I'm not your usual doom and gloom guy when it comes to the Cubs. Yes, I worry like any other fan that I'll go my entire life and not see this team win a World Series. Aside from that I try my hardest to keep a positive outlook. My blood boils each time I see another written or verbal attack on Soriano by a Cub fan. I tense up whenever a fellow follower of the Northsiders makes a comment on an internet article about us needing to trade Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano, or any other player that has more potential to make us better than anything we'd get in return. I get behind our team and look for the silver lining even when things aren't going so well. So it's tough for me to ponder what I'm about to say. I am not pleased with the direction that the Ricketts family is leading the Wrigley Faithful.
Despite my young age of 30, I'm an old school guy when it comes to the Cubs and baseball in general. I liked going to the games with my Dad at Wrigley. As a kid, there wasn't anything to do at those games except watch and learn the game of baseball so that's what I did. It made me into the fan that I am today. Now, most people would call me a little extreme based upon looking at my office full of everything blue and red or the fact that I plan the majority of my vacation destinations each year to coincide with Cubs road games. But I am a fan...plain and simple.
I was relocated to Dallas by my employer about 9 years ago and have had the opportunity to attend many games at The Ballpark in Arlington. Trust me when I say it is nothing like a Wrigley Experience but then again, nothing is. My problem with ballparks like the home of the Rangers are all of the gimmicks and distractions away from the game. I've literally witnessed Ranger fans doing the wave while the other team was scoring because that's more important to them than the actual game, I guess. I don't have children and I guess if I did it would be easier to just send them off to the jungle gym or pitch machine or whatever distraction they've provided for "families" that take away from the actual game rather than having the patience to sit them down and teach them. But I don't want to be that way when I do decide to move back and have children because I want them to grow up to respect and appreciate the game as I did and not see the ballpark as some playground that they could only enjoy when they were little.
With all of the mentioning by the Ricketts that they're going to turn Wrigley into a more "Family Friendly" environment, my fear is that they're going to turn it into a large distraction away from the actual game. Sure, Wrigley is a natural distraction as you get taken away by the nostalgia. We've even been accused of not paying attention to the game. But how many other parks have their fans on their feet in the top of the 3rd inning because there's a runner at third and 2 strikes on the batter?
This theory, coupled with the announcement that I read today on ESPN Chicago about the new sky box club of 80 season ticket seats that are being sold for $24,300 each, has me up wondering; Is Wrigley going to turn into a place where only the wealthy families can afford to bring their spoiled rich children while Daddy entertains potential clients in the seats that his corporate office is paying for each game? Nobody else is going to be able to afford these annual costs aside from large organizations. True, 80 Seats is a drop in the bucket but it seems like it's just the start of the changes to come. Are the Ricketts Family, the same ones that are being touted as "real Cub fans," that much out of touch with the average income fan that they're going to cater to the corporations and wealthy families? Will the atmosphere go from a bunch of crazy fans drinking Old Style to a bunch of garlic fry and wine consumers while talking on their cell phones? Will it mean the death of the future die hard Cub fan?
*Note - I'm a frequent reader but not so much a frequent poster. If I didn't follow proper etiquette, please go easy on me as I'm not very educated on the posting process. I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts on the subject. Does anyone else think about this stuff or am I completely nuts?