Photo Courtesy of chicago.curbed.com


As you probably know already, the Chicago City Landmark Commission has approved the Chicago Cubs plan to install a jumbotron at Wrigley Field. This is just one part of the Cubs’ major renovation plans for Wrigley Field. The Chicago City Council still has to give final approval on the plan. Getting that approval will be easier said than done as 44th ward Alderman Tom Tunney has already shown his disdain for the Landmark Commissions decision.

Perhaps he may try to sway the City Council to vote against the measure. The other issue at hand is the fact that Wrigleyville resident’s don’t want a jumbotron for a variety of reasons. But the biggest issue of all is the satisfaction of the rooftop owners. They have stated that they will sue both the Cubs and the City of Chicago if their views are obstructed.

Keep in mind that over the years, the rooftop owners have given into the Cubs demands on numerous occasions. This includes paying the franchise a percentage of their profits, hence the reason why tickets to the rooftop attractions are so expensive. But all political and legal reasons aside, I have my own problems with a jumbotron at The Friendly Confines.

Wrigley Field is one of the few nostalgic ballparks left in the majors. Growing up on Chicago’s North Side, I attended many Cubs games as a child. Since 2012, I have been covering the Cubs and have sat in their press box many times. I have grown accustom to the green scoreboard, the lack of modernization and the neighborhood feel.

I have always loved the fact that Wrigley has stayed true to it’s old school roots. When I sit in the press box, I can’t help but take in the views of the neighborhood, the surrounding buildings and the lakefront. Having a jumbotron will take away some of that scenic view. As much as the rooftop owners don’t want their view obstructed, I wouldn’t want my view of the rooftops impaired either.

Regardless if your a Cubs fan or not, there is nothing like the collective neighborhood feel that you get from Wrigleyville. Where else in Major League Baseball can you see an entire neighborhood come together to watch a game like you can on Waveland and Sheffield? My mother grew up in the area when gas was below $1, a gallon of milk was even less than that and rent was very much affordable.

Out of all the Wrigley Field stories she has ever told me, there are two that stand out….

1. Wrigleyville was a more family-friendly area back then.

2. How her and her friends used to charge people money to park their cars underneath the CTA Red Line tracks during Cubs games.

My mother is one of nine children, and for many years they grew up in and around Wrigleyville, Lake View and Uptown. It was a more conservative area back then as opposed to the more upscale residents it caters to now. Back then the Red Line was known simply as the North-South line.

In those days you could get away with leaving your vehicle underneath the tracks because nobody would notice. Having nine siblings meant my mother had to share a lot {They didn’t have much to share but they made due thanks to my grandmothers hard work}. So my mother and her friends saw the opportunity to make a few extra dollars.

Now, you need a permit to be able to use your property as a parking lot for Cubs games. And if you do try to leave your car underneath the tracks, expect to pay a lot more than you had planned too as your vehicle will more than likely get towed. With the area surrounding the ballpark modernizing at a very rapid pace, the 99-year-old stadium was a symbol of “the good ole days”.

Now I don’t fault the Cubs for wanting to modernize the park. Tom Ricketts is finding ways to bring in more revenue as all teams eventually do. His hope is that more money in the bank will allow for more money to spend to finally field a championship team {Or as Cubs fans hope and pray that is the case}. But to me, a jumbotron ruins that throwback feeling.

I honestly thought it was little much when the Cubs put that LED screen in the right field bleachers. But I was content with it, I thought it was a nice touch to an aging stadium. But at the end of the day, professional sports is all about money. And that’s what it boils down to for the Cubs. They’ll probably get a nice HD screen and plaster the thing with advertisements.

While I do oppose the big screen, if it keeps the Cubs from moving out to the suburbs then so be it. But I think that there are other ways that the Cubs could bring in revenue without the eye sore of a jumbotron. Speaking of the Cubs, I’ll be in the press box on Sunday night when they play the St. Louis Cardinals on “Sunday Night Baseball”.

First pitch is at 7pm. You can keep your web browser logged onto Chi City Sports, and you can follow me on Twitter for game updates @GabeSalgado82





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