Thursday, March 06, 2008

In Support of Wrigley

A moment of support for our (former?) spiritual national league brothers and sisters, the fans of the Chicago Cubs. Their team has fallen on hard times of a nature far more serious than "wait until next year": owners Tribune Company (in the form of CEO Sam Zell) has ignited a firestorm of incredulity by stating (and restating) that any deal by the beleaguered newspaper company to sell the team might just include new naming rights to Wrigley Field.

I think corporate naming rights are a little ridiculous, but I recognize they're a necessary evil - for the most part, and depending entirely on situation. The "new" Boston Garden (or whatever it calls itself now) is a modern edifice, devoid of the weight of history that we like to call character. The owners can call it whatever they like, because it's not a landmark. Same thing with the faceless monstrosities of the 1970s; you can sell the naming rights to the Oakland Colosseum and have it sport the logo of whatever antivirus company you'd like, because it's devoid of the history that makes a ballpark a ballpark. Or maybe I just hate the concept of baseball games taking place in football stadiums.

My point: I offer this public, electronic, and (I don't fool myself) ultimately irrelevant bit of support because I can empathize with anyone who bleeds Cubbie blue. I can imagine the tragedy (and the riots) if the owners of the Sox decided to sell the naming rights to Fenway, and when I see the overpriced tickets and food and the ridiculous scalping that goes on (legally, mind you) through sites like StubHub because there aren't enough seats for every fan who wants to go, I know these are the crosses that must be borne to avoid the specter of John Hancock Park or Raytheon Park or - horror of horrors - a new stadium that attempts to replicate the past with 5,000 more seats. I've never been to Wrigley Field, but I hope one day to go - and I hope it's still called Wrigley Field when I do.