Opening Day is still about a month away and my beloved Chicago Cubs are not exactly favorites this year, but after seeing this (it’s a trailer for “MLB 12 The Show”) I think I am officially ready for baseball to begin once again 🙂
Now, this lifelong Cubs fan certainly doesn’t need a video game commercial to attempt to portray how unbelievably amazing the scene will be if we ever do win a World Series. However, I must say that this clip does a pretty good job at capturing the emotion of what might be…someday.
Could this be the year? Maybe. Why not, right? Can’t wait to find out.
What a finish to the 2011 MLB regular season. Four teams vying for two spots and one game each to make it happen. The result was probably one of the more exciting sequences that I’ve seen in quite a while.
With the exception of the Cardinals dominating their game (and making the playoffs for that matter – this part did nothing to excite me or make me happy) each of the other three games was a thriller.
I noticed this phenomenon when I went to a game earlier this year. Empty seats. The bleachers were not even close to being full, the rooftops were all but empty, and the feeling did not seem to be the same.
Yes it was April and yes it was chilly that day. But it was a weekend game. We weren’t doing THAT badly at that point. It was Wrigley Field. It was the Cubs. Based on the recent past, that should have meant a whole lot more butts in the seats.
It just didn’t seem quite right to me. Apparently others have noticed as well.
From the article:
The New York Yankees take on the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field this weekend, and, believe it or not, you can still get a seat.
Same goes for the usually coveted Crosstown Classic Series against the White Sox that starts Monday. Tickets are still available for that, too.
In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that tickets are available to just about any Cubs home game this year, say ticket sellers.
If you follow the Cubs and if you’ve tried to get tickets to games at Wrigley in recent years, you know that this is shocking stuff. This type of thing just doesn’t happen. At least it didn’t happen for a long time.
Ask any Cubs fan and you’ll hear mentions of any number of issues that need to be addressed: ever-increasing ticket prices, an aging roster, Wrigley Field’s limitations, etc, etc, etc.
Whatever it may be, something needs to happen. This season appears to be lost already. 28-40 is not a reason for optimism, even for the most optimistic of long-suffering Cubs fans.
It’s very expensive to go to a Cubs game. Granted this is not unique to the Cubs. I’ve mentioned before that I’d rather go see a minor league game and not blow several hundred dollars, especially on a sub-par product. Major League Baseball ticket prices are keeping countless fans away from the national pastime. I understand that owners want to make money and that player salaries need to be paid, but that’s an entirely different discussion for another time.
The article raises the possibility of just scrapping everything roster-wise and going with a youth movement. That may seem a little extreme but at the same time, we’re already out of it and the All-Star break isn’t even on the radar yet.
At this point the team is just not very good. We have some talented players but we’re not getting results. Bottom line: Whatever we’re doing now doesn’t seem to be working. The Cubs are not winning and fans are not coming to the games like they have in recent years.
So if it means starting over, I say do it. It’s worked for other teams in the past and it’s not like we have a track record of winning World Series championships to ‘risk’ if we try this. Thank the current players for their efforts and find new teams for them, then bring in some new guys. Why not?
If it means finding some way to offer fans better prices or special pricing options or something to make it more affordable to enjoy a game with their families…well, bite the bullet and do that too. You can’t expect people to pay more every season when your on the field product isn’t achieving any more during that time, and certainly not if it’s doing worse.
I really wanted to stay away from this one, but…if it means making major changes at Wrigley Field or (gasp) possibly building a new ballpark, I suppose ownership should bring those options to the table as well.
Let me get this straight before I continue. I’m one of the biggest pro-Wrigley Field folks around. At times in my life, I’ve thought this might be the place I’d like to have my ashes spread at when my time on Earth is done. It’s been the site of countless good times with family and friends and it holds a very special place in my heart. I like Wrigley Field. Got it?
However the older I get, the more I seem to lose attachment to objects and look more for satisfaction in life as a whole. Wrigley Field, while I love it to death and would be very sad if it went away, is just a place when it’s all said and done. The memories would still be with me even if Wrigley Field isn’t around anymore.
That being said I’m not going to be someone who makes a big push for leaving the Friendly Confines. I just can’t bring myself to do that.
What I will say is that any and all options should be considered for future success. If it takes us finding a new place to play where players will reach their full potential with all of the modern amenities that virtually every other team enjoys and if, as a result, that new place possibly (please God, let it be someday) leads to the Cubs winning a World Series…then who am I to say that option shouldn’t at least be considered.
Just get it done, Cubs. Whatever ‘it’ is – do it. You have a legion of loyal (mostly lifelong) followers and supporters. The love is still there, despite the dwindling attendance and the other issues. I hope ownership will make some changes for the better, and soon.
I’ll always be a fan. None of this is meant to be anti-Cubs. You will never see me root for another team. Ever. It’s just hard to see articles like this because, well, they speak the truth and the truth kinda hurts right now. Hopefully things will improve.
Took the kids to our first Peoria Chiefs game of the year the other night. Safe to say it did not disappoint.
As you can see it was a beautiful night outside. That never hurts. 80 degrees with a breeze…not only does that rhyme but it also feels fantastic.
Enough about the weather, though. The game was great. It was a back-and-forth affair with several lead changes. Ultimately the Chiefs pulled it out and they scored nine runs in the process. That makes for a lot of cheering and clapping at O’Brien Field, not to mention a lot of appearances by the ear of corn dancers (who come onto the field, cued by the ‘Vengabus‘ tune every time the Chiefs score.)
You can’t beat fun at the old ballpark. It’s cliché but it’s so true. After a couple of innings the kids made their way to the playground located behind the center field wall, as they do every time we go to a game there. Offer a playground for kids and kids will be happy to be at your establishment. It’s just that simple.
As we were heading out following the 8th inning (I normally stay but it was a weekday and past their bedtime already anyway, so it was time) my oldest son found his way to the wall near the dugout and managed to snag one of the t-shirts that they shoot out into the crowd. To say he was elated would be quite an understatement 🙂
Little brother’s (mild and very brief) disappointment at not catching one of the shirts didn’t last more than two minutes, as he and his older brother were treated to an even better surprise just a few moments later.
Not bad for a Monday evening.
All of this is just part of what makes minor league baseball great. It’s an atmosphere that may lack some of the aura and the memorable names that come along with the big league teams and stadiums, but what it lacks there it more than makes up for with personality, charm, and a sense of authenticity.
Whatever it is, I enjoy it. My kids enjoy it. I know countless others out there enjoy it as well. So go check out the Chiefs, or whatever minor league baseball team is near you. I’ll bet you’ll have a good time while you’re there.