Monday, July 18, 2011

Wrigley Field: Tear it Down Already

Washington Nationals Ballpark
(with my brother's finger pointing to our seats across the way)

Back where I went to college, "tradition" was a word thrown around quite a bit. That happens in a place that was founded and built by Thomas Jefferson. Tradition was often used as a cover for fighting change of any kind and preserving the status quo.

Now I'm not a native Chicagoan, but I have been here for more than 16 years, which is longer than a lot of folks. Longer than around a quarter of the population (since 26% of residents are under 18). Add in newcomers, and I bet I've lived here longer than 40-50% of the people here.

And I may not be a lifelong Cubs fan, but I've been going to games since before your average bleacher denizen was born.

In the past eight weeks I've attended four major league ballgames in three ballparks in two cities. I was really impressed with the beautiful facility the Washington Nationals built. Just gorgeous. Wide open with wonderful sightlines. Even the concourses -- which are like habitrail tunnels at Wrigley -- narrow and closed in and suffocating, are spacious and bright. You don't need TVs at the concession stands because you can see clear down to the field.

And, of course, no trough-style urinals.

I love the fact that Wrigley is smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Nothing like turning a corner on a block of greystones and coming upon a major league stadium looming above you. And I like the bricks and the ivy. Preserve that, tear the whole thing down, and put up something better in the same footprint.

Give the players decent clubhouses, the fans decent bathrooms and concessions and other places to gather, like patios and restaurants, and the owners a way to make the money they need to build a better team.

Seriously. With a losing record like this, what is it people are trying to preserve? Start over. Build a palace. Create new traditions. Maybe that will turn things around on the field.

2 comments:

David August said...

You may be forgetting that with a losing record, tradition, like the old stadium itself, may be one of the only things that draws fans.

Rob Biesenbach said...

Maybe, I suppose that's possible. They have had the lowest attendance this year in 8 years -- though I think that's due to no-shows, not non-sales ...