ESPN's Rick Reilly dropped the gauntlet on Wrigley Field yesterday, opining that the boondoggle of the landmark stadium and local business "leeches" are to blame for the Cubs' record-setting ineptness as a team. Forget Billy's goat. Reilly jokes about the Ivy's stranglehold, but what he's really saying is that archaic traditions and measures of stadium preservation should be tossed aside in order for unbridled capitalism to deliver bigger budgets and, voila, championships. It's what the Red Sox did at Fenway—littering the district with billboards—to pave the way to two titles in nine years, or so Reilly reasons. But it doesn't seem like Reilly wants any ancillary businesses to profit, in proposing that The Ricketts Family be allowed to run roughshod over rooftop owners (obstructing signage) and nearby restaurants (by tacking on Saturday night games). Nor would he shed a tear if Wrigley invited corporate naming. Sheesh! It's not like Wrigley is failing to fill seats.
There's no doubt that middle ground exists— the $300M proposed renovation makes a ton of physical improvements without compromising character. Signage is a major sticking point. And not just where it's placed, but what it advertises. When we revealed renovation renderings in January, one of the biggest commenter gripes was the proliferance of Budweiser advertising— loathed beer of The Cardinals! Anyhow, Curbed thinks it's high time we had a reader poll to settle the score (poll will close Monday at noon).
·Wrigley's Ivy is Choking the Life Out of the Field [ESPN]
·Proposed Wrigley Field Renovations Hit the Scene [Curbed Chicago]