Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

About That Billboard in Left Field

Let's face it Cubs fans, Wrigley Field has changed. And it's been changing for a long time.

A lot of people want me to be angry about the new Toyota billboard that is going up behind Wrigley Field's left field bleachers. For right or wrong, I grew up living and dying with the Chicago Cubs during the summer. As an adult, I've learned to temper those feelings somewhat. I'll admit. I relapse from time to time. I've seen the lights go up in the late 1980s. I watched as the outfield bleachers were reconstructed following 2005. I've even watched them place Under Armour ads on the outfield wall doors. But the list doesn't stop there.

During the early 1990s, the press box was moved from below the upper deck to just below the roof. It was greatly expanded, too. During the 1970s, the dugouts were reconstructed and the locker rooms were moved. Many of the houses across the street were demolished and new buildings were constructed for the sole purpose of selling rooftops. Now almost every building across the street has bleachers constructed upon their roofs. Don't forget the skyboxes, the Captain Morgan Club and more.

As a fan of the Cubs, all I want is a World Series trophy. Several of them in fact. If a billboard in the outfield can generate enough revenue to sign a big player, than I'm all for it. I know I am liable to ruffle a few feathers here, but many Cubs fans are afraid of tampering with the history and tradition of Wrigley Field. I agree, there is an elemental of charm to the ballpark. But, look at the history. The team hasn't won a World Series since 1908. I hate to break to people, but the Cubs didn't play at Wrigley Field then. In fact, Wrigley Field wasn't even built yet. Since the 1908 season, the Cubs have only won one postseason series (World Series, NLCS, or NLDS). That occurred in 2003 when the Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

Other teams in Major League Baseball have made the difficult decision to part with their cherished parks. Across town, the White Sox knocked down Comiskey Park and built what would later be named US Cellular Field. The White Sox won the World Series in 2005. The St. Louis Cardinals demolished old Busch Stadium and then won the World Series in new Busch Stadium in 2006. The Yankees renovated Yankee Stadium in the 1970s, and then they knocked down what is arguably the most historic park in all of baseball after the 2008 season. Oh yeah, the Yankees won the World Series in 2009.

So in terms of the billboard, I'm OK with it.


4 Comments
stevenheinzel
Maybe that's what the Cubs need, billboards, instead of "has-been" ball players and "wannabes" that don't pan out. If that's the case tear down all the rooftops across the street and put up billboards! Seriously, I was hoping to see a new home for the Cubs in my lifetime. I don't see that happening anytime in the near future, though.
stheinz   Wednesday, March 17, 2010
billpearch
I really want the Cubs to take down the grandstands and rebuild Wrigley Field. I do enjoy the location, but they could rework the property to make a better ballpark. Sure, that would be inconvenient for a season or two, but we'd manage. I am sure we would have to play at US Cellular for a while. The Yankees did that in the mid-1970s. They played two seasons at Shea Stadium with the Mets.
Bill Pearch   Thursday, March 18, 2010
daverock
Wally Hayward, Cubs executive vice-president for sales and marketing, told reporters yesterday:

We are at a big competitive disadvantage if we cannot generate incremental sponsorship revenue in a tasteful manner that helps preserve Wrigley Field. We’re not looking to add a whole wall of signage out there like other stadiums across the country...We worked to create a sign and logo that would fit into the fabric of Wrigley Field.

Hayward's reasoning is complete horseshit. The Cubs are one of the highest grossing teams in league. They sell out every single home game. they sell tickets for a 20% "premium" on top of face value to their willing rabid fans before tickets go on sale to the general public. I can understand why the Sox and other ball parks allow advertisements in their ballparks, their fans aren't dumb enough to support a terrible team having a shitty season unlike Cub fans. they need the ad revenue to support their bad decisions.

I'm all for the destruction of wrigley field. but if they're not gonna build a new ballpark, then they should leave it as is. i don't want to see these advertisers sneaking in one at a time. i don't think it's a coincidence they chose toyota to be the advertiser; they don't have any plans of stopping.
Dave Rock   Thursday, March 18, 2010
billpearch
The Cubs are clearly copying the Boston Red Sox plans. Fenway Park has already seen a number of changes similiar to these. They now have seats on top of the Green Monster.
Bill Pearch   Thursday, March 18, 2010
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