Can the Chicago Cubs update Wrigley Field without destroying the history behind the greatest ballpark Major League Baseball has ever known? Change might be what Cubs fans fear most. Take a good look at us: we haven’t won for more than 100 years and yet we pack Wrigley Field almost every day. There was outrage by many fans when we added lights in August 1988. Cubs fans want Wrigley to remain the same as it was when they saw their first game.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts want to update Wrigley Field, and while most Cubs fans will hold their breath and pray that he doesn’t ruin our temple, I think he has an appropriate understanding of what can be updated and what needs to be left alone. There are traditions at Wrigley that no one will ever “update” because it would spit in the face of the baseball gods.
The ivy on the brick outfield walls will be there as long as baseball is played. I don’t believe the hand-operated scoreboard will ever be exchanged for one of those hideous mega-video boards. I hope they don’t change how close the fans are to the field. The bullpens are perfect where they are because as Cubs fans, we love watching the adventures opposing players endure while chasing a fly ball over the mounds. The brick walls that surround the field need to be left alone. I would also like to see the signage taken down from behind the plate around the dugouts.
There are some things I would be okay with if the Cubs decided to update them. The players could use better facilities. A new locker-room and training area would be a welcome addition for them. One of the proposed changes is to widen the corridors that fans walk through so that congestion will decrease. As long as the look doesn’t change, I think that would be a good idea. I wouldn’t mind seeing more plasma TVs in the corridors so fans standing in line for an Old Style can see the game.
I know the Cubs want to add more concession areas and bathrooms. Believe it or not, I hope that if they add bathrooms, they keep the style of the old ones. True Cubs fans don’t need automatic toilets and fancy new sinks. Just give us the “trough” and recycled Old Style smell. Increased concession booths and standing areas might cut down on some of the congestion that keeps fans locked in line.
I hope Ricketts understands that he is the temporary guardian of Wrigley Field. His ultimate job is to preserve the history and charm of baseball’s best park. Cubs fans don’t go to see teams that wins pennants. If that were the case, the seats would have been empty for the last 50 years. Cubs fans visit Wrigley Field so they can enjoy a baseball game in the exact same venue their parents and grandparents did.