In the comments, BCBer Strange Penguin posted the photo you see above, which consists of three framed memorabilia items on his wall.
They’re from Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS and Games 3 and 5 of the 2016 World Series, all at Wrigley Field. Fans were given blue towels with the names of everyone on the roster; those were for waving around, or keeping as souvenirs like this.
But these towels wouldn’t have been enough in and of themselves to be a framed souvenir of the Cubs’ World Series run — as you can see, they’re all the same (except for the ad at the bottom). The tickets make the wall hangings personal for Strange Penguin, because he was at those games and the tickets have the section and seat number he was sitting in, a tangible reminder of that great season.
Needless to say, you can’t do this with your phone.
Look, I understand the reasoning behind moving to mobile tickets. The Cubs have stated that their reasons are convenience (I get that, as long as you have your phone you can’t forget your ticket) and protection against fraud (this was an issue in 2016 as there were many reports of counterfeit tickets, especially during the World Series). But the real, unstated reason for teams going mobile is data. Teams — not just the Cubs, of course — want to know who is using every single ticket in their house. They can’t do this with paper tickets.
But the loss of hard paper tickets, for lack of a better term, takes a bit of the romance out of going to a sporting event. The Cubs, in fact, were one of the leaders in having colorful and interesting designs on their season tickets in the early part of this decade. For example, the 2012 and 2013 sets had Topps card replicas and in 2014, it was images of past Wrigley Field scorecards. You can’t get that sort of memory out of a screenshot from your phone (and who would do that, anyway?).
For most regular-season games this is not a huge issue, I’ll admit, unless something truly memorable happens (say, a no-hitter). But for the postseason, I hope the Cubs continue their practice, begun in 2018, of sending the hard commemorative playoff tickets issued by Major League Baseball to season-ticket holders after the postseason is over. We didn’t get to experience that in 2019, but let’s hope we get a full set of those little paper memories next year.
Here are closeup images of Strange Penguin’s wall hangings: