Recently, there were two well-publicized incidents involving people running onto the field at Wrigley Field -- on June 1 and again on June 25; both men are now facing felony charges.
I mention this because there was a minor incident in the bleachers toward the end of yesterday's game which clearly pointed up the lack of security in the bleachers, and the difficulties that security faces when dealing with unruly fans. I fear that if the Cubs don't do something about this soon, with interest in the Cubs getting higher due to the good play of the club lately, that something worse than what's already happened this year (including the idiocy of throwing trash on the field last week when the Cubs did something good) might happen.
Here's what occurred yesterday: in the 8th inning, a couple of twentysomething men started throwing things into the main stands from the lower left-field corner of the bleachers (about eight rows right in front of me). There had been NO Cubs security personnel stationed in my aisle during the entire game.
Fortunately, other fans in the area quickly pointed out the offender, and security did immediately come down to that row to attempt to remove him (and a couple of his friends; four or five young men were eventually escorted out).
I say "attempt" because it took no fewer than FOUR security people, PLUS a security supervisor, to talk this man into leaving. This problem, I believe, has been caused by the fact that over a several-year period, security has taken a fairly light hand with disorderly people. They'll take them downstairs, talk to them, and then let them back to their seats. The message that's been given by this, unfortunately, is, "Hey, I can do anything I want, and they won't kick me out!"
Contrast this with the procedures in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium, where I have sat several times over the last few years; I enjoy going there when I'm in New York on business. The Yankees have both plainclothes and uniformed NYC police officers very visibly stationed in the bleachers. They enforce good behavior firmly but politely; if you violate a rule, they'll gently say, "Come with me." You are then escorted out -- no questions, no debating, no whining. This, plus the fact that no alcohol is sold in the Yankee Stadium bleachers, makes sitting there a pleasant experience -- because you know you're not going to be hassled by idiots. That doesn't stop the Yankee Stadium bleachers from being populated by knowledgeable and passionate fans, either.
Now, I understand there's probably no way the Cubs will ever stop selling beer and other alcohol in the bleachers -- there's simply too much profit to be made -- nor am I arguing that they should do so.
But there ought to be a much more visible security presence there; too many times this year I have seen only one security guard in our section, or, as yesterday, none at all. It wouldn't hurt to have some Chicago police officers there, either. They don't even have to do anything -- their mere presence might deter bad behavior.
There was another minor incident -- I hesitate to even call it an "incident", because no harm was done -- on Friday, which shows how inconsistently rules are enforced. A TV crew from 3TV in Phoenix came into the bleachers, wanting to tape an introduction to their pregame show. They were fully credentialed by the media relations department (even mentioning media relations director Peter Chase's name) and said they'd only be there for five minutes. Security threw them out, apparently because "they weren't properly informed." Now what purpose did that serve? This was right after the gates opened and the bleachers were 95% empty. I'd like to think that Cubs security has more important things to worry about than a credentialed TV crew shooting video in the bleachers for five minutes.
In any case, yesterday's incident had at least one part to it that showed that maybe, just maybe, security and many bleacher fans are getting things right. Security finally did get the trash-throwing idiots to walk out with them (and ejected them) -- and people in our section, unlike past years when they'd applaud morons like this, were jeering them, telling them they were setting a bad example for kids -- and maybe, just maybe, this will make for a better experience in the bleachers for everyone.