It appears iconic Wrigley Field, home of a baseball team that hasn't won a World Series since text messaging was performed via carrier pigeon and smoke signals, is finally going to look like a normal ballpark.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts recently forged a deal with Chicago officials to renovate the crumbling structure and include, among other things, a revenue-generating video scoreboard in left field, a hotel and office building across the street and a pedestrian bridge to accommodate faithful fans like myself who still believe the Cubs are going to become (dare I say it?) World Series champs! (That last sentence has my PC's spelling and grammar tool flummoxed; it keeps suggesting I change the last three words to "fourth-place finishers.")
Barring a few lawsuits from whiny neighborhood residents who feel Wrigley operates just fine with a men's room urine trough, parking for roughly 37 vehicles and support beams that could easily buckle if a steady wind blows off Lake Michigan, Ricketts is ready to move. Don't be surprised if construction equipment appears in the outfield shortly after the All-Star break.
Deep drive to left, Soriano heads back and... a SENSATIONAL leaping grab by the Caterpillar bulldozer!
Len, I thought that was going over the wall... if the wall existed!
Ricketts has boldly proclaimed that the improvements will make champs out of the North Siders. In reality, all he is doing is leveling the playing field; most major league stadiums added JumboTrons and fully functioning toilets years ago. It's quite possible the Cubs could wallow their way through another century without a title. Therefore, Ricketts needs to include futuristic amenities that fans will enjoy not just in 2014 but 2114, at which time the Cubs will most likely be owned by a group of cyborg investors with deep pockets and a love for baseball. So, Mr. Chairman, please consider the following upgrades that did not appear on your comprehensive plan:
- QR codes on all player uniforms that can be easily scanned with cellphones. The codes would lead users to a website verifying that yes, that really is a major league player on the field.
- Liberal use of holograms. Start with one featuring Harry Caray singing "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch. Then add an outdoor Walk of Fame featuring 3-D images of Cubs' legends like... like... uh, OK, I'll get back to you on that one.
- The latest Pentagon-approved missile launchers in the left- and right-field bleachers to fire opposing home run balls back toward home plate. Right now, bleacher patrons perform this ritual by hand, a task made immensely difficult considering most are too inebriated to know where home plate is. (Retired, sober military personnel would operate the artillery).
- Speaking of alcohol, how about conveyor belts in every row? Beer transactions would be much easier if patrons didn't have to pass money from seat 25 to seat 1 in exchange for a Budweiser.
- Consider letting vendors sell portable jet packs. Do you know how many fans were looking for quick escape routes after the April 14 Giants game when Cubs pitchers threw FIVE wild pitches in a single inning?
- You asked for more concerts at Wrigley. By 2030, I'm sure there will be technology in place to get the Beatles back together. Start selling tickets now. Use the money to buy some free agents.
- The first ever 360-degree rotating JumboTron. This will be the easiest way to appease rooftop owners whose views will most likely be blocked once the board is erected. Give those people an occasional glimpse of the action. Include a public service announcement featuring you or a member of your family saying, "You can't beat fun at the old ballpark... if you buy a ticket."
- Outlets at every seat to recharge electronic devices. By the third inning, the majority of Cub fans are on their phones, anyway.
OK, that's about it. Wait, I just thought of a hologram for the Walk of Fame. Joe Pepitone. He batted .307 in 1971. That more than qualifies.