Just One More Reason to Hate the Trib

It seems that as I get older, there's just very little in the world that surprises me anymore. You read the news and people seem to redefine the word despicable almost everyday. And it might just be the sensationalistic nature of journalism today that has numbed the pain, or just my generally placid everyday demeanor that makes everything just a little too bearable. But then something comes along that strikes a chord loud enough that even Beethoven could hear it. It's probably because it has something to do with my earlier years, the years that branded me a Cubs fan. The years of Sandberg, Cey, Moreland and Jody and the all too magical 1984 season that created this obsession of mine. In a rather revealing story in the Chicago Sun-Times (and you'll see why this wasn't in the Trib), former MLB commissionerPeter Ueberroth unveils a few inconvenient truths about the Chicago Cubs. The focus of the article is about the 1984 playoffs. As many around here will remember, MLB was up in arms with the Cubs making the playoffs because without lights at Wrigley they could not play and henceforth broadcast the games in primetime when television ratings were the highest. And of course this was still a time when baseball playoff games easily beat sitcoms in the Nielsens, so the concern was deserved. I recall the whispers at the time that if the Cubs did make the Series, there was a good chance that some of their home games would be played somewhere else with St. Louis's Busch Stadium leading the way. Ueberroth though reveals that he had in fact decided that Comiskey Park would be home to the Cubs if they did advance. That's right, what could have been the first World Series appearance in 39 years would have been played in an American League park, in a stadium with fireworks in the scoreboard. No decaying ivy, no bleachers, no rooftops for what could have been one of the teams greatest moments. Of course it never got there thanks to Steve Garvey, Lee Smith and Leon Durham's sticky glove. But that actually wasn't the most shocking revelation by Ueberroth... Ueberroth let's it be known that he invoked the mythical "best interests of baseball" clause to squash a rather shameful Tribune plan. A plan to knock down Wrigley Field and build a new stadium somewhere in the suburbs. Now I recall whispers back in the day that the Cubs were thinking of moving and I definitely recall the struggles to get lights and nightime baseball at Wrigley as the north side residents were appropriately worried about the noise and drunken debauchery that would accompany those games. Yet I had never known that Trib was actually willing and in fact had decided that enough was enough, time to tear down one of baseball's great treasures for the almighty dollar. I suppose that it's probably not as big a deal as I'm making it out to be and that these sort of corporate hijinx happen all the time behind closed doors with the public none the wiser. Nonetheless I'm a bit appalled by the whole notion that Trib was willing to pursue their bottom line over baseball history. And I'm a bit saddened that all those memories of going to Wrigley may never have been.

Comments

Yankee Stadium is getting knocked down, with much more baseball history associated with it. And very few, if any, Yankee fans are upset about it. In fact most I have heard are pretty excited. Not a big deal to me that Wrigley was talked about being bulldozed, and while I would be upset (sad, not pissed) if it did happen, at some point the stadium is just not going to be able to structurally be able to handle it. But I do hope ownership milks it as far as they can, safely.

Yankee Stadium's a dump, though.

I much prefer the "groups trying to control property that didn't belong to them led the property's owners to seek ways they believed would improve their situation" narrative. There shouldn't have been any struggles.

Well I'd have a completely different perspective if they were going to do something now since Wrigley is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.

But in 1986 or 1987 when this happened, it was only because Trib was losing their battle to get lights and night games.

It is a dump, but Wrigley's falling apart as we speak. Given the problems the Cubs were having with the neighborhood activists at the time, this may have been the Trib's final dagger in their negotiating ploys. Of course, the irony abounds in that w/o Wrigley Field, the WGN/superstation/ cable empire would have been completely moot, along with all of the profits that the Trib harvested from those early days of cable.

As for the now, I imagine there will be a day where Wrigley will be torn down and a new fancier park built where it stands. I can't remember what's been landmarked other than the scoreboard, but I suppose all of it would be incorporated into the new park.

The Real Neal:
"Yankee Stadium’s a dump, though."

Have you been in the Cubs bathrooms? Or seen the concrete falling on patrons heads?

But I do agree that Wrigley is better than Yankee Stadium.

Rob G-
I could see the new owners, who will ultimately want to build a new stadium, getting fed up real quick with the roadblocks in building a new stadium in that exact location. Firstly, the Cubs would need to play in a different stadium (the Cell?). And also I am sure there would be much wrangling from politicians, Wrigleyville, etc. as to how to build the new stadium and what parts need to be incorporated and what can't be moved, etc. I think for a new owner they would look for other places to have the new stadium. I am sure almost every town in the greater Chicago area would fall over themselves to give them land to build the new stadium.

http://cubtown.baseballtoaster.com/archives/8...

Derek nails the SS issue perfectly..

I couldn't agree more with Derek assessment also on Theriot, et al at SS. I heard the same report on next year's budget Dave already posted. If Hendry is really going to get + $25M in this year's budget and if he can move 2 of these three (JJ, Marquis, Dempster), the Cubs would have more than $35M to improve CF/RF and the rotation.

Could Hendry still screw that up? -- Yes. Will he? -- Let's hope not.

I doubt they'll do much at CF other than make sure a decent bench guy is available. Maybe sign Lofton or go get Crisp like I wanted.

Jacque has to be on the trading block if they keep talking about bringing in an lefty OF with power.

The money is nice but I have no idea where they're going to spend it. At least it gives them the flexibility to add salary in a trade and not have to give up as much in prospects.

I say trade for either Crawford or Miguel Cabrera for the OF, Tejada at short (we'll just live with his D) and let's get Johan or Bedard for the rotation and call it a day.

actually heard Barrett in a rumor to the Marlins, amongst a group of 3-4 catchers.

it might be Ueberroth just telling a tall tale though..

http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/story/2007/11/...

intriguing...

It think the Scoreboard, outfield wall and marquee in front have the historical moniker.

Rob, lamenting something that never happened seems to be making a mountain out of a ficticious (sp?) molehill. You are better than that, much better. This is the same Ueberroth that said that the integrity of the game was most important then lost three - along with the owners - lawsuits by the MLPA for violating the CBA. And somewhere along the line there was a story that the Cubs were going to pay the rest of the league for "lost revenue". Get back to what you do best and don't get your undies in a bunch over something that never happened 23 years ago.

They can't play at Wrigley forever, but when the move, a little piece of my fandom dies.

sorry, finger double clicked. damn fingers...

"As for the now, I imagine there will be a day where Wrigley will be torn down..."

I'm thinking that they'll eventually do something along the lines of Fenway. Granted, they don't have as much additional space outside the park as the Bosox did when they performed the renovations, but they could add in more space in a few areas if needed. I also doubt very much that anyone would want to replace Wrigley - that's one of the reasons why the club is valued so highly in the first place.

I recall the idea was to move to Schaumberg. I'm sure the Trib is very happy they weren't successful in that effort.

I can lament all I want during the offseason doldrums...

Schaumburg seems to strike a bell, I also remember the Bears thinking about Hoffmann Estates.

Peter is just spinning more garbage. I had my tix to the World Series and there is no way they could have handled a last minute switch of venues within 3 days.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers...

supposedly Mariano offered 3/39 but hasn't responded yet to the offer.

Posada offered the same deal but holding out for four years.

Hendry was one of the 5 that voted against replay.

Rob G.:
"Hendry was one of the 5 that voted against replay."

Not that it matters, but why is that not surprising to me?

"Not that it matters, but why is that not surprising to me?"

Just a stab in the dark, but...because you look for every possible chance to criticize him?

apparently the NL Central got together on this because the other nay votes were the Reds, Astros, Brewers and one AL team, the Twins.

I hate instant replay in all forms.

I think that, instead of instant replay, they should just get umps that don't suck.

I with you Joe!

at least umps with a few less notches on the belt who could run out and actually see where the ball lands...

Wait...they're allowed to move from their spot?

The Joe:
"you look for every possible chance to criticize him?"

Maybe because there are soooooooooooooooo many? :)

Chad:
"I hate instant replay in all forms."

Amen.

Hopefully the Cubs lose all their HR/double callhs this year, then. We'll see how Hendry likes the "human element" if the Cubs lose a game on one of these calls.

Ron, I am a full believer that the calls go about 50/50 through an entire season.

Also, if you want to lose the human element, lets use an electronic strike zone. We don't even need a home plate ump. We can also use a computer to determine check swings.

F that! I want a star pitcher to have a bigger strike zone and I want a star hitter to have smaller one.

Are you a full believer that they go 50-50 during a playoff series?

I'm actually taking the direct opposite of Hendry's side; the sooner we get HR replay, the faster resistance to computerized balls and strikes will wear down. To the greatest extent possible, the human element should be left to the humans pitching and hitting.

Incidentally, is my rule book out of date? I don't see an ERA/batting average qualifier for the dimensions of the strike zone.

I'm of several minds on the Exploding Wrigley issue. On the one hand, I hope they do nothing more to it than renovate it Fenway-style, as I have a strong sentimental attachment to it.

However, for decades the park has been sold as the most attractive thing about the team, and this predates the WGN/Superstation era. I'm currently reading Golenbock's Wrigleyville (not the best-written tome, but whatever, it's baseball), which argues that P.K. Wrigley's approach to the team when he started was sell the team, sell the ballpark, sell the experience, winning be damned. Now that's depressing, and it's enough to put one off one's love for the old ballpark.

As to the knocking-down-Wrigley-in-the-80s thing, I thought the suggestion was that they would build in Addison.

Chad: “I hate instant replay in all forms.”

Manny: Amen.

Yet you criticize Hendry for voting against it? Or at least imply criticism?

If you hate instant replay, shouldn't you praise Hendry for voting against it?

Well, Rob, I can certainly appreciate the "getting older" sentiment, because the older I get, the more I realize I don't give a rat's ass where the team plays so long as they -- you know -- win a Pennant or even a World Series. Seriously. The amount of kvetching and hand-wringing devoted to saving or restoring or imploding this shrine to losing (Fortress of Suckitude?) is nauseating. It's a friggin' building, people! Get over it!

Maybe if it housed infinite memories of championship games being played there (that weren't seen only by the founding fathers of this great land) or championship banners being raised (no, I ain't talking about divisional titles), then I'd feel differently. But, really, how many games have you either attended or watched on tv that ended in soul-crushing defeat in that dump? Answer: too many.

So, no, I'm not one to get all misty-eyed thinking of the many games I've spent bundled up in hats and gloves in June, or roasting my 'nads off in August, or peeing in the trough with 20 of my best, drunkest comrades. But I do get a bit wistful when I think of the '84 team (by far my favorite) and the many great memories they provided (God bless you, Thad Bosley, for that heroic 9th-inning, game-tying homer in Atlanta). Why? Because it was the greatest Cub team in my lifetime. And because the team is what matters to me. Not the building they play half their games in.

dont like the way wrigleyvile was written?

i loved the book.

i did, however, go grab my copy to thumb through it and wow...yeah...it is pretty void of any writer's imagery. its pretty dry reading even if it is full of great info and depth.

still one of my favs.

wonder if the rumor about tearing down wrigley coming out now has anything to do with the pending sale?

id say uberroth is 1-1 with his decisions. 1-2 if you include stealing our homefield advantage.

#40: dont like the way wrigleyvile was written?

Well, no, but confusingly, I like reading it for the same reason I dislike its style: the interviews. I love reading all the first-person stories from ballplayers from years ago, all their tales of dekes and cheats and spikes-up plays and dirty players and good guys and high inside fastballs.

My problem is that for long stretches, all Golenbock did was string those anecdotes together. I'd have preferred some kind of writing to frame them, give them context, provide an authorial point of view. Sometimes it's as if he recorded interviews with all these players, then just transcribed the recording, and there's your book. This makes it dry reading, as you say, and it creates organizational/temporal problems (Charlie Grimm has been fired and rehired about 12 times so far).

Also, that subtitle: "A Magical History Tour..." ugh. It is to barf.

they should do it fenway-style. the concourse needs some work. what about playing in soldier?

The rumour at the time was that they might build on the site of the Glenview Naval Air Station.

So Dumpster is going to the starting rotation. If Wood signs a deal I bet he closes. The D'Rays would deal Crawford for Marmol and Hill but I would think that would be too much to give away. I guess the Spendry's first choice is the kid from Japan.

I remember well that the Trib was talking about moving to Addison, or Schaumberg, or any number of other sites in the burbs. But at that time, the Trib was struggling with the city to get lights installed. The No Lights activists had the ear of the Washington administration; the threat to move was the most potent weapon the Trib had in negotiating with the city. I think that if the city had balked on lights, the Trib may well have left Wrigley - and while I would have hated to see that happen, I would hardly have blamed the Trib for moving.

However, Ueberroth - i.e., Mr Collusion - is just spinning a tall tale when he says that he held the Trib's feet to the fire.

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