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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

KMOV: Bailey: Wrigley Field is the treasure that never was

My kind of stadium, Wrigley ain’t
My kind of freeloaders, too
Toothless ushers who smile at you

There is something ghastly about watching the St. Louis Cardinals play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field akin to watching the prom queen dance with Quasimodo in a fetid alley.

Busch Stadium is a modern, clean facility with excellent views of the playing field, wide inner corridors, easy access to vendors, large restrooms, plentiful parking and compelling views of a vibrant downtown.

The Busch Stadium field announcer unashamedly welcomes fans to “Baseball Heaven.” Ushers smile, vendors have a full set of teeth, and the field is immaculate. 

If Busch is baseball heaven, then Wrigley Field is that other place, a sort of baseball hell where fans can purchase a ticket only to find their seat obstructed by a support beam, or located so far under the upper deck that fly balls are not visible, like watching the game from a tunnel. So distant is the upper deck, the game is just a rumor.

...Perhaps the most curious aspect of Wrigley Field are the freeloaders who squat on various neighboring rooftops in seats only marginally less distant than Voyager II. They don’t just pilfer the game as they once did, years ago, when they put out a few lawn chairs and watched a couple of innings from across the street. Building owners have erected stadium seating – large metal bleachers onto which dozens of people sit, often paying large sums of money to sit across the street, at least 200 feet further than the farthest outfield seat. Literally hundreds of fans cram into these steep bleachers in full view of fire inspectors and building code enforcement, convinced that they are enjoying a unique experience.

The worst seat at Busch Stadium is a field box compared to these, yet they are more coveted that the handful of decent seats inside Wrigley itself.

They have another tradition, that of singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the 7th inning, led off-key by some minor celebrity dragged in to aver his undying allegiance to a team whose moniker is “The Lovable Losers.”

And they are, in more ways than one.

Repoz Posted: May 07, 2013 at 04:56 AM | 123 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cards, cubs

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   101. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: May 08, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4437457)
I've been to many of the defunct stadia, while I'll always miss County Stadium for lots of reasons, Tiger Stadium was easily my favorite of that group. If hot though, that air in that space was quite stagnant and it was uncomfortable. I loved, loved, loved the bunker style bullpens. Sitting near there was a treat. I remember Bobby Ayala getting into it with some fans, telling the guy to go back to his job at K-Mart, etc.

Kingdome was the crappiest, most God awful professional stadium I've ever attended, the only experience/facilities worse that feature prominent sporting events are Belmont Park and the Yale Bowl.
   102. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 08, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4437484)
mrams

good calls all around.

here's a Belmont park story for you

so I take the wife to the breeders cup back in 2001. yup, right after 9/11

anyway, I am in line (yeah, going old school) for a bet and as I get to the window after being there for however long the window slams shut. Belmont is union operated and it was break time for the guy at the window

for the breeders cup. with European visitors laying thousands of dollars on each race. and this guy is allowed to up and leave

crazy
   103. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 08, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4437496)
County Stadium is probably my favorite MLB park of all time, as crazy as that sounds.
   104. vivaelpujols Posted: May 08, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4437503)
An example is St. Louis's treatment of Brandon Phillips, who seems to be one of the more likeable players out there: he's good, he's smart, he's funny, he plays the game hard, and he seems to really enjoy himself on the field. Yet ever since Phillips called out the Cardinals as "whiny little b!tches"---which, let's face it, they are (were)---the city acts like he's the biggest jerk in the game. The lack of perspective and self awareness of the fans and media would be funny if it wasn't so tiresome and predictable.

This makes zero sense. Brandon Phillips started the grudge by calling the Cardinals whiny little #######. They certainly have a right to dislike him, even if he is an otherwise likeable player. Now the biggest jerk in the game is Johnny Cueto, but that's another story.

I think the all the Cardinals propaganda is annoying and this article is especially bullshit. I agree with Harveys this is probably Tony's fault.

   105. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 08, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4437514)
County Stadium is probably my favorite MLB park of all time, as crazy as that sounds

there was no better experience, none, than county stadium in june in Milwaukee when the crew was competitive. none

I know I am regarded as biased but between being outside and the breeze and acoustics and the tailgating and the energy of the crowd it was just complete FUN

that will always remain my frame of reference
   106. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: May 08, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4437521)
between being outside and the breeze and acoustics and the tailgating and the energy of the crowd it was just complete FUN


that's my primary memory, plus Bob Betts' baritone voice, repeating names,
   107. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4437551)
County Stadium is probably my favorite MLB park of all time, as crazy as that sounds


there was no better experience, none, than county stadium in june in Milwaukee when the crew was competitive. none

I know I am regarded as biased but between being outside and the breeze and acoustics and the tailgating and the energy of the crowd it was just complete FUN


I only got to go to County Stadium three times (1970, 1989, 1992), but that was enough to make me put it in my top 5 or so, for the same reasons Harvey mentions, especially the smells coming from the tailgating on an Indian Summer afternoon. I only wish I could've gone there in the heyday of the Braves' early run.
   108. cardsfanboy Posted: May 08, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4437571)
This makes zero sense. Brandon Phillips started the grudge by calling the Cardinals whiny little #######. They certainly have a right to dislike him, even if he is an otherwise likeable player. Now the biggest jerk in the game is Johnny Cueto, but that's another story.


To be fair, the thing that got Brandon Philips in trouble with Cardinal fans wasn't his take on the team, it was his take on the city. Whether he meant it to be an insult or not, he upset a lot of people with his comment about being in St Louis and having to go to the gas station for anything decent to eat(not exactly sure what the quote was, but it was something akin to that)

Factor in that the Cardinal broadcasters had have it in for Philips from day one and were always bad mouthing him on the air. (they have recently turned around on that, and have gone out of their way to compliment him in the last season or two, but before they were spouting the same tired old sit white man comments you see about a typical black player with loads of talent who genuinely enjoys the game while playing)


I love Brandon Philips (but yes, he showed very poor judgement that day he hit Molina's shinguard)... Cueto on the other hand could be drowning and I have a chance to save only one of him or Loria, and I might hesitate before offering him a hand.


I agree with some of this article. In arguing that Wrigley field appeal is largely about it's history and not it's actual design or ambiance. And I still wish the New Busch felt more...something. It's a fine stadium but it doesn't have the wow factor that I was hoping for, outside of the view of the arch which was a nice design feature.

   109. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: May 08, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4437576)
I know I am regarded as biased but between being outside and the breeze and acoustics and the tailgating and the energy of the crowd it was just complete FUN

If anything I am biased the other way as a Cubs fan. Of course, when I was in high school and driving up to County, the Brewers were still in the AL, so not a rival. Anyway, County was truly a fun place to watch a game. Either in regular seats or in the outfield. The tailgating was a big part of that (being in high school or home from college and not getting bothered when we had beer was a plus), but also the acoustics there were unlike anywhere else.

The Brewers took a big step down with Miller. And I'm not some traditionalist either since I think PNC is the greatest current park in the game today.
   110. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 08, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4437623)
Harveys, totally agreed that MCS was a FUN time. Like Greg Pope, I was a Cubs fan who drove up to MCS in high school and college. Loved the tailgating, loved the cheap bleacher seats, loved the vibe. It was just a good place to see a ballgame. I've seen more games in MCS than Wrigley.
   111. Flynn Posted: May 08, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4437646)
I've never been to Milwaukee but it strikes me that County Stadium would be much more appreciated had it lasted until now. It was the last surviving 50s baseball stadium and captured that era very well. I don't recall there being much sorrow outside of Milwaukee for its closure but it might be a more appreciated venue today.
   112. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 08, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4437687)
I never went to County Stadium, but I HATE Miller Park. Feels like they're playing indoors no matter what's going with the roof, they have nothing but parking lots surrounding the stadium and it still sucks trying to get out after a game.
   113. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2013 at 06:04 PM (#4437844)
Love Miller Park. Probably the best major league park I've been to since they've fixed the problem of getting to the park.
   114. BDC Posted: May 08, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4437936)
I lived near Belmont for many years, but rarely went there. The sheer size is offputting. I realize that's what makes the Stakes such a great race, but for everyday racing, the oval is vast and literally distances the crowd. Nice paddock, though, as I remember it.
   115. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 08, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4438138)
anyway, I am in line (yeah, going old school) for a bet and as I get to the window after being there for however long the window slams shut. Belmont is union operated and it was break time for the guy at the window

for the breeders cup. with European visitors laying thousands of dollars on each race. and this guy is allowed to up and leave

crazy


Damned unions! Who do these people think they are, taking breaks, when I want something??

3, 2, 1...
   116. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4438141)
The Belmont scenario Harvey describes happens all the time at the checkout lines during rush hour at the local Safeway. But the problem isn't the unions, it's the deliberate understaffing or lack of planning on the part of management. One might think that Belmont would think about having someone ready to fill in during break times, with that much money at stake, especially with time such a critical factor.
   117. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2013 at 12:02 AM (#4438189)
And that fill in would be a full timer with full pay and benefits. The cost is greater than whatever profit they would gain by doing it thus they don't do it. Happens all the time in a union shop.

   118. Spahn Insane Posted: May 09, 2013 at 12:14 AM (#4438194)
Miller Park feels like a greenhouse to me, whether the roof's open or not. Not a fan.
   119. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 09, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4438201)
@116: but it's so much easier than blaming management!

There are pet peeves that need to be taken out for their daily ride, don't you know.
   120. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: May 09, 2013 at 12:44 AM (#4438206)
RE: 116, Kroeger is actually addressing this problem, pretty cool actually, of course it is done in an effort to reduce costs (labor).

Infared being used to manage grocery lines
   121. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 09, 2013 at 12:59 AM (#4438208)
Sad news: Women Dies Choking on Hotdog at Wrigley. Be careful out there.
   122. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2013 at 07:34 AM (#4438236)
And that fill in would be a full timer with full pay and benefits. The cost is greater than whatever profit they would gain by doing it thus they don't do it. Happens all the time in a union shop.

Well, obviously that's the reason that management chooses to be short-staffed---when it comes to customer service vs beancounting the beans usually win---but it happens just as often in non-union shops.
   123. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: May 09, 2013 at 08:19 AM (#4438246)
I've been to four parks that no longer host baseball. Two that were torn down: Three Rivers and Atlanta Stadiums. And two that just don't have MLB any more: Olympic and Joe Robbie.

Each had their good points, but I wouldn't want to go to a game at any of them tomorrow.
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