My first fan post: I hope I'm doing it right, and beg your indulgence if this should have been a fan shot or if I would have been better off not posting this at all. However, as various proposals to alter Wrigley Field are discussed, there is one about which I am quite passionate.
As a devoted Cubs fan who lives in New York and is married to a Yankees fan, I attend a lot of games at Yankee Stadium. Like many BCBers, I also attend a number of Cubs games in parks around the country, and I make an annual pilgrimage to Wrigley Field. With that background, I have a question: why would anyone want to see a video replay screen installed in Wrigley?
Yes, these boards have their uses: it's nice to see replays of great plays, and during rain delays they can show telecasts of games around the majors. However, these benefits are far outweighed by the costs.
First, one would like to see replays of close calls, but these are forbidden by the league, which doesn't want to show up umpires. No benefit there.Second, they show ads. For some these may be a feature, bringing in additional revenue to the team. However, many of us find advertisements obnoxious. And since most people don't pay much attention to them, teams boost the volume to make them inescapable. This is a serious deterrent to one's enjoyment of the game. All the new parks I've been to (which is most of them) are so loud that conversation becomes difficult. By the way: Milwaukee may be the worst offender in this regard.
Third, they become the occasion for mindless "entertainment" features. These are for the benefit of casual fans who really aren't interested in the game, and if the Cubs were having trouble selling tickets that might be a consideration. Even with 2010's downturn in ticket sales, does anyone think more L races, hidden ball games, and kiss cams are going to bring people in to see a subpar team? If the Cubs are playing decent ball they'll fill the place without the show.
Fourth, they distract the players. The Tribune reported that players really want the replays, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. I'd much rather they focused on the next play than on the last one. Most teams only show replays of good plays by the home team, anyway. If players want to see the pitch sequence of the last at bat they need to go to the video room (which most teams have off the tunnel behind the dugout--do the Cubs?).
Despite the drunken idiots and the guys who are there to do a business deal, Wrigley has a higher percentage of fans who are there primarily to watch the game than any park I've been in (which is all but four of the current MLB parks). This is a unique atmosphere. As a group, BCBers are, I think, exactly the kind of fans whose enjoyment of the experience, of the game, will be most harmed by the mindless, high-volume, non-baseball focus of the video board.
It's a bad idea.