Guest Post: It’s a Dream, it’s only a dream…

Here is a guest post submitted by a loyal reader of the Clark-Addison Cubs Fan Blog. The topic is renovation of Wrigley Field and some of the views here I don’t share. But there is plenty here to get the discussion going and maybe even the blood boiling! Your comments can be posted at the conclusion of this post!  Here goes, welcome AJ Grace…

It’s a Dream, it’s only a dream…

by: AJ Grace

Let’s start off by clarifying a long time misnomer. I will only explain the why but not the why not. First of all, we need to clarify that I am a die-heard Cubs fan from way back and there’s no changing it. Go Cubs Go!!! OK-Let’s get to it. The Cubs outdraw the Sox for one reason and one reason only. Let’s sum it by using one simple word. Logistics. Look at it this way. If Wrigley was located at 35th and Shields, and the Cell was located at Clark & Addison, it would be a safe bet that the Sox would out draw the Cubs no matter what quality of team the Sox put on the field. It would also be a safe bet that those same Cubs’ fans would be accusing the now North-Side Sox fans of being no-mind baseball fans that only want to attend these games to drink, party and be merry and truly have little or no interest in the team or in baseball as a whole.

I just had to get that off my chest but there is another highly important reason for writing this article and it is because I want to address the expansion of Wrigley Field. I have recently heard some new ideas and looked at some renderings and to be perfectly honest, nothing, absolutely nothing has sparked my interest. Look at it this way, we are already living in the 2nd decade of the 21st century and the opportunity is now at hand to turn Wrigley into the perfect dream baseball stadium for the remainder of this century. How?

So here is what I will do. The remainder of this article I will put on my Tom Ricketts hat and tell ya all what I will do to turn Wrigley Field into the Dream Stadium it should be.

Let’s make one think perfectly clear. The playing field, the dimensions, the walls, the vines etc, etc, are staying put. There is nothing we want to do to change the sexy ambiance of Wrigley Field.

The challenge is to create a super Wrigley money machine that will support the quality team our fans expect and at the same time, not to change a single thing cosmetically. As a very young child, I can remember walking up the stairs, from the concession area into the park at what they referred to as the grand stand level back in the day and seeing Wrigley for the very first time. As you find yourself rising out from this gray, black, brown concession area that has a certain odor we all remember and then suddenly, SMACK!!! The sharpness of the kelly green colors jumps out from the field, the walls, the grass and the giant gray/blue scoreboard visible against a perfect bright blue cloudless sky and it all stabs you right between the eyes before you can catch your breath. Unfuckingbelievable!!! Presto… …and another Cubs fan is born. We certainly don’t want to change that for anyone, especially the next generation of Cubs fans.

So, how do we do this?

As Tom Ricketts, it’s fairly easy to do. We need to make a pact with the City of Chicago. Probably with the likes of Mayor Emmanuel. We will do this for a couple of reasons. 1. Wrigley Field is truly a land mark that needs to be preserved and 2. we will need some zoning changes from the city to accomplish the true expansion. As already suggested, we will put in x amount of private luxury boxes on the top row of the upper deck that stretch from foul pole to foul pole. This is great and we will make it all state of the art. The best part is none of this construction will be evident from inside the park unless you happen to find yourself inside one of the luxury boxes looking out.

The next thing I want to do is push the infield up 30 feet from where it is now and use the newly created space to insert portable seating that can be easily removed and stored. Stay with me on this one. This will also require to move both home and visitor dugouts up as well. I am estimating this will add 10 rows of seating, foul pole to foul pole and approx 8,000 seats or fans. OK- new boxes, ne box seating, new revenue streams….

Oh, did I forget to mention that we made a deal with the city of Chicago to purchase all the properties directly across from Wrigley on the North side of Waveland and the East side of Sheffield. The City will allow us to close down motor vehicle traffic, Waveland Ave. from Clark to Sheffield and to close Sheffield from Addison to Waveland. This will be done on a permanent basis. All of these properties currently have rooftop businesses and belong to the rooftop neighborhood club. Those days are gone. I will own those properties now and we will make some changes. First of all, the distance between the building line of these properties and Wrigley Field is close to 100 feet. First we will move the warning track, brick walls, vines, and bleachers and score board back 25 feet. This puts Wrigley Field back to the exact same look, feel and dimensions before the infield was moved in toward the walls. Nothing gained, nothing lost. That leaves us with a lot of buildings, a lot of roof tops and approximately 75 feet of space between the buildings and Wrigley.

I will rehab these properties in three way and create a mall/park setting in-between where Wrigley ends and the Building begin. All first and second floor areas of these buildings will be converted to retail, food, bar etc… The 3rd floor area will be converted into luxury boxes and their views to the field and the game will be improved. Above that, all properties will be enhanced and rehabbed to include new state of the art roof-top seating no less luxurious than the boxes below or the boxes in foul territory along the infield and foul lines.

In addition to the changes I am making above, we will also rehab the concession areas to include state of the art vending and rest room facilities in both the infield areas below the seating and the bleacher areas stretching from fair pole to fair pole.

Access to the mall/park area will be restricted to ticket holders during events, however, access will be open to all when no event is taking place or after events have ended.

Now we have endless opportunities for additional advertising, retail establishments, other sporting events, concerts on off days and when no event is taking place, the mall will be open for business as usual.

The new portable seating can be removed when a need to host other sports and their events that require additional field space to play, like football or soccer.

Please note: It doesn’t matter what it costs me to accomplish this. The fair market value will determine these costs. It’s the new revenue streams I will experience that will allow me to recoup my costs quickly and will instantly double the value of the Cubs making financing a very plausible reality. The icing on the cake will be my ability to afford the quality player our fans expect to see when the come to Wrigley to watch this team makes it’s way toward a World Championship. Last week when John McDonough and I sat down at Coach’s in Elk Grove and I laid these ideas on him, he couldn’t be more approving and enthusiastic. We lifted our beers together. Go Cubs Go!!! (just kidding about John but I know he would be proud)

These changes will turn Wrigley Field into a “Dream Come True” and a huge money maker for the organization that will set the curve for all new stadiums in the future.

Tom Rickets, AKA: AJ Grace

Die-Hard Cubs’ Fan

Available for consultations by appointment only

Your comments are invited here…

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    February 20, 2011  Tags: ,   Posted in: guest post, Ricketts family, Team Ownership, tradition, Wrigley Field

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