The photo at the top of this post shows the lines for the bleachers (at bottom) and for Gate K (at top) on Waveland just as the gates were opening Monday afternoon.
The reason: A very popular giveaway item:
Today's #Cubs giveaway pic.twitter.com/jxy4vEZexf— Al Yellon (@bleedcubbieblue) July 23, 2018
And those lines were only in one area:
This is the longest line I've ever seen for a @Cubs giveaway. Wow. @GallagherWayChi is packed and the line stretches to the left and right. #JavyThings #EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/CTCY1ZNsA0— Sara Sanchez ⚾ (@BCB_Sara) July 23, 2018
The reasons for the long lines? Javier Baez is very popular right now. Bobbleheads are probably the Cubs’ most popular giveaway — personally, they are my favorite, I have over 100 of them.
And the Cubs gave away only 10,000 of them, with an anticipated sellout (40,859 was the announced attendance).
Let me just be blunt here. Seriously, the Cubs ought to do more than this. Almost every other team gives away more promo items than this.
Giveaways are limited to 40,000 items (12,000 items for kids giveaways), unless otherwise noted and while supplies last. Only one giveaway item per person will be given to the bearer of the ticket upon entering the stadium. Schedule subject to change without notice.
Dodger Stadium’s capacity is 56,000, so 40,000 is 71 percent of capacity. 71 percent of Wrigley Field capacity is (about) 30,000. The Cubs generally give out 5,000 items on kids giveaways; generally, that’s sufficient, but they could probably bump that up to maybe 7,500.
Other teams that draw well give away more than 10,000 items. Looking at this Yankees promo item list, they generally give away 18,000 to 20,000. The Cardinals, 20,000 for most, with some at 30,000. Most Giants giveaways are 20,000, but they have an upcoming Buster Posey bobblehead for 30,000.
The reason I noted those four teams in particular is that they are the four teams that are outdrawing the Cubs on a per-game basis this year. If they can do this, why can’t the Cubs?
At one time, the Cubs didn’t have enough storage space to keep more than 10,000 promo items. With a big new office building and another one on Clark Street, this should no longer be the case. The additional cost to the team should be zero, since the sponsor of the promo pays for it (there’s an unobtrusive ad on the Javy bobblehead, and no, I’m not going to post what it is here, I don’t need to give them free ad space). Sponsors seem to be happy to pay for 20,000, 30,000 or 40,000 promo items for other teams, and wealthy ones like the Dodgers and Yankees — why not the Cubs?
It’s obviously too late to change all this for the rest of 2018, but in 2019, the Cubs should give away at least 20,000 of the most popular promo items and preferably 30,000. This would alleviate some of the crowd control issues they’ve had on days like Monday, and more importantly, would leave a lot more Cubs fans happy that they don’t have to show up several hours before the gates open just to get a bobblehead.