Ok, I remember last year when the Cubs and Wrigley Field were up for sale, and we all heard from the Ricketts family about how “We are Cubs fans”… but are they really? I remember hearing how they wanted to preserve tradition and keep the Wrigley atmosphere alive, but have they?
That was all questioned this year with the installation of the Toyota sign in the left field bleachers was installed. Ricketts said the sign is tasteful and does not alter the design or character of the stadium. Is that really something that a true Cubs fan and Wrigley Field advocate would say? I would think not.
And now this… painting the Marquee sign purple?? Has Tom Ricketts lost his mind?
Now don’t get me wrong… I am all for having other events and sports at Wrigley Field (Winter Classic, concerts in the summer, ect.) but when does it get to the point that you are no longer hosting events like this for the fans and you are only out for the money– regardless of the cost? I think we have gotten to that point now. I also understand that owners don’t decide to host other events in major arenas to win the “host of the year award”, I am a realist and get the fact that there is always money behind those events and bringing in more fans during offseason or during away game is profitable… but at what cost? And by “cost” I don’t just mean monetary gains/losses… I mean losses in pride, respect, landmark status, fan base and so on.
To my knowledge, and much research, the marquee has only been two colors since it’s inception in 1934 (blue-green color from 1934-mid 1960s when it was painted red). And why for this event did they decide to paint it purple… you guessed it, the money! With the addition of Valspar as a sponsor to the Cubs, I suppose it seemed inevitable that Tom Ricketts would crack under the pressure of more money from Valspar to sponsor the painting of the Marquee purple. One thing to wonder is, who approved the painting of the Marquee? As one of the most iconic parts of Wrigley, I would think that a change of this stature would require approval from the landmark committee. And to top it all off, they also sold the naming rights to the game —Allstate Wrigleyville Classic. Anything for the money.
And what is next for Wrigley you ask? Tom Ricketts is now campaigning taxpayers for millions of dollars ($200M to be exact) to do an overhaul on Wrigley Field. Renovations would include: updating the bathrooms, removing the ramps and opening up the space within the confines and to take advantage of space that’s currently a parking lot on the west side of the field. There, the Cubs want to erect what they’re calling the “Triangle Building,” a venue for a Cubs museum, a restaurant and amenities for fans. Now, no one is saying that Wrigley isn’t due for some renovations and upgrades, but does that really mean changing the appearance of a landmark that is one of the top visited landmarks in Chicago?? So what will the new proposed field look like? Much like this:
And this is one thing that Tom has to say about Wrigley and the changes “…we’re doing everything we can to preserve it.” Does he really believe that? Or is he taking the George Costanza move and going with the motto “it’s not a lie if you believe it.”.
Maybe Tom should be focusing on renovating the team and not just the field. Maybe if they invested more in the players or coaches the team would play better together and win a World Series, wouldn’t that bring in money?? Instead, people would like to compare Wrigley Field and the Cubs to US Cellular Field and the Sox… but really, the Sox are huge sellouts… take their field name for starters… since when was it okay to change from Comisky Park to US Cellular Field? I’ll tell you when… it’s when the price is right!
Ever since the Ricketts took over, there has been more controversy over the proposed additions and changes to the field than I can ever recall. When will the madness end? Will it only end when Tom Ricketts tears down Wrigley, or will someone finally step up and stop the madness? I suppose only time will tell.