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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

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However You See It, It's Still Wrigley

Josh Martin

I would like to preface this article by saying that I generally believe in change for the better.  I think people can reinvent themselves and think a restructuring of congress could make our government function better.  I am very liberal… except when it comes to Cubs baseball.  When it comes to the Northsiders, I am a purist.  I cringe when anything plays over the loudspeaker at Wrigley other than Gary Pressy on the 1940s organ.  I loathe the fact that Bison Dogs are now offered at the Friendly Confines.  Which is why many will be shocked when I say that the Ricketts $500 million dollar renovation plan is not the end of the world.  Sure, I’ll miss the simplicity of the ad-less facades of the rooftops, and will frown upon the proposed 6,000 square foot videoboard[1].  And some sick part of me will miss having to urinate in a rusty, communal trough, though trust me the novelty wears off after awhile.

But this option was far better than the alternatives.  The mayor of Rosemont set aside land for the Ricketts to build a replica of Wrigley Field and the Chicago Tribune did not stop the speculation that the Chicago’s beloved Cubbies could become the “Rosemont Cubs.”  At that point I was going to settle for any renovation.  Put an inviting red marquee on the front, build a hand-operated scoreboard, let people watch from the rooftops across the street and decorate the walls with luscious ivy, and you can have a replica of Wrigley Field, but Wrigley Field can never be replicated.  The stadium has stood at 1060 w Addison for 99 years now and has captured the greatest joys and lowest lows of a historic fanbase.  When Babe Ruth called his shot there in the 1932 World Series, Rosemont wasn’t even a place.  When you stand on the field and think of all the people that had played there over the years- everyone from Honus Wagner to Hank Aaron- you realize that it is worth whatever the price to keep Cubs baseball there.  That sheer emotional and historical connection is what Rosemont could never replicate.

Included in the deal is more night games, concerts, advertisements and negotiations with the rooftops for the Cubs to get a larger percentage of the rooftop’s profits (currently at a mere 17%).  Essentially the Ricketts are spending 500 million dollars to try and generate more revenue.  Many were surprised when Alderman Tom Tunney and Mayor Rahm Emanuel allowed the deal to go through after publically displaying their disapproval for the Ricketts’ political beliefs.  But they kept to their sticking points and now the plan will also call for the construction of a multi-level parking structure on Grace St. by Graceland Cemetery about a block from Wrigley and the entire project will cost the taxpayer nothing.  The plan is only at a tentative agreement and there is still a lot of speculation that the Rickets could see trouble from rooftop owners, neighborhood protestors and city government.

But Cubs fans should celebrate everywhere because it appears the greatest threat to our great stadium has been mostly evaded.

Some fans have taken a harsher stance against the renovation and of course resistance to any change is natural.  Even at Latin students fear change.  Everyone remembers how negative the initial student response was to the change in advisory format this year.  As the year has rolled on most students have embraced the change and would probably oppose a change back.  Who knows?  Maybe the Cubs fans will learn to love the new Wrigley and perhaps the increase in revenue will finally bring a championship to 1060 W.

Relevant articles and visuals of the plan below:

[1] Recent developments may prevent the Videoboard from going up because some local Wrigleyvillians are claiming that such a measure would violate Wrigley’s landmark status.  Wrigley’s landmark status has prevented many renovations in the past, most notably an expansion of the center field hand-operated scoreboard to accommodate all MLB teams instead of only 24.

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    scohen3May 3, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I know nothing about baseball, and am a sox fan by default, but this article made me feel warm and fuzzy because it was written with such nostalgic passion. Bravo!

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However You See It, It's Still Wrigley