It’s not as if the Cubs have been good in recent years, but I think either of the teams in the College World Series could give the Cubs a run for their money in a weekend set. But if you’re a tourist looking to take in the atmosphere of Wrigley Field, just know going in it doesn’t look like itself.
The reason for the outfield condition, concerts.
On back-to-back nights on June 8 and June 9, Wrigley Field was host to Rogers Walters The Wall and Brad Paisley’s Virtual Reality Tour, respectively. With setting up stages, taking it down, setting another up and tearing it down, it’s no surprise the grass looks dead, beat up and just down right pitiful.
Now, concerts at Wrigley aren’t an uncommon thing. Jimmy Buffett usually makes an appearance at the park for his own concert. But the field was a disgrace last weekend against the Boston Red Sox.
Even though both teams were at the bottom of their respective divisions, it was still a sight to see two of the oldest and most storied franchises square off at the second oldest ballpark. What was sad was having the final two games of the series being aired on national television and displaying our wonderful ivy covered walls and the dead grass in front of it. It’s bad enough the sports world believes we aren’t capable of putting together a winning team, but now we prove we can’t even maintain our own outfield grass.
The simple solution would be to forbid any and all concerts from taking place at Wrigley. That’s as simple as figuring out when this team will be contending.
The concerts bring in revenue and with the Cubs struggling lately, drawing large paying crowds to the park is easier said than done.
Last June, the Cubs were on MLB’s list of teams in violation of debt service rules. In other words, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs cannot borrow to pay existing debt but must raise revenue or reduce expenses to pay existing non-player-related debt.
The concerts aren’t over as Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band will be at the historic ballpark on September 7.
Another solution to the grass looking like my neighbors backyard may be to do the unthinkable—rebuild/relocate Wrigley from the ground up, just like the team.
I’m fully prepared to take on the heat I’m sure to get for this. Let’s first start off by making it clear I love the Cubs and Wrigley, so this is a biased opinion.
Having a ballpark in the middle of a neighborhood is the coolest thing to see, especially when the rooftops across Waveland and Sheffield are packed when the Cubs are actually relevant. The down side is having to find a place to park and if you do, it’s about a mile walk to the park. If the Cubs would be able to find a place to build a new stadium, with a parking lot, they’d be reeling in the revenue.
Another part that I don’t really need to get into is the bathrooms.
Wrigley Field is still the coolest park to go to and no matter how many times you go you still get that rush of excitement when you see the manual scoreboard and ivy walls. All I propose is making the park more modern on the interior or the behind the scenes areas.
The practice facilities are not comparable to other teams. The tunnel to get from the clubhouse to the dugout is longer than it needs to be. And even though I’ve never worked there, I have a strong feeling the offices or for us media personnel, doubt the press boxes are to die for.
You can still keep the ivy walls, the baskets, the manual scoreboard, the marquee sign and whatever else you say makes Wrigley unique if it comes the conclusion to relocate the park.
Everyone says there isn’t a bad seat there, well there are. There are plenty of seats where a column structure is blocking fans view of the field, requiring them to lean to the side to see the action in order to support the architecture of the park.
I’m neither for nor against replacing Wrigley. But if the game itself is being modernized before our eyes with the use of technology to determine the proper call on the field, then maybe it’s time to modernize every single aspect of the game.
Follow on Twitter @MidwayMars