Wondered what other's opinions are on this article on espn.com's website: http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/9047502/wrigley-ivy-choki...
Very interesting. Some of the stuff the author mentioned in the article will never happen, but it does make some sense. I'm not a Cubs fan or from Chicago, but it is our favorate away field to visit. I might have a different perspective on keeping the traditions if I was a Cubs fan and knew that changing things would put more money on the field. In New York we just finished a winter chastising the Mets and Yankees for dropping their payroll. I know Cubs fans are a different breed, but I wonder if they'd be OK with dropping some of their traditions might help them get a couple of extra big time free angents?
Thanks Nathan and John, really interesting to hear from the Chicago perspective. It's clear that a Cubs World Series would trump anything they would have to do to the stadium. When the old Yankee Stadium was torn down in New York, many had the opposite reaction. Old time Yankee Fans feared a curse for tearing down the House that Babe built. However, with all the Yankee success and the fact that the field was modernized in the early 80's it isn't comparable to the Wrigley Field situation. We will be visiting Wrigley this summer for the third year in a row. Hopefully I'l get to speak to a few locals.
I love Wrigley Field. It is the first place I ever saw a game. My first date with my wife was there. It is the home of many happy memories. It is iconic. I would love to see the Cubs win the World Series there.
It is also antiquated and cramped. It is a pain to get to for those folks for whom public transportation is not necessarily convenient (like me.) Tickets are expensive and frustratingly disproportionate with the current product on the field.
For a lot of fans, when a new owner takes over the fans get to experience a crazy spending spree on highly touted free agents as an effort is made to improve the major league team and get fans excited. For Cubs fans, the new ownership was so gaga over an executive, Theo Epstein, that they actually had to compensate the Red Sox to acquire him. They have spent money improving facilities in the Dominican Republic and broke ground on a new spring training facility. They poured some money into Wrigley Field and erected a Toyota sign and a giant Macaroni and Cheese noodle. Most tellingly, they slashed the payroll and have put a garbage team on the field. Not surprisingly however, they reportedly had the highest operating profit in Major League Baseball in 2012, according to Forbes.
What the article fails to mention is that it was the Cubs that sued the owners of the rooftops in the first place, claiming that the rooftop owners were not entitled to “steal” the baseball game product from the Cubs. As a negotiation tactic, the Cubs even erected screens that would have severely limited the views from the rooftops, until the rooftop owners acquiesced and the sides were able to come to a revenue sharing agreement. As a result, the rooftop owners then had to comply with City building codes and had to make costly improvements to their buildings, both structurally and for accessibility. Assuming the revenue sharing deal with the Cubs legitimized the rooftop entertainment business, it seems reasonable that the alderman would seek to protect the rights of the rooftop owners to prevent the Cubs from erecting signage that would encroach on the view from the rooftops.
On the other hand, regarding the protection of the rights of quiet enjoyment of the neighbors, I have a real problem with people complaining about the disruptions to their lives when they chose to live so close to the ballpark. Boo hoo. Were these people surprised that upwards of 35,000 people coming to their neighborhood at least 81 days of the year to attend the games and frequent the dozens of bars in the area would not be a disruption? I have no sympathy for the neighbors and personally would love Friday and Saturday night games.
Just recently, it was reported that suburban Rosemont had offered the Cubs a 25-acre parcel, for free, if the Cubs agreed to build a new ballpark there. Instead of considering the offer and putting a little money into checking out the feasibility of the move, the Ricketts’ family publicly dismissed the offer out-of-hand, apparently failing to consider the leverage it might have provided in their efforts to get the City of Chicago to relax some of the restrictions regarding night games and advertising.
If the Ricketts want to pour their money into major renovations of Wrigley Field, I am certainly not going to object to how they want to spend their own money. If they want to erect more advertising, I do not mind. As a long-suffering Cubs fan, my only wish is that the Cubs win the World Series in my lifetime. Frankly, I do not care whether it is at a revamped Wrigley Field or some other ballpark.
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