Wrigley Field, built in 1914, is the second-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Although in many ways it is regarded as one of the most beautiful parks in the game, it certainly has its downfalls for fans, players and employees.
Here is a look at the 10 worst aspects of Wrigley Field.
Ah, Wrigley. Such a beautiful view of the lake, neighborhood, skyline and...a Toyota sign?
Despite the fact that the sign will raise an estimated $2 million dollars over a three-year period, the logo is a huge eyesore to any Wrigley or baseball purist, like myself.
Wrigley Field's manual scoreboard is one of the most renowned aspects of the park. What some don't know is that the scoreboard only has room for 24 teams. Since the MLB consists of 30 teams, six teams aren't shown on the scoreboard on a full day of games.
In the 2004 season, falling concrete forced the team to install safety netting underneath the structure in order to prevent fans from being injured. With 98 years of history comes 98 years of wear and tear on the ballpark's structure.
Perhaps one of the best parts of Wrigley is its close proximity to the surrounding buildings and neighborhood. Unfortunately, this results in an enormous lack of parking in the nearby vicinity. Luckily, public transportation provides easy access for fans unwilling to pay a fortune to park in the boondocks.
When the day finally comes that sees the Cubs in the World Series, only 164,000 lucky fans will get to see the Cubbies in the Classic. And that's assuming the Cubs have home-field advantage and it goes to seven games.
Surely the Cubs could fill a few more thousand seats every year.
Here is the catch for No. 6: Because of Wrigley's lack of surrounding space, the team has very little room for expansion of the ballpark. Not only is expansion limited because of structural integrity, but zoning laws such as setback requirements and neighborhood cooperation also prohibit a great deal of ballpark expansion.
Noticing a pattern here? One of the smallest ballparks in the league equals little wiggle room throughout the park. Upon my last visit to the Friendly Confines, I measured the width of the concourses to be approximately 30 feet. Almost half of those of many other ballparks. Anyone with extreme claustrophobia is certain to have quite a "memorable" experience while navigating through the concourses.
Wrigley has by far the smallest clubhouses in baseball. And if you think the Cubs have it bad, the visitors have it worse. One of the most important aspects of home-field advantage for a team is comfort. Unfortunately, Wrigley doesn't provide much comfort for anyone, including the Cubs.
Here's a basic economy lesson: As demand for tickets goes up, prices go up as well. Cubs tickets have been the hottest ticket in town for years. Literally. As mentioned earlier, the Cubs have sold over three million tickets every year for nearly a decade. This has caused tickets, food costs and parking to skyrocket.
Seriously, who wants to spend $30 to $40 to stare a huge beam? Many seats throughout Wrigley's upper deck are obstructed by steel columns, which often block large sections of the playing field. Even more unfortunate is that the only realistic way to fix this is to build an entirely new roof.