You hop on the CTA Red Line. As you bounce and wind through the streets of Chicago on the elevated train, your heart begins to race as the anticipation of going to the Cubs game grows exponentially with every building you pass. You stop at Wilson, then Lawrence, then Sheridan. Addison is next. Unfortunately, you're not getting off at Addison. In fact, you're not even going to Wrigley Field for the game.
Over a dozen stops remain, including a switch to Blue Line. Traffic on the Kennedy is packed, and very few buses are available for the ride to the northwest suburb that the Cubs call home. A taxi ride would cost as much as a box seat, and the only other option is the Metra from Union Station in Chicago.
As you approach the stadium, you begin to think of the countless animals displaced with the team's move to Rosemont. Prior to the construction of the new ballpark, Balmoral Avenue ended at the northern border of a beautiful forest preserve. No longer is there a secluded getaway from the concrete jungle of Rosemont and the surrounding suburbs filled with animals and nature.
You join the mass of fans entering the stadium and begin to reminisce on the days of watching the Cubs in beautiful Wrigley Field. No longer do the Cubs play in the same house that saw Babe Ruth call his shot, Dick Butkus destroy the offense and the likes of Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays.
The intimacy of the ballpark and neighborhood are long gone, replaced by a commercial zoo surrounded by office buildings. The Cubs stories told by your grandparents no longer come rushing back when you walk into the main concourse. Instead of looking up at the scoreboard to see which direction the wind is blowing, you search for the windsock on the runway at O'Hare Airport on the other side of the Tri-State Tollway next to the ballpark. A Boeing 737 soars deafeningly overhead, only a short height above the stadium lights and a mere leap away from the runway.
The game begins, but it's not the same. The scoreboard is no longer a manual, charismatic icon. The game has a sterile, unfamiliar feel to it. It's no longer a "Cubs" game. It's just a baseball game. Not that that is bad, but it's not what it used to be.
Although the offer of free land in Rosemont is flattering, the Cubs must politely decline it if they wish to remain the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs would be one step away from being an expansion team, and the fanbase would reflect it.
I think that anyone Cubs fan (or Sox fan, or Chicagoan) was quite caught off guard at the idea of the "Rosemont Cubs," with presumably many fans like myself even laughing at the thought of it. Shock gave way to logic, and logic gave way to reality. And the reality of the matter is is that the Ricketts family would never move the Cubs from the Friendly Confines.
They know that Cubs nation would kick, scream, cry, curse and rebel all the way to Rosemont, and then back home, locking the idea of the Chicago Cubs away in the vaults with Ebbets Field, Comiskey Park and Polo Grounds.
At least, I hope that the Ricketts family is aware of that.