When your team hasn’t won in 102 years, you tend to grasp on to any point of pride you can. So it is with Cubs fans and our beloved Wrigley Field. The problem comes when fans lose perspective and project their passionate feelings on to trivial things.
The latest issue that has many in another misplaced uproar is the proposed Toyota advertisement behind the left-field bleachers. We heard the same outcry when it was announced that the Under Armour logo would appear on the outfield wall doors amongst the precious ivy. But that controversy came and went rather quickly because, really, when was the last time you even noticed those? By no means did they ruin the cathedral that is Wrigley.
I don’t even want to get into the whole “more revenue -> bigger payroll -> better team” argument since it’s become clear that even $146,859,000.00 doesn’t buy what it used to (the Cubs just lost to the Pirates in a groaner last night, 3-2). But sometimes well-intentioned fans forget that baseball is a business and that Wrigley is just a building—not a shrine.
Despite any altruistic notions they may have floated during the purchase process, the real reason the Ricketts family bought the Cubs and Wrigley Field to make money. They are going to do what it takes to maximize revenues and no one should begrudge them for it. That being said, from what I can tell, Chairman Tom Ricketts seems like a genuine Cubs fan and is fairly down to earth. He understands what Wrigley means to fans and to baseball as a whole. But even more importantly, he is not stupid. He’s not going to do anything that will damage the precious asset he just paid $850 million for. I’m confident any new advertising will be tastefully integrated into the ballpark—not like a Jade Dragon Tattoo ad on the side of a bus.
So to all the Cubs fans who get all weepy about preserving the sanctity and majesty of the Friendly Confines I say, take it easy—it’s just a sign.