Why is Barack Obama's portrait set at Wrigley Field? Some Chicagoans are asking

This may come out of left field, but Barack Obama sure looks like he’s posing in front of Wrigley Field’s ivy in a new portrait of the former president.

Fine, fine, we know the White Sox fan-in-chief likely would never do such a thing, but observers couldn’t help but go there when his and Michelle Obama’s official portraits were unveiled Monday at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

It’s part of a tradition for former presidents, and the artist Obama chose to immortalize him is New York-based painter Kehinde Wiley, who often portrays his subjects in grandiose style in front of flowery or ornate backgrounds.

In Obama’s painting, the former president is sitting in a chair, arms folded in front of a background that, as National Public Radio notes, is “typical of a Wiley painting, is a riotous pattern of intense green foliage.” During a news conference, Wiley said he used flowers and greenery from Illinois, Kenya and Hawaii to chart Obama’s “path on earth through those plants that weave their way to the foreground.”

Well, to many Chicagoans or baseball fans, it more likely brought Wrigley’s iconic ivy to mind, and some couldn’t help but poke fun at the similarity.

“I like the Obama portrait a lot, but will admit my first thought was: ‘Why is he sitting by the outfield wall in Wrigley?’ ” MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes tweeted.

“Beautiful!” Chicago rapper and actor Common wrote on Instagram, noting that Wiley and Amy Sherald, who painted Michelle Obama, are the first African-American artists to be commissioned by National Portrait Gallery to paint a former president and first lady.

“This is a great portrait of President Obama. The detail is stunning. I’m just amazed that the Cubs let him sit in the Wrigley Field Ivy to do this,” Philadelphia broadcaster Jay Scott Smith tweeted.

“Barack Obama, a White Sox fan, has to appreciate the irony that his official portrait is apparently set in the Wrigley Field ivy,” Bloomberg journalist Derek Wallbank tweeted.

“Obama would b a ground rule double at Wrigley. Stuck in the ivy,” @HoboJohn420 added.

Twitter user Tim Masterson took it up a notch and mocked up a photo of Albert Almora Jr. leaping at the outfield wall while Obama sits in a chair between a 368-foot marker.

At least one Twitter user would have none of it, however. “No flowers at Wrigley. No Obama either. This is not Wrigley, don’t even associate that awesome place with this man,” @Hammerdownhanna wrote.

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