Wrigley Field is a shrine to millions of Chicago Cubs fans, but is the beloved field the reason why the team can never seem to win?
In an article recently in the Wall Street Journal, Rich Cohen wrote "Why Wrigley Field Must Be Destroyed."
In it, he talked about the team never winning there and the difficulties involved with building a team to play there.
This is a subject I have talked and thought about for a long time, and while I love Wrigley Field, I love winning more.
From 2004 to midway through 2006, I covered the Cubs on a semi-weekly basis. Walking up the steps from the concourse and seeing the field gave me the same feeling I remembered from going there as a kid.
There's nothing like it, and I understand why people love the park, despite the fact the amenities leave something to be desired. It's even worse for the players, with a small clubhouse, poor workout facilities and the only usable batting cage under the right-field bleachers.
For the fans, it's about the history. You have the classic, old-fashioned scoreboard that is part of the architecture of the field. Then there's the ivy growing on the outfield wall that Bill Veeck had planted in the '30s when he was working for the team.
There's nothing better on a warm summer day than sitting at Wrigley Field, sipping a beer and taking in the game.
That is, if you're okay with not winning, because the Cubs have never won a World Series since they started playing there. They haven't even appeared in one since 1945, when the goat curse became part of their history.
People blame the goat, the black cat that circled Ron Santo in 1969 and Steve Bartman in 2003 as the curses that have kept the Cubs from winning, when in reality, it's the park that they love so much.
Aside from inept ownership and management throughout the years, the park itself makes it very difficult if not impossible for the team to win as long as it's their home.
Most clubs have an edge playing in their home field, and build their teams to take advantage of it. You can't do that with Wrigley, because it plays differently in the cold days of a Chicago spring from the hot days of summer.
You have to build two different teams to play there, and so far, everyone who has attempted to put a club together to break the curse has failed.
Dallas Green came in with the slogan, "Building a New Tradition." The Cubs came close in 1984, but fell to the San Diego Padres in the playoffs.
Dusty Baker, coming off managing a San Francisco Giants team that went to the World Series the previous season said, "Why not us?"
It almost happened before the infamous Bartman incident interceded.
Now Theo Epstein is going to give it a shot, but so far, Wrigley Field has beaten them all.
Whether it's curses or not, the Cubs just can't seem to overcome the old ball-yard.
Wouldn't a nice new park with all the amenities, including a JumboTron, be nice?
Wouldn't winning the World Series in your lifetime be even better, or as the MasterCard commercials say, "Priceless?"
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