in their best seven-game series. The flags will be everywhere.
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The tagline “Fly the W” was promoted by the team on social media, and the flags were easy to see around Second City, hung from the windows of homes, apartments and bars, or flown over car antenna. They are all over the Internet, including an edited photo showing a giant W flag hanging from the arch of St. Louis. The Cubs say #FlyTheW has appeared more than 620,000 times since the post-season began; the day before the game against Pittsburgh, the hashtag was tweeted better than once a second at a time.
This isn’t a new marketing gimmick: The flag has been around for decades, and it’s been bought by Cubs fans outside of Chicago.
Around the end of World War I, the Wrigley family owned the team that also owned the Wilmington Transportation Company, whose passengers included Cubs players. They sailed in two steamships and then by plane from California to Catalina Island at a time when the Cubs held spring training there.
Cuban historian Ed Hartig said: “The logo is a blue flag with a white W on it.
About two decades later, in 1937, W arrived in Chicago. When the Cubs erected the famous scoreboard, someone – Hartig assumed it was the scoreboard designer – thought the flagpole above the scoreboard could be used to signal to passengers on nearby skytrains about how the Cubs did that day.
When the Block Team wins, the team will fly a green flag with a W. When they lose, a white flag with a blue L will fly. The team also installed two lights on top of the scoreboard.
“If you come in at night and the lights are on on the left side of the pitch, it’s a win. Hartig said.
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According to the Cubs, the colors were reversed in the early 1980s, and the team began flying a white flag with a blue W after a win and a blue flag with a white L on it after a loss.
It’s unclear exactly when the flags started going on sale. The popularity of the flags dwindled and flowed with the team’s fortunes. The last time the Cubs were available after the off-season was in 2008, sales skyrocketed.
“We are making the W flags as fast as we can,” said Daniel Schack, vice president of sales for Rico Industries, a suburban Chicago company that manufactures Major League Baseball-licensed flags.
The company sold more W flags in the regular season than it did six-and-a-half years ago – and more in the first week of the knockouts than in the regular season, with most of the purchases in and out. around the Chicago area. Schack said Rico Industries expects to sell seven times what it sold for the season – if the Cubs can dig their NLCS hole compared to the Mets.
Don Strom of Advertising Flag Co. “If they lose, it stops,” said Chicago. “We bought less because previous seasons happened to both the Cubs and the Sox (White).”
But Strom’s company has every case covered should the Cubs fail.
“We make L flags,” he says. “The fans of the South Side Chicago Sox are the ones buying them.”
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Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.