Wrigley Field

Chicago filmmaker Michael Diedrich has shot "Ballhawks," a documentary about the guys who plant themselves out on Waveland Avenue and wait to catch the moonshots. The film, which is narrated by Bill Murray, premieres May 28-30 at the Siskel Film Center on State Street.

According to a study by Team Marketing Report, the Cubs have the highest average ticket price in baseball just ahead of the Boston Red Sox ($52.56 vs $52.32) with the New York Yankees third at $51.83 and the White Sox fourth at $38.65 (I guess shirtless fan attack insurance is expensive). The average ticket price in baseball is $26.79. The Cubs are second in Fan Cost Index (the price of taking a family of four to a game) to the Red Sox ($329.74 vs. $334.71). The Cubs also raised ticket prices by 10.1%, the second highest increase in baseball behind the Twins and their new stadium. The bulk of that increase being due to the addition of 12 platinum games to their tier-pricing schedule. There is no economic crisis for Cubs fans apparently.

While this is unfortunate news for anyone trying to raise their kids as Cubs fans, I don't think it's a coincidence that Boston and the Cubs lead the pack. Two of the more popular teams that play in old stadiums with limited capacity and amenities. Say what you will about the Cubs whoring out Wrigley with things like the Toyota sign, but it's a drop in the bucket to what most stadiums do, especially with their fancy jumbotrons. The economic laws of supply and demand certainly contribute, the Cubs can charge so much because people will pay so much and the cycle continues. Nonetheless, when going to a baseball game takes as much planning and budgeting as a family vacation, it's a sad reality that kids will be limited to their exposure to Wrigley Field as they grow up. Of course, with the typical crowd that seems to now take in a Cubs game, that might not be so bad.

PS - Thanks to Rob Richardson in the comments for the link, but Rob Neyer has his take on this article and explains the Fan Cost Index which includes: 2 adult tickets, 2 kids tickets, 4 soft drinks, 2 beers, 4 hot dogs, 2 programs, Parking and 2 Adult-size caps. So yeah, that's an insanely bogus little metric they've invented.

It seems appropriate that Rob G. would ask me to guest post for him in his absence about improvements to the ballpark.  If you have read anything of mine at Tales from Aisle 424, you know I am a season ticket holder there since the 1998 season, so I tend to mention the ballpark, its facilities, and the Cubs' staff more than most Cubs blogs. 

This year, there is quite a bit of change happening in the old ballpark.

Apparently Fenway Park is a big part of Wrigley Field's Upgrade Template for Tom Ricketts. 

Cubs management over the past few years has held several luncheon meetings for season ticket holders where they provide a forum for suggestions to improve the ballpark experience. I finally had my chance last Thursday to attend one of these sessions.

Wrigley Field on this warm September non-game day had it's usual majestic feel but without the game day buzz, one senses the serenity that is baseball's crown jewel at rest. The streets surrounding the ballpark maintain their working day activities, construction site sidewalk hazards, beer trucks unloading their wares, but open parking spots on Addison seemed out of place.

"...Elton John's going to help us win some ballgames."

So says Crane Kenney in explaining how the extra revenue the Cubs will realize from three Wrigley Field concerts this summer, including the Elton John/Billy Joel event in late July, will translate into additional payroll flexibility.

More from Kenney:


"The CBOE [seat] auction last year paid for Rich Harden. The 'Road to Wrigley' game sponsored our Asian scouting operation. That's the way, from the business end, we look at these things. All
these elements really help our business move forward. My view is if
you're a Cub fan, you should enjoy the concerts whether you're an Elton
John fan or not."

TCR reader Jacos survived the cold and wind and a close encounter with Ronnie Woo-Woo to return with some nice shots from the Blackhawks/Red Wings game (including a shocking image of Red Wing players having to pass through a cloud of poison gas on their way to the rink--an allowable "home ice advantage" under NHL rules). Enjoy.

 

 

A funny thing happened on the way to the NHL Winter Classic:

The Blackhawks got good. Very good.

As a result, the spectacle that John McDonough begged his league to bring to Wrigley to help him reanimate a recently dead franchise has turned into something else:

A signficant matchup between the Detroit Red Wings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Blackhawks, the Wings' closest divisional pursuers, one of the league's youngest, highest scoring, and most dynamic clubs.

In case you have been too busy following the Cubs' off-season exploits to pay attention to the Blackhawks--or, more likely, if you have never paid attention to the Hawks--here is a Cubs baseball/Blackhawks hockey translator just for you.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on corruption charges.  The most prominent charges involve allegations that he essentially tried to sell his pending appointment of a successor to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama.

However, the indictments also include a charge that Blagojevich threatened to make assistance in the Tribune's efforts to sell Wrigley Field conditional on the Tribune firing members of its editorial board who had criticized his administration and even called for his impeachment.

Not wanting to pre-empt the winter meeting updates too much, the details are after the break.

After yesterday's heart-ripper-outer of a game, the Cubs have lost seven of
eight for the first time since last June. They still have a four-game division
lead and an 84.5% chance
of winning the division, thanks to the Brewers losing five of their
last seven, so things are not actually as bleak as they may seem.
(And yes, the chances of them missing the playoffs entirely are very, very small. But we're not discussing that. Yet.). Still, with Zambrano and Harden in various levels of gimpitude, the
collective angst here in Chicago is not unfounded. As Rob wrote earlier today, Harden is scheduled
to pitch on Thursday, and Zambrano on Saturday, so we'll know more (and
know just how freaked out to be) in a week or so.

In the meantime, maybe WXRT's Lin Brehmer
is right and the Cubs are suffering under The Curse Of Jon Bon Jovi.
Apparently the Cubs are playing "Living on a Prayer" during pitching
changes. "Living on a Prayer"? Seriously?

It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.
We've got each other and that's a lot for love
We'll give it a shot.
Whoah, we're half way there
Whoah, livin' on a prayer

I don't think "it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not"
adequately captures the true feelings of Cubs fans (not to mention players
and management). The Cubs aren't "living on a prayer," either; they're
living on strong pitching (expect for the 9th inning yesterday), solid defense (ditto), and the best offense in the
National League.

Of course, a textual analysis of the problems with "Living On a Prayer" doesn't address just how crappy Bon Jovi is. I mean, seriously, I understand how the desire to appeal to the widest possible audience often manifests itself in a rush to the lowest common denominator, but this is ridiculous.

I wish I had a long list of viable, higher-quality alternatives to offer,
because we're all about solutions here at TCR, but alas the last few weeks have
reduced my brain's capacity for that sort of critical thinking to
almost nil. But for starters, how about "Nothing To Fear (But Fear Itself)" by Oingo Boingo?

I await better suggestions in the comments. In the meantime, I will officially add my voice to Lin Brehmer's: no more Jovi at Wrigley. Not
now, not ever. Life's too short to listen to bad pop metal.

When NASCAR's Robby Gordon runs at the Chicagoland Speedway this weekend, the hood of his car will bear the Web address, SaveOurName.com. The site is a collection point for signatures from Cub fans who want to send a "message to the (Cubs')
owners: Don’t sell the name. It’s wrong. It’s selfish. And we won’t
stand for it."

By "we," the site's operator presumably means tradition-loving Cubs fans...and everyone at Deerfield,Illinois-based Jim Beam Brands Co., who created the site as part of an ad campaign.

If the Cubs were just now getting around to installing lights, I imagine Chicagoans United for Baseball in the Sunshine would be underwritten by Coppertone.

Grassroots movements just ain't what they used to be.

 

 

John Nuveen poster for Wrigley Field

From a campaign for Nuveen Investments designed specifically for use in and around the Wrigley Field skyboxes.You can see the rest of the posters here and here.

Tribune Company is now owned by a supposed money-making genius, and the best ideas he can come up with to wring more money out of Wrigley Field are more night games, additional concerts, and peddling the naming rights?

What about the weddings you could host on the pitchers mound, the bar mitzvahs, the graduation bashes, and the Congratulations On Getting Out Of Prison parties?

We've all seen the elaborate staging that happens at halftime of the Super Bowl. How hard could it possibly be to wheel a roller derby track onto the field between innings? Or put a petting zoo on the concourse. Or try this, Sam--get to know Cub fans on a personal level and feed the bottom line by setting up a booth where the Cub faithful get to kiss your beard for a buck!

Obviously the creative ideas are out there, and Sam isn't uncovering them. He needs our help. Send your suggestions to Sam Zell at Tribune Tower. Or post them in the Comments.

We can all laugh and be disgusted together.

According to the Daily Herald, the Blackhawks have discussed with the Cubs the possibility that the Hawks would play one of the NHL's outdoor games next season at Wrigley Field. The NHL would obviously need to give its okay and according to the Daily Herald story, the New York Rangers, who are hoping to host a game in soon-to-be-shuttered Yankee Stadium, might be more likely to get Gary Bettman's approval than the Hawks.

I've looked around the Internet trying to find the weight of an NHL hockey rink and can't come up with it, but I'm pretty sure they're heavy.

If Roger Bossard was dead, he would be spinning in his grave.

There's been a lot of talk lately about the potential sale of Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois. Many seem to be wondering why Sam Zell would risk devaluing the Cubs by selling its most valuable asset. The answer is simple...and obvious; more money.

While searching for the answer last night, I stumbled across the writers at Field of Schemes, who, in my humble opinion, are doing the Lord's work. It's been my long-held opinion that public subsidized stadiums are nothing more than corporate blackmail. The owners ask the state or local government to pay for their stadium. In return, the team won't move...how nice of them. The Field Of Schemes authors have a book whose subtitle explains it best: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Bingo! The octogenarian's in Florida have it right though, don't pay. In most cases, the teams need the city and its population more than the city needs the team (except Green Bay which I'm certain would be swallowed up by the Earth if the Packers left).

But how does this all relate to the Wrigley Field situation, you ask? The Chicago Reader explains what some of the reasoning might be behind Zell's plan (link found via Field of Schemes):

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Sam Zell’s plan to sell Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is “alienating would-be buyers” of the ballclub, A member of one of the prospective ownership groups says, “Splitting (the team and ballpark) absolutely diminishes the value of the team and my interest level.”

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