Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wrigley Field Should Be Torn Down

Last week, my company had a Plant Manager's meeting at our place, and one "activity" I got to be involved with was a Cubs game on Wednesday night. We actually rented two of the "skyboxes" where you have a room, food, and beer, as well as 15 seats per box. What a way to see Wrigley for the first time, right (or maybe you think sitting in the bleachers is the way to go? More on this later)?

All 30 of us took a bus to Chicago from NW Indiana. The bus driver, however, got off Lake Shore Drive WAY before he should have. You can roll off of Lake Shore right on to Addison and go directly to the game. This guy took us basically through the heart of the north side, passing the water tower that is the only remnant left after the Chicago fire.

We passed a place I had a burger at around 1:00 a.m. one night back in 1995. It's close to Barry Avenue, where a few of my friends used to live. This is the cool part of Chicago. Lots of great restaurants and taverns. I wrote about my visits here in my zine, The Sh!tty, back in those days.

We get to Wrigley, and it's the 3rd inning. There's a guy in the street with a glove and a ball he said was Soriano's lead-off homer in the first inning. It would be the only run of the night for either team.

As we wind our way to the boxes, I'm amazed at how old and open looking the ball park is. My first thought is, "This reminds me of John O'Donnell stadium when I was a kid." Since then, JO'D has had a major facelift. And it's a Single-A, minor league ballpark.

It's basically a maze to get to the boxes. You go up some stairs, wind your way backwards, down some stairs, and up some stairs again to get on a catwalk that goes to the doors of the boxes. As you walk along this catwalk, under a roof, you can look down into the seats of the people below you. There is NO WAY these people can watch pop up flies because of the roof and the skyboxes in front of them. Made me want to get my guitar and go out on the catwalk. "Hi there. I wrote a little song I'd like to play for you right now. Goes somethin' like this..." It was just bizarre.

I guess it didn't always used to be this way. They put the skyboxes in to make more money, along with the lights for night games, that started in 1988.

The skyboxes were a bit crowded for 15 people. Once people got a beer and some food, they rambled out into the seats and it eased up a bit. The guy I went to Dark Lord Day with switched one of the TVs to the White Sox game. We ended up watching the end of that one after the Cubs game was done.

One of the guys I was with was asking about the netting above us on the roof. I said, "Don't worry, that netting is there to protect us from large slabs of concrete falling from the roof." Unless I was down on the front row, I couldn't see any pop-ups. The folks in the bleachers looked like they were having fun. They were yelling stuff in unison during the late innings. Sort of reminded me of line dancing for some reason.

I was looking for the pitch count at one time. It finally showed up on one of the 3 electronic score boards. That big green monstrosity in center field needs to be updated. There was no place to see the lineup.

I was asked by one of the Plant Manager's, "Isn't this great? Think of the history here." I just wasn't impressed. Now, Yankee Stadium, with it's 26 World Series championships, that's pretty amazing. How many championships have the Cubs won in Wrigley? None. Yet people still keep coming, and I really don't understand why.

I want to go into a rant about mediocrity and apathy right about here, but I don't believe I will. I understand some of the appeal with Wrigley, but I also think that if Yankee stadium and Lambeau field can undergo successful renovation, then Wrigley can as well, without "losing the charm." People tell me it's a great place to watch a ball game and drink beer on a summer day, well, great. There are probably other outdoor places within Chicago where you can get a beer and it won't set you back $5.75.

Anyway, if anyone wants a seldomly worn, fitted Cubs hat, size 7 and a quarter, I'll give it to you. I'm sticking with the south siders from now on.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a seat in the club box area for 50 bucks and you will understand all of the great parts of watching a game at Wrigley.

8:50 PM


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