While the shortsighted baseball fools that masquerade as Cubs fans are tweeting @paul_maholm piss poor pitching performances, a far more important development is underway for sports’ most tortured franchise. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing a “Fenway Plan” that would allow the Cubs to bring in as much as $150 million in advertising and sponsorship revenue outside of the stadium and the surrounding streets.
The plan would call for more outfield signage, a Jumbotron in right field & street closings on Waveland and Sheffield on game days for street fairs. There will also be more football games and concerts at Wrigley, a stadium club, restaurant & premium priced seating according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Kudos, Mayor. I’ve been preaching to anyone who will listen that the play on the field this season means very little. The win-loss record is as relevant as how long you say you’ve been a season ticket holder when you call sports radio. The on-field product only matters when it pertains to future starters like Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson, and what potential trade value guys like Matt Garza, Geo Soto, Ryan Dempster & Carlos Marmol have. The fact that the Cubs just lost 2 out of 3 to the rival Cardinals doesn’t mean shit compared to Emanuel’s plan to renovate the 98 year old park.
What the Red Sox did to renovate Fenway Park is the standard on how to turn a decrepit old ballpark into a money making machine. Should this “Fenway Plan” come to fruition, the Cubs on-field product will reap the benefits. This isn’t rocket science kids. The more money the team can bring in on game days, concerts, football games & other events will give Theo Epstein the ability to chase a marquee free agent, or acquire a high salaried player via trade when this team is ready to contend for a world series championship.
If you’re one of those fans who might be against Wrigley looking different because “you love the feel of the old school park,” then you must love losing baseball. You know that type, the ones who will bitch about ruining the sanctity of the park and all of that bullshit. “How dare they renovate this place? I have too many memories of the Cubs losing games in heartbreaking fashion here! They can’t take that away from me!” Go away. Seriously.
How can any real Cubs fan be opposed to this? I could care less what Wrigley will look like, as long as money is being brought in to improve the odds of us seeing a championship parade in our lifetime. The “I don’t want it to be too modern looking” idiots are as clueless as those who still get pissed off when Alfonso Soriano swings at 56 foot curve ball.
The city will benefit from the plan financially, as will the Cubs. It’s a win-win for all involved, and Mayor Emanuel deserves a ton of credit for knowing the team’s importance to the city, and how vital this plan is to maximizing the team’s ability to generate revenue.