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Should the Cubs get rid of their historic scoreboard?

Mar 22, 2013, 9:42 AM EDT

Wrigley scoreboard

Obviously looking to make friends, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune argues that the historic Wrigley Field scoreboard should be replaced:

I would find out if there’s a way to keep the exterior of the monster intact and replace the guts with the digital works for a giant replay screen and modern scoreboard. If it is too delicate for such a reconstruction, I would build a replica that keeps the exact same dimensions and exterior that houses a video board.

All of this is based on the assumption that the team (a) could realize $20 million a year in revenue from a modern jumbotron; and (b) will not be allowed to build a modern jumbotron behind the left field bleachers while keeping the old scoreboard as-is.

If those assumptions are true — and I have no way of knowing if they are — Rogers is right. The scoreboard is cool and quaint, but it’s also antiquated.  I’d keep it if at all possible, but if it’s preventing the Cubs from maximizing revenue and keeping fans from getting the sort of information that they’ve grown accustomed to getting in other parks, it’s kind of a problem.

My guess: they’re able to build that jumbotron in left or they’re able to build a new centerfield scoreboard that incorporates both video boards and the pleasing aesthetics of the current one.

  1. a125125125 - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Ever been to a Cubs game at Wrigley? Their fans are not exactly thirsty for the “sort of information” they would get in other ballparks. They’re thirsty for Old Style, Bud, and (by the seventh inning) a dirty bathroom to vomit in. The game is, at best, secondary…..Cubs fans couldn’t care less about game-related information.

    • El Bravo - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      This is the dumbest generalization I’ve seen in awhile. You can say that about any fans of any park. For every drunk fan at Wrigley, there is a quiet one keeping score and watching baseball. Sure, the bleachers are much more raucous, but seriously, you have no idea what your talking about as far as the entire Wrigley experience.

      The scoreboard should stay. The jumbotron can go in Left easily and block that stupid Miller Lite roof ad across Waveland. There aren’t even rooftops with stands over there.

      • Alex K - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        This.

      • a125125125 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        “For every drunk fan at Wrigley, there is a quiet one keeping score and watching baseball.” You think a 50-50 split is normal? At most ballparks 10-20% of folks are there to booze with 80-90% there to watch. At Wrigley, 50-50 is about right. If you thinks Cubs fans don’t over-consume beer when compared to other fan bases, you haven’t been to games outside of Wrigley Field.

      • El Bravo - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        You mistook my statistic’s meaning… I meant for every drunk fan, which you assume is nearly every fan. I do not. There are tons of kids, tons of families in general that go as well. There are many suburbanites that go to watch, neither heavily drinking nor fervently keeping score. I’m saying that for every extremely drunk/obnoxious fan that you describe is a fan that is deeply into the game and keeping score. The vast majority is somewhere in the middle, just like every ballpark.

      • kevinbnyc - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        Ever been to any sporting event in Philadelphia? They don’t even bother going to the bathroom to puke…they just vomit on each other.

        And the old scoreboard should stay. I’m not from Chicago and I’ve only been to Wrigley a couple of times, but part of the experience to me was seeing baseball as purely as you can outside of a Little League game. You watch the game, you listen to the organ playing, you sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” There aren’t any flashing ad banners. If you don’t pay attention to a play, you just don’t see it. It was refreshing, and something a lot of teams could learn a little something from.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        Have you ever been to a sporting event in Philly? I have my fun with the Phaithful, but I’ve never found the denizens of the Bank anythjng less than pleasant, and I always go decked out in Yankee paraphenalia. Those were fairly isolated incidents.

      • El Bravo - Mar 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        I’ve only been to Cit Bank park once, but it was extremely fun and there were no notable douches. Philly does get a bad rap but that’s b/c those isolated incicdents are so friggin’ ridiculous, crude, mean, violent, and/or hilarious.

    • Alex K - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Keep painting with that broad brush. It makes you look like a real genius.

  2. Marty McKee - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    I’m not even a Cubs fan, but I want to thumb down Craig’s post a million times. Heaven forbid Wrigley Field should keep an “antiquated” scoreboard that only displays scores, when it could put in a loud, flashy, annoying jumbotron that will play terrible rock music videos between innings, display dot races, bludgeon fans with advertising, and 25 other things that have absolutely zero to do with the game of baseball.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Don’t forget the annoying “kiss cam.”

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        I find the kiss cam as a good opportunity for chicanery and hijinks.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        And casual homophobia.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Nice.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        @ Kevin. Agreed, and not so subtle either.

      • Gamera the Brave - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        “I find the kiss cam as a good opportunity for chicanery and hijinks.”

        Sure, if you’re a blackguard or a knave, or some other fashion of
        ne’er-do-well…

    • worldseriestiger - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      I say they need to do away with it because its always wrong. the out of town part is the majority of the thing and the scores are wrong and pitchers are always wrong.

      If they could at least get that right it’d be fine, but they never do.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 22, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      I think Wrigley is a great place. I’ve been there once, and I tend to favor the classics. But that scoreboard is an abomination. It does not contain useful information. It was terrible when it was created, and it’s worse now given our understanding of statistics.

      I don’t need VORP up there. But something about the current pitchers being a lefty or how many runs he’s allowed? The position of the batter? How many stolen bases he has? These aren’t nerd-o statistics, and that scoreboard has no space for them. I don’t need a jumbotron — I need something that helps me understand the game taking place in front of me, and the Wrigley Scoreboard, classic though it may be, fails utterly on that count.

      It wastes space with line scores from out-of-town games and the numbers of the umpiring crew and yet doesn’t have anything from the game you’re watching beyond runs and hits.

      It’s a bad scoreboard. It’s been a bad scoreboard for 75-plus years. There’s no good reason to save it.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    No. Just No. Me and a few friends years ago took the trip for a series in Chicago and Wrigley exclusively for that kind of experience. Baseball experience like in the old days.

    I mean really, do we need a jumbotron everywhere? What’s next, jumbotrons on the Great Wall of China so you can watch things from space?

  4. wonkypenguin - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    The digital screen under the antiquated scoreboard provides the extra information necessary (player stats) and they’re already advertising everywhere they can short of landscaping the ivy in a pattern that spells out “Under Armour” or what have you. I’m all for some enhancements to the park, but I don’t see the scoreboard as any sort of issue.

    As for more information other ballparks sparkle at the crowds, I just wish someone would invent a way to carry around a device that fits in your pocket and pulls up the internet and your fantasy team and At Bat… Someone should look into that.

    However, if they could make the seats able to identify you by your ass to automatically check you in on Facebook, then that’s an enhancement we could all get behind.

    • bravojawja - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Heh – “behind.” Nicely done, that.

  5. dbetz17 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    The only reason this is even a topic is because the local alderman has had a lot of campaign contributions from the rooftop owners. He has the power to block any renovations the Cubs want to do, and is going to do it if they do anything to affect the rooftop owners view.

    Welcome to Chicago politics, where the people leeching off your product have more power than you do.

    • esracerx46 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      The Jeopardy answer of the day….Who is Tom Tunney

  6. david1stclair - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    The score board should get rid of the Cubs.

  7. norvturnersneck - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    I disagree use your smart phone, or you can ask someone next to you.

  8. bkh405 - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Let’s replace the Green Monster with an IMAX screen that plays Dora The Explorer reruns so Fenway is more kid friendly.

    • El Bravo - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      ZING! Seriously let’s make this happen.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 22, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Until they painted it green, the thing was covered with ads. Covered.

      http://boston.sportsthenandnow.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/old-green-monster.jpg

      Stuff changes. Get over it.

  9. Alex K - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    You’re wrong on this one, Craig. My argument is 100% emotional, but you’re wrong. So deal with it!

    Also, I think the scoreboard is part of the designated historical part of Wrigley.

  10. iamjimmyjack - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Keep it. Fans have cell phones. They can get stats etc on their phones if they need it. It looks cool IMO.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Have you ever tried to use the internet at a game? Impossibly slow.

      • 18thstreet - Mar 22, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        He’s right. I don’t know what the thumbs-down are for. If I want to know who is in the visiting team’s bullpen, it makes sense to use a cell phone. If there’s some second-year outfielder I’ve never heard of who is having a great game, it makes sense to use my cell phone to see who he is. I can do these things and watch the game. Easily.

        The assumption — and I’m putting words in your brain — is that I’d only use a cell phone to post a photo on facebook. But I’m reasonably likely to want to know who their lefty specialist is, and how well he does against righties. There’s no scorecard in the world that would have that information.

        Technology is a good thing.

  11. bobbychez - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Being a fan of another team and living no where near Chicago, I finally had the opportunity to take in a game at Wrigley last year and it was a great baseball experience. There are no distracting graphics or stats to take you away from the game of baseball being played on the field. If you need those stats and info while watching the game either look it up on your phone or watch the game from home. Wrigley is about pure baseball and is now my favorite place to watch a game. Everyone around us was interested in the game and it was quite enjoyable.

    Also, since no one mentioned this yet in the demolishment argument, I am curious how they are going to get around the landmark status of the scoreboard itself. As I learned on a tour of Wrigley (during the same trip to Chicago), the red marquee on the front of Wrigley, the ivy covered outfield walls, and the manual scoreboard are all considered landmarks. Any expansion or reconstruction done around the stadium has to be done around these items and very carefully.

  12. josemartez - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Definitely keep the scoreboard. I went to Wrigley for the first time this past summer and my wife and I both felt like we went back in time. Sure, not everyone likes the stadium, but putting a video board up would take away a lot of the experience. The closest stadium I have is the Rogers Centre and I hate the Jumbotron there (not to mention the stupid carpet turf, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish).

  13. louhudson23 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Fuck a Jumbotron,and the shitty music,stupid videos,games,races, commercials and all the rest of the crap,and while they are at it,PLEASE,PLEASE stop with the inanity of walk-up music.

  14. hojo20 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Phil Rogers is trolling.

  15. idolized1 - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Why can’t anyone just leave the good things alone anymore?

    Granted these are two extremely different examples, but look at what the rule changes are doing to the NFL. Now you’re talking about making one of sports all time classic, beautiful, historic, iconic, etc… ballparks more modern!

    Please, just leave things the way they are.

    Fans have smart phones and radios. If they are so thirsty for this kind of information they can surely find it without having to compromise Wrigley.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 22, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      That scoreboard is not a good thing. It is an old thing. And it is terrible.

  16. youdogoodatbaseball - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    It’s a video board (or scoreboard) but it is not a JumboTron.

  17. cubfan531 - Mar 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I’m fairly certain this is satire of Wrigleyville alderman Tom Tunney proposing on the 21st that the Cubs tear down the scoreboard to put up a video board there, and therefore not block the view of the neighboring rooftop owners. The owners who just happen to be his most consistent campaign contributors.

    The scoreboard’s got landmark status, to the point that the Cubs can’t even list every game being played on there.

    Eventually, from what I can tell, there’s going to be a video board out in left field, with the Toyota sign moving. Tunney will whine, the Cubs will threaten the move to Rosemont, and eventually they’ll get to do in Wrigley what the other 29 teams can do in their ballparks.

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