Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cards/cubs & Wrigley wrenovations

The Cards are stopping for a cup of coffee (and perhaps other beverages near Rush & Division), and two games in less than 24 hours at Wrigley field.  The Cardinals dropped the first game on Tuesday night, as Lance Lynn suffered his first loss of the season, bringing his all-important win/loss record to 5-1.

A lack of offense (despite Yadi's best efforts) was a factor in the loss, and I wish I could tell you that's uncommon.  Tuesday's 2-1 loss (game #32 of the 2013 campaign) was the 14th time this season that the Cards offense scored 3 or fewer runs.

But what I really caught myself thinking about tonight was Wrigley Field.

There has been a lot of buzz in the news lately about the plans that the Ricketts family has for their business.  Discussions surrounding a $500MM renovation to Wrigley, a possible move to the Rosemont area, should the organization, city, rooftop folks, and 36 other entities (including a dozen or so dirty government officials) be able to come to an agreement that would allow the cubs to do the things they need to do, and plenty of other variables that would put this already long run-on sentence over the top.  The bottom line is that the cubs want to overhaul the Wrigleyville area, including major upgrades & renovations to the ballpark itself, or they're talking about moving.  Leadership in the suburb of Rosemont, near O'Hare airport has offered the club roughly 25 acres of land, if they want to head outbound on the Kennedy from the intersection of Clark & Addison.

If you've not seen the artist's renderings of the proposed renovations, check this out.  You can find these drawings in many places online, but I linked to picture #2 in this collection for two reasons.

Reason 1)  One of the major sticking points is a videoboard, or as some might refer to it, the jumbotron.  It blocks the view of some of those rooftop seats, which apparently violates a contract that the cubs entered into a few years back with the owners of those rooftops.  Erect a 6,000 square-foot videoboard at the back of the LF bleachers, and you're going to block a lot of rooftop views, thusly pissing some people off.

So, maybe I'm over-simplifying here, but stay with me for a second.  If the proposed major overhaul of Wrigleyville (or, as some might call it, "Ballpark village North") will encompass the area spanning Clark, Addison, Waveland & Sheffield, and a ton of construction to enhance the area...  Why not just back that videoboard up another couple hundred feet, and put it on the other side of Waveland?  Sure, it's a little outside-the-box thinking, having a scoreboard that technically exists outside the ballpark itself, but why not?  I know it wouldn't be a walk in the park to get that done, but keep it in perspective--we're already talking about messing with landmarks that are on the list of 'things that are historically important, so you can't just go doing whatever you want with them'.  If you can get that done, you wouldn't think it'd be as hard to put a scoreboard across the street.

Reason 2)  One of the things that Tom Ricketts harped on in his comments earlier this month was the ability to run the cubs organization like a business.  Which, incidentally, it is, and for being a pretty lousy product on the field, it's certainly a very lucrative business.  But, in the name of "running it like a business", I'll tell you right now:  Don't be surprised if the cubs home games of the future are played at "McDonald's park at Wrigley Field" or "Motorola Stadium".  Just sayin'.  If the man wants to run this organization like a true business, he'll likely cash in on the opportunity for naming rights.  We're talking about (easily) tens of millions of dollars to change the name for a few decades.  If the business attitude that we've seen so far remains in tact for the future of this ownership and this organization, I wouldn't be surprised to see it.  Wouldn't be surprised at all.

I've been to Wrigley several times, and as far as it's charm?  I saw a twenty-something year old girl drunk puking in the street outside the park before a 1:20 start last September.  At that same game, there was this kid (I'd guess 3 years old or so) who was "washing his hands" in the various streams of urine and the trough of pee itself between innings, much...MUCH to the displeasure of his father, I might add.

If that's not charm, I don't know what is.

I digress.  Game two of this two-game set is this afternoon, and I expect a Cardinals win.  Westbrook has been solid, and as long as he keeps the ball down (which hasn't been much of a problem thus far in 2013), and the bats show up (Matt Adams' return from the DL should help that), the redbirds should be able to handle Villanueva, even if it's a B-squad that takes the field.  Given that, it's hard not to notice that the Cards are currently in a four-day stretch where they have two days on (again, two games in less than 24 hours), and two days off.  The good news is that the Cards could run an "A" squad out there on Wednesday, since they're off Thursday.  The bad news is that they don't have another day off until two weeks from Thursday.  13 straight games is nothing to overlook when making lineups and planning ahead, but until the last series (out west) of that run, they're home games, which is a decent silver lining.

That homestand welcomes the Rockies, Mets, and Brewers to Busch before the Cards head out west to play at SD & LAD (also making for sleepy mornings at my house on Tue, Wed, Thr, and Sat).  Beating the teams the Cardinals are supposed to beat during those sets will be important.  But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, the Cards are "supposed to beat" the cubs...let's start there.

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