All Eyes on Wrigley Field: See What the Fuss is About

Posted by | June 07, 2014 | Blog |

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander says last month’s announcement from the chairman of the Chicago Cubs “has the ring of a battle cry.”

While Wrigley Field is a gem among the array of historic fields, celebrating its 100th birthday this year, even members of its home team have admitted the hallowed ground is long overdue for an overhaul. Aforementioned Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is apparently convinced that sub-par amenities for players are contributing to the Cubs’ long World Series title drought — older than Wrigley Field itself! So the Ricketts family proposed a plan to renovate and expand the park, improving everything from the electrical wiring to the clubhouse to the concessions, and even offered to invest the $500 million the plan requires, keeping any financial burden off the city. What’s not to love about this plan?

A mock-up of the 6,000-square-foot video scoreboard proposed for left field -- and detested by rooftop club owners.

A mock-up of the 6,000-square-foot video scoreboard proposed for left field — and detested by rooftop club owners.

Signage, according to the owners of rooftop businesses surrounding the park. Prior to Ricketts’ video announcement, the renovation plan included the addition of a shiny new sign in right field and a jumbo video scoreboard in left. In addition to generating ad revenue for the ballpark, these signs would dramatically enhance fan experience.

But not everyone watches the game from the bleachers. In fact, the rooftop owners pay the Cubs sizable royalties so their patrons may enjoy the view of Wrigley Field and catch all the action, no game ticket required. (As Telander points out, former Cubs president Crane Kenney forged that deal with the rooftop owners 10 years ago, and the contract holds until 2023.) But when you add a couple of Jumbotrons to the scenery, that amazing view gets significantly diminished. The rooftop owners won’t give up their contractual right to unobstructed views of the field, and the Rickett family won’t back down on their plans to improve the park. No, sir — the Ricketts are upping the ante with their latest proposal to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Commission of Chicago Landmarks. This one includes not just two, but seven signs! Get out your popcorn, folks — this should get interesting.

This unfolding drama isn’t the only reason we’ve had our eye on Wrigley Field here at America’s Pastime Tours. We’re excited because we’ll get to see it in all its ivy-covered splendor this summer! On our Midwest Tour (August 16 – 23) we’ll be immersed in two of America’s best baseball cities, St. Louis and Chicago, and we’ve planned to catch a total of three games at Wrigley Field, plus a stadium tour! I personally can’t wait to visit this cornerstone of baseball history.

I’d love to hear what my fellow fans think of this developing drama around Wrigley Field. Which team are you rooting for? The Ricketts’ aggressive vision for a winning baseball venue, sure to bring home a World Series triumph? Or the village’s fight to keep Wrigley Field the city’s ballpark with a view for all to enjoy? Come visit my Facebook page and put in your two cents.

And don’t miss your chance to see what the fuss is all about this summer! For booking inquiries and more information about our Midwest Tour, just click the “Ask Charlie” button below.

Midwest Tour

Day 1 — Saturday, August 16: Padres vs. Cardinals
Day 2 — Sunday, August 17: Padres vs. Cardinals
Day 3 — Monday, August 18: Reds vs. Cardinals
Day 4 — Tuesday, August 19: Orioles vs. White Sox
Day 5 — Wednesday, August 20: Giants vs. Cubs
Day 6 — Thursday, August 21: Giants vs. Cubs
Day 7 — Friday, August 22: Orioles vs. Cubs
Day 8 — Saturday, August 23: Transportation to Airport