Wrigley Field security breaks up a beer snake during a Chicago Cubs game.
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How Beer Snakes Became a Wrigley Field (And Sports) Tradition

Beer snakes have taken over sporting events, but the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field have a special relationship with them.

On Saturday, July 22, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals fans came together at Wrigley Field for a common goal: create the longest possible beer snake before security got involved.

Despite a rivalry that spans longer than 130 years, fans of the two teams rallied together to bring their empty beer cups to fans that began stacking them together. What started out as a dozen or so cups became 100, and then eventually so many empty cups were put together that a beer snake spanning nearly the entire top to bottom of the left field section was formed.

"This is supposed to be a hated rivalry," one Cubs fan named Freddy said. "But here we are having fun, laughing and cheering while our two teams play each other. This isn't something you see in other sports during rivalry games."

Although security eventually got involved, that didn't stop other sections from attempting to assemble their own beer snakes. The Cubs eventually came away with the 8-6 win during a game that involved multiple rain delays, but it was the beer snakes that got the fans in the bleacher seats going more than the runs that were scored.

How Beer Snakes Became a Tradition

Chicago Cubs fans build a beer snake at Wrigley Field.

Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Saturday's win over the Cardinals is far from the first time a beer snake has been spotted at Wrigley Field, or any major sporting event. However, the snakes have become a staple of sporting events in recent years despite their origin dating back decades.

While there isn't an official record, the first recorded snake appears to date back to 1969 at Wrigley Field. A picture was published in the Chicago Sun-Times after fans in the bleachers began stacking beer cups on top of each other.

Several decades later, the beer snake was spotted again, this time at a cricket match in Perth, Australia. The January 1997 sporting event described the creator of the event as a "snake charmer" as he helped assemble a 175-meter long stack of beer cups that spanned across the stadium.

Beer snakes have made a resurgent comeback over the last decade, particularly in both baseball domestically and cricket overseas. The XFL even adopted the snake as one of its own traditions with the D.C. Defenders franchise, which openly allowed the fans to build them as long as possible during their games.

While the XFL eventually negotiated to allow beer snakes to be assembled at games, the security at Wrigley Field continues to maintain its policy of removing the snakes. The likely reason for this is that the structures have previously caused injuries, most notably at a Canadian Football League game for the Winnipeg Jets where several fans were injured, leading to a permanent ban at the team's stadium.

Despite the safety concerns, fans still continue to form the snakes, and have even developed a sort of rebellious streak when creating them. One fan during the July 22nd Cubs-Cardinals game openly defied security by stacking more cups onto the snake despite being told not to do so.

While the fan was then escorted out of the bleachers, he was allowed to return shortly after, leading to a raucous cheer and impromptu "USA" chant by the Wrigley Field crowd.

Because of the fervor for beer snakes in the bleachers, there have even been times where the Cubs have given up on trying to enforce their strict rules surrounding the cups. Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney even lifted the team's policies on beer snakes for one weekend in June of 2021, saying that the team had decided to "let them snake".

Despite murky origins and safety protocols surrounding them, beer snakes continue to carve out a place in modern sports culture, particularly in baseball, cricket, and even the XFL.

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