Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740) & Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)
Recently, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has announced his plans to begin a $500 million renovation of historic Wrigley Field. This announcement has been met with mixed opinions from fans, sports radio hosts, and athletes alike.
I myself am a bit of an old-school baseball fan. I can gaze over images of the Polo Grounds for hours and just imagine what it must have been like to take in a game back in the day. Similarly, nothing makes me quite as excited as when a team announces that it is 'Turn Back the Clock' Night and that both teams will be wearing uniforms from the 1920’s. That right there is beautiful baseball at its finest.
I think this love for all things vintage in baseball came from my childhood. The first major league game I ever attended was between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers at old Tiger Stadium. Man was that place awesome for all the right reasons! Tickets were cheap, so were the hot dogs, there were plenty of seats to be found, and the neighborhood was much like Wrigleyville. Corktown was filled with sports bars, which made their money during baseball season. My heart and the heart of many a Tiger’s fan was broken when the stadium was deserted, and what was once a proud monument to America’s pastime began to deteriorate before the eyes of the neighborhood around it. Nearly a decade later, the stadium was finally torn down and now all that remains of my first experience with live major league baseball is a weed filled ball diamond and a flagpole.
This same fate surely would have awaited Wrigley Field if it hadn’t been for this renovation deal. For once we have an owner that wants to fix what is broken instead of run to something shiny and new. Ricketts wants to preserve a vital economic and historical piece of the city, and all he is asking for is a little cooperation from the city and Wrigleyville. Let’s face facts here people. Peeing in troughs and wading through spilled beer in the bleachers is great for fans, but it does nothing to help the players who are trying to bring you home a title.
Lance Berkman, a guy who spent a large part of his career playing in the NL Central, said he would voluntarily push the button if Wrigley were demolished. I’m guessing that the Big Puma’s opinion is not an isolated one in the big leagues. I mean come on, is it really any wonder that the Cubs haven’t signed a big free agent lately? Even when Jim Hendry was GM, the best free agents he could get were Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, and Matt Garza! Free agents don’t really want to come here because to the players, Wrigley is an outdated and obsolete dump. When you can’t attract good free agents, you can’t win championships.
So what are we the fans to do? Are we to keep going out to Wrigley to pee in the trough, drink the beer, eat the hotdogs, and if we get around to it, watch expectantly for our Cubbies to win the World Series? The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again while expecting the results to change. The insanity ends here and now! I am a selfish Cubs fan and I want to wear my Cubs gear with pride as my team breaks the curse of the billy goat! If that means giving up the trough, that’s a price I’m willing to pay!