When I wrote several weeks ago that Wrigley Field was a “dump” I knew some real baseball fans would think I was off my rocker. Well, one of the greatest fans and commentators of the game agrees with my analysis, using the exact same word.
In a radio interview on Friday, June 10, MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons specifically called Wrigley Field “a dump.” In the interview, which was done on WSCR-AM 670 Chicago, Gammons said that new owner Tom Ricketts has to do more than rebuild personnel. He needs to deal with the ballpark sooner than later.
The Cubs have previously said they would renovate the 97-year-old park, but the Sporting News reported last week that the club is looking at ways to finance proposed changes. Lot’s of luck in getting public money right now. It will not happen, especially in Chicago. And the family does not have the cash or credit, so it seems, to really do what should be done.
“They have to make that ballpark livable,” Gammons said. “It’s a dump, Wrigley Field. They’re going to have to spend $200-and-something million on re-renovating Wrigley Field, do what the Boston owners did with Fenway Park.” (What a sensible model, Boston and Fenway Park!)
The sad irony is the response to this controversy by most Cubs fans. Here was one Cubs fan responding to the Gammons interview on the Sporting News web site:
“I have been to Wrigley Field and it is no dump! Yes, it is old and run down but then so am I. When you go to Wrigley it is like going back in time and you literally feel baseball. No other park I've been to even comes close to Wrigley.”
This is the most common type of response I hear from Cubs fans. They seem content to play losing baseball in a dump so long as their beloved ballpark stands. They will wear shirts and boast about Wrigley Field rather than celebrate a real champion and a consistently winning franchise. The Cubs are a long way from contending on the field and their park is a major problem. The love affair these fans have with this place amazes me. There is nothing like it in all of baseball but then there are no fans like Cub fans either. (Take that sentence in any way you choose since it is not said to hurt or harm any Cubs fans but simply because it is true.) It was not always true. When I came to Chicago in 1969 it was not true. Somewhere, I think in the 1980s, this hoopla about Wrigley Field began to take on a life of its own. Now it is the great myth – our ballpark is the best and that matters profoundly to us as Cubs fans.