Despite my unbridled hatred for the Chicago Cubs, it is hard to hate a ballpark like Wrigley Field.
I attend one Cubs-Sox game every year on the north side. Despite the fact that I stick out like a sore thumb, experiencing a game at Wrigley Field, no matter who is playing, is one of the great joys of my life.
Wrigley Field is the last great cathedral of baseball.
It is a throwback to a time where the game was not commercialized, the players were personable, and above all, it was pure.
Slapping some company's name on the marquee would be the final straw and the old guard of baseball would be dead. If the new owner were to sell the name, they might as well sell ad space on every open space on the Cubs' uniforms, buy the biggest jumbotron in the known universe, build a great grandstand blocking the views on Waveland and Sheffield, and play all the games at night.
I am sure any person who did that would be favor of bringing the DH to the National League.
Chicago has seen a lot of bad sports owners in its day, but the person responsible for desecrating Wrigley Field would have achieved an act as close to Wirtzian as anyone besides Dollar Bill could pull off.
Wrigley holds power.
It is the standard by which all other ballparks are measured. All the new mega stadiums are trying to be Wrigleyesque.
Even their most hated rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, can't help themselves when it comes to emulating the world that is Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville, and to do that they built a new ballpark that went along the lines of the new en vogue style—retro.
Every park wants to recreate the ambiance of Wrigley Field. They want the fans to feel like they are going to a place storied with tradition and popping with folklore.
Every park has failed.
You see cities all over the Major Leagues trying to create ballpark villages to recreate the atmosphere in Wrigleyville after a game.
They have all failed.
You can't manufacture what Wrigley Field has. It was created naturally. Going to a game at Wrigley is an event. It is that experience that is most pure—in no way artificially created. You feel as if you are doing something special when you take in all that is Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville on a sun-soaked July day.
To bastardize that which is most pure would question the very foundation of Americana.
To the new owner of the Cubs, let me just warn you:
It is a suicide mission for the owner who tries to change the name.
There was a strong backlash against the US Cellular name change. The people who protested had nothing to base that on. There was nothing special about Comiskey II. It was no more a part of the town than Wal-Mart.
Wrigley Field is the town.
That means that those who will protest, and that number will be in the millions, will have something to fight for other than a name, they are fighting for all the tradition and memories that go along with that name.
They are fighting for Ernie Banks, Harry Caray, Ron Santo, and Andre Dawson.
The Cubs didn't play their first night game at Allstate Park. The Chicago Bears were never the Monsters of the Midway at Verizon Stadium.
A name change would also affect your pocketbook; something you think will be padded when you sell the name.
You see, Wrigley Field sells on name power.
People came to Wrigley not to see the Cubs, but to see the splendor of the Friendly Confines. I don't think that would carry over to Wrigley Field at Bank One Park, or Tampax Field.
To the fine citizens of Chicago, and to millions of other baseball fans around the globe, Wrigley Field is not just a name, it is synonymous with baseball.
Perhaps one day when the ballpark comes down, the name will too, but as long as the building itself stands, the name should as well.