I woke up in the middle of the night to a notification that said the following, “Cubs reach $500 million deal with city of Chicago for Wrigley Field overhaul.” I honestly don’t think I could’ve read anything to make me happier at 11:30 other than a text from that girl I’ve been desperately hitting on for the last month and a half. Wait a second? I’m happy about them altering the most historic building in baseball history? Well I don’t think there are any plans to tinker with Fenway currently, but I’m extremely happy that Wrigley is getting its long overdue, desperately needed renovations.
Before we get into the Wrigley renovation, let me give you a bit of background. I love the history of baseball. I have the utmost respect for the game prior to not only my life, but the lives of almost anyone left on earth right now. It’s a sport with a richer history than any, and that’s part of what makes it so special. The time when baseball was the only sport and everyone kept up with the pennant race more fervently than their own medical tests is a time I wish I could experience. It sounds like it was a beautiful era, and Wrigley field was there for almost all of it.
Wrigley also holds an important place in my own memories of the game. the 1998 Cubs were my first true love and the earliest game I have a memory of is Kerry Wood vs the woeful Astros who clearly brought wiffleball bats to the game as Wood mowed down 20 of them. That game played such a major part in developing my love for the game that I cried when he threw his last pitch last season. There was nothing more exciting as a kid than watching Sammy Sosa sprint to right field. I anticipated his homers more intensely than a snow day, hoped to see his hop more than I hoped for a foul ball to be hit my way at the game.
I tell you all of this as a preface so you know I’m not one of those “new is always better” guys or simply someone who hates the Cubs. I don’t have any disrespect for the history of the game, and I love watching the Cubbies play. I do, however, think the time of Wrigley Field has passed, and passed quite a few years ago.
Blasphemy! Stone him! Cast him out of Chicago forever! Send the Bleacher Bums to waterboard him with beer!
That’s what I imagine you Cubs purists just said, but in reality, somewhere deep down, you know I’m right. The playing conditions are wretched. Not only on the field, but in the clubhouse and the facilities as well. It’s horrible. But don’t take my word for it, take the players. In a 2011 Sports Illustrated player’s poll, Wrigley was ranked the worst visiting clubhouse in the MLB. The Cubs side, while slightly better, still pales in comparison to say, 80 minutes north in Milwaukee.
The atrocious facilities have to turn players away from joining the team. Live like kings in Houston or even (shudder) Detroit, or go to Chicago and have worse facilities than you did in AAA ball.
As a fan, it’s never a comfortable feeling when a relaxing day at the ballpark means there’s a solid chance a slab of concrete falls on your head. I don’t know about you, but I have a little trouble concentrating on Marmol’s control issues when I’m worried about being crushed by the falling sky.
I’ve said for years that the stadium needs to either be torn down or completely revamped. It’s a shame to destroy a part of history, but things can’t be clung to forever. It happened to Yankee Stadium. That was a big issue at the time, but no longer. Do what the Yankees did and rebuild Wrigley to appear as it did, except better. Have a great clubhouse, quality training facilities, and keep the historic ivy intact. Everyone wins and the team will be better for it. That’s what I would do, but the City of Chicago has proposed less drastic plans. However, what they have in mind is still a great improvement, and fixes the visitors clubhouse catastrophe, so I suppose Chicago should take what it can get.
The city has provided a graphic of the current plan. Check that out below.
While not everything that needs to be done, it’s a huge improvement. Now the only question is whether half a billion dollars is enough for the Cubs to find a way to win a world series.