May 16, 2012

"Why Wrigley Field Must Be Destroyed."

It's the only way for the Cubs to become a winning team. What's so bad about Wrigley?
1. The park is schizo.

.... It looks like a home-run hitter's park, and when the wind blows out, it is. But when the wind screams off the lake, the park turns nasty. Even balls headed for the seats are reduced to routine flies. For the Cubs, MacPhail said, every game might as well be away...
2. Wrigley Field is too damn nice.

Going to the park is so pleasant, the game itself has become secondary. The sunshine, the lake air, the red brick—that's what draws the crowds. The bleachers are filled even when the team is terrible, which takes pressure off of the owners....

3. Losing some of the time makes you want to win; losing all of the time makes you a loser....
Extreme. I like historic preservation, and it's nice for the fans to have a nice day in the park, and convenient for the other teams to have this losing team to beat. But the losing record really is shocking, especially compared to the winning record before the team moved to Wrigley in 1916:
The Cubs pre-Wrigley: 2,971 wins, 2,152 losses.

The Cubs since (before Monday): 7,382 wins, 7,703 losses.

61 comments:

Scott M said...

How the times change. Having grown up in Chicago, I can remember when it was a Joe Biden that they were going to add lights to Wrigley. LIGHTS! SACRILEGE!!!

I have many fond memories of weekday afternoon games at Wrigley, but have long since hung my martyr cross on the wall after moving to St Louis. In STL, we recently ended the first Busch Stadiums' run and replaced it with a sparkling new stadium that I have yet to run into a detractor about. Now, if we could just keep our beer garden tents anchored properly.

If Wrigley DOES get the axe and rebuilt, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, Hollywood, take advantage of it. Use it to film a post-apocalyptic something and blow the shit out of it in the process.

lemondog said...

Newspapers and sports teams should be locally owned and controlled.

Let Chicagoans determine of fate of Wrigley Field.

ricpic said...

Is there anything else nice in Chicago? Keep the nice!

traditionalguy said...

It's the name that ruins it for baseball. If it was Redman Field or Beechnut Field than the players would win all of the time.

Naming the place after chewing gum has ruined it for baseball.

Scott M said...

Let Chicagoans determine of fate of Wrigley Field.

Knowing how Illinois works, though, Carbondale, Champaign, Effingham, Belleville and everyone else will have to foot the bill.

I keep expecting to look east across the Mississippi and see a deserted landscape, but for some unknown reason, people still choose to live over there...unarmed sucking at baseball.

lemondog said...

Is there anything else nice in Chicago?

The park system.

Have you ever biked along the lakefront?

One can go for miles seeing fishermen, picnickers, softball players, tennis courts, without stopping.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Given that both teams play on the same field, it seems that that it just takes a little more advanced math, like greater than zero, for the Cubs to win. The Cubs need to look at parsing out the contributions to victory as exemplified in Moneyball and tilt the composition for which way the wind is blowing. You might call it the Bob Dylan shift. The park is nice and the L a few blocks away clears the crowd in an instant compared to, say, the Rangers ballpark.

Seeing Red said...

We have good museums & 2 zoos, Lincoln Park is free.

MartyH said...

One theory about why the Cubs are "cursed" is that playing home day games and away nighgt games screws up their daily routine. Every other team in the league works a swing shift; the Cubs are constantly between working days and swing, depending on if they are at home or on the road. Over six months that wears on you.

This theory was put forth quarter jokingly by a former major league ballplayer.

Mitchell said...

Rich Cohen makes a pretty good argument for nuking Europe.

Kit said...

Really Scott, you went from a Cubs to a Cardinals fan? *sigh*

Anyway, fun article. Good baseball writing is the best.

ndspinelli said...

All the Yuppies won't let that Wrigley be torn down. Wrigley isn't a ballpark, it's a yuppie enclave and God knows the Cubs aren't a baseball team. I can hardly stand to go there anymore. There are yuppies just chattering in the row behind you about everything but the game. We lived on Waveland Ave., 8 blocks from the park in the early 80's. That's when actual fans went to games. Of course, the Cubs sucked, but @ least it was a ballpark back then. That was before lights were installed.

Scott M said...

Really Scott, you went from a Cubs to a Cardinals fan? *sigh*

Yep. I moved to St Louis at 18 and have decided when the Rams moved here that I would adopt STL teams as my own. It was much more difficult dropping the Bears and Blackhawks than it was the Cubs...for the obvious reason :)

chickenlittle said...

What's so wrong with the Cubs always losing?

Chip S. said...

It was Wrigley Field that caused Alex Gonzalez to boot the easy double-play grounder that would've aborted the Marlins' 8th-inning rally in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS?

Surprising.

It was Wrigley Field that caused Dusty Baker to overtax the young arms of Mark Pryor and Kerry Wood?

Intriguing.

It was Wrigley Field that caused Leon Durham to let an easy grounder go through his legs in San Diego in 1984?

Amazing!

The Wall Street Journal runs silly, attention-grabbing articles on sports?

No kidding.

Canuck said...

hahahah Not. Going. To. Happen.

You don't live that far away from Chi-Town.

But maybe you missed the Great Lighting Debate.

Tearing it down? I can't imagine a better way to get Chicagoans angry.

Quayle said...

This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.

Every fan of good baseball knows that the Cubs lose because they stink.

They stink so bad that even Yankee Piniella couldn't help them.

Bryan C said...

Keep Wrigley field and replace the Cubs. You can remove the lights, though.

Chuck66 said...

It is a tourist attraction, not a MLB park.

Chicago.....as much as I like to pick on it, it is a fun place to visit.

The Drill SGT said...

Wriglem delenda est

If Nothing else, the author is passionate about his cause...

Kev said...

(the other kev)

I like Wrigley Field. At least it has character, as opposed to that soulless whatever-name-it-is-this-year dump the White Sox play in.

The Crack Emcee said...

You listen to NPR,...

Chip S. said...

I certainly hope ndspinelli wasn't one of those fans Lee Elia spoke of so eloquently back in '83.

Back then the problem was that only unemployed bums went to Wrigley. Today the problem is that only yuppies go to Wrigley. Or tourists. The only constant seems to be that only the wrong kind of people go there.

The main difference b/w WF and those "real" ballparks people seem to hold in such high esteem is that WF's upper deck isn't a half-mile from the field with a pitch of about 60° because of huge luxury boxes. Instead, the corporate suits' suites are squeezed into a tiny space with crappy sight lines.

That's probably what pisses off the WSJ.

lemondog said...

The city should buy the Cubs and have the team operated and managed by Chicagoans themselves.

Chicago has the U of Chicago, Oba...oops!

Chuck66 said...

Kev...yeah, White Sox park was built...opening in 1990 I think. A bit before Baltimore.

So they have ugly. If it was built a few years later, it probably would have been something much nicer.

ndspinelli said...

ChipS, As I related previously @ another venue, I was @ that infamous Lee Elia game when Les Grobstein caught the postgame tirade. I wasn't unemployed, just working "out in the field" for the law firm I worked for @ the time. I was w/ there w/ my partner PI and the youngest son of Ray Meyer, Bob Meyer.

Original Mike said...

Why would we want the Cubs to be a winning team?

edutcher said...

It's got to be the last of the old style ball parks and should be a National Historic Site. The Cubs went all the way there. Granted, it was WWII and all the good players were otherwise occupied, but still...

And let the owner build a new one.

Skyler said...

That's absurd. Their losing record has nothing to do with the park and everything to do with the team, the managers, the players, the fans, and blind devotion whether they win or lose.

No one should root for the Cubs. When people stop going, then the owners will invest in better players.

Ron said...

The best single season win record is the 1906 Cubs. (since tied) The best 2 year win record is also these Cubs...best 3 year, 4 year, 5 year....out to 10 years! How the mighty have fallen.

No World Title since 1908!

Canuck said...

The author is a Yankees fan.

Curious George said...

"edutcher said...
It's got to be the last of the old style ball parks and should be a National Historic Site. The Cubs went all the way there. Granted, it was WWII and all the good players were otherwise occupied, but still..."

Fenway

edutcher said...

I'm all for destroying anything in Baaston.

BarrySanders20 said...

There is no appreciable difference between the general aroma of the stadium and the men's room.

The place smells like one giant urinal.

I loved old Tiger Stadium back in the day as well, but it was a relic and needed to go.

Demolish.

Chip S. said...

@ndspinelli--Hmm, no wonder your comment reminded me of Elia.

Anyway, one more point about Wrigley Field and day games: After the game's over, you can all go out for a decent meal instead of having to eat ballpark food.

PatCA said...

You know, they might be right. The last time they were in the pennant fight, they refused to install lights for a night game and so the game was held in their opponent's city. Cubs lose.

Ipso Fatso said...

The Cubs will never win anything until they get out of Wrigley. (They may win a one-off, but that is about it). The curse of Wrigley Field isn't that goat from 1945, it's Bill Wrigley and his romanticizing day baseball. The Cubs play 2/3 of their home games under the sun, while their competitors play about 1/3. If they could normalize their schedule to 2/3 night games then it might make sense to stay there. But guess what, the neighborhood idiots (most of them democrats) would never allow it. NIMBY!!!! That is part of the curse of Wrigley. If he had gone to mostly night games in the late 50s or early 60s there would have been little resistance as the neighborhood was far from the yuppie glory hole it is now. Also there is no such thing as a long out there. (Ya, I know the wind blows in at times but you tell me when and how to predict it) I don’t care if you are Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson, you are going to leave a couple of pitches out and over the plate every game, and since the Cubs end up with guys like Lynn McGlothen & Steve Trout that happens with great frequency and with predictable results. Mr. Gorbachev tear down this Park!!!!

Curious George said...

"BarrySanders20 said...
There is no appreciable difference between the general aroma of the stadium and the men's room.

The place smells like one giant urinal."

Bullshit.

EMD said...

Did Wrigley Field compel Jim Hendry to sign Alfonsio Soriano to that ridiculous contract?

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

@MartyH.

Makes sense. Maybe MLB could, with the players association, look into changing the schedule. It might make sense to have 2-3 week home stands then 2-3 weeks away. I like it that there is one place where there are day games. The Illinois weather allows it.

Ipso Fatso said...

EMD--fair point, then please explain why how the Cubs could have four Hall of Famers on one team in the late 60s and early 70s and not win anything???!!! Along with a number of solid major leaguers like Kenny Holtzman and Randy Hudley?? Also please explain "Wichita" Willie Hernandez, the closer for the Cubs in the early 80s, who was very mediocre and then goes to the Tigers and becomes a world class closer?? We, (my fellow drunks in the bleachers) nick-named him "Wichita" because that was the Cubs Triple A affiliate and which is where we felt he belonged. Can you say, fly ball pitcher? Can you say Tiger Stadium? Can you say 1984 World Champions? (EMD, I don’t mean to sound like I am picking on you, it is just that I wish more people would be open to the idea that Wrigley itself is a problem for the Cubs no matter what they do to it).

Patrick said...

The Cubs pre-Wrigley: 2,971 wins, 2,152 losses.

The Cubs since (before Monday): 7,382 wins, 7,703 losses.


Seems like a good idea to keep it. Of course, I'm a Brewer fan.

EMD said...

EMD--fair point, then please explain why how the Cubs could have four Hall of Famers on one team in the late 60s and early 70s and not win anything???!!!

It's very difficult to win in baseball no matter where you play. I can attest, being a Cleveland Indians fan. (1954, 1995, 1997, 2007).

Also, short series playoffs in baseball a basically a crap shoot. That's why you have the 2006 Cardinals and such. It just takes 3 good to decent pitching performances to win any series.

As for the 1984 Detroit Tigers, they were a pretty awesome team that won 104 games. And you traded WIllie Hernandez too soon, even when he was having a good year for you (19.2 innings in 11 games, with 18 strikeouts.)

EMD said...

Anyway, one more point about Wrigley Field and day games: After the game's over, you can all go out for a decent meal instead of having to eat ballpark food.

And fight off the hordes of drunks!

Crunchy Frog said...

No one should root for the Cubs. When people stop going, then the owners will invest in better players.

This. As long as Wrigley keeps selling out, there is no reason for ownership to give a rat's ass about fielding a winning team.

This would not be tolerated in NY or LA.

ndspinelli said...

ChipS, You're correct about the great restaurants after the game. Went to a Cards/Cubs game a few years back. We walked to one of my fav restaurants, Las Fuentes, after the game. The Cubs lost a tough one. We walked to Las Fuentes which is @ Halsted and Wrightwood. When we got to the outdoor patio there was Dusty Baker drinking a margarita! I don't know how the fuck he beat us. He had 2 blondes[knockouts] w/ him. As he walked by our table he chatted us up, 2 of our group had Card hats on. I think having a blonde sandwich cheered him up after the game. He's a nice guy, which should come as no surprise.

ndspinelli said...

EMD, You just need to go a few blocks from the park to get away from the drunks.

Chip S. said...

Las Fuentes! Been there. It's good.

I also like El Jardin for the fishbowl margaritas.

But the larger point is that after a day game you have plenty of time to get to any restaurant in town.

And anyone who thinks Wrigley smells like a urinal is obviously confused.

It's Yankee Stadium that smells like that.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

No. Way.

Scott M said...

No. Way.

The developer that gets tagged to build the new one could make serious bank by selling raffle tickets in St Louis for a chance to be the one that pushes the button firing the implosion of Wrigley Field.

Freeman Hunt said...

Me.

Scott M said...

Me.

The tall guy in the shorts? I have to say, FH, that really blows my perception of who you are...what with the baby and all.

RonF said...

If a small baseball park with outdated facilities forces a team into a losing record, please explain the Red Sox and Fenway Park to me. Yeah, the Red Sox have had a rough time so far this year, but in the last 10 years they've been in the playoffs 5 times and have won 2 World Series in a park that's both older and smaller than Wrigley.

The problem isn't the field, folks, it's the ownership. The Red Sox were mired in failure for years and people wanted to blame the park. Then they got new ownership and they started to win.

Quaestor said...

It boils down to a 9.1% swing in their win/loss ratio over a 98 year interval, the previous interval being 40 years and 76.4% fewer samples.

From the standpoint of win/loss Wrigley is not a statistically significant factor.

If your going to bulldoze the park and build elsewhere do it for a reason that makes sense, i.e. to scorn the yuppies who took over that historically ethnic Polish working class neighborhood.

Quaestor said...

Oh shit, I committed the commentator's faux pas that i rail about so often -- I used the possessive case when I should have used the contraction. I must punish myself. Now where's my cilice...

Canuck said...

"From the standpoint of win/loss Wrigley is not a statistically significant factor."

Exactly!

Nobody loves stats like a true fan of baseball.

Ipso Fatso said...

EMD, you are not a student of Chicago baseball, you have not lived until you have urinated on another man's lawn and gotten away with it!!!! That goes for both north & south side.

Gene said...

I don't know how it works in Wisconsin but here in Los Angeles any poll done by the LA Times generally over-estiminates the liberal vote by 5%. After the election the paper always explains away its lousy forecasts as a function of all people who supposedly "waited till the last minute" to take up their minds.

shirley elizabeth said...

The Cubs are already making Mesa, AZ foot the bill for their new spring training stadium (because their current fifteen-year-old stadium is SO outdated). No one that lives in the city that you talk to can explain how it passed...

Jose_K said...

Not to mention the 1918 series was rigged by gamblers.
Good experience? beer , urine and rtas . Did no one heard Guillen´s take on WF?
Historic? it is not Saint peters or the Pyramids