Renovations to Wrigley Field will help bring the iconic ballpark into the 21st century. The ongoing discussion about the upgrades is overshadowing the more important factor, which is getting the Chicago Cubs back in contention for a World Series title.
Wrigley Field is one year away from celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Cubs' drought without a World Series extends six years beyond that, putting the team's long-term struggles into perspective. Finding a way to end the skid should remain the club's top priority.
The agreement between the Cubs and the city of Chicago on plans for $500 million of renovations, as reported by the Associated Press (via USA Today), is a positive, there's no doubt about that. Even the best stadiums need changes eventually to keep up with the times.
Yet, no matter how much money gets poured into Wrigley Field, winning baseball games is more important. It's something the Cubs haven't done on a consistent basis in a long time, and fancy changes aren't going to appease fans desperate for a championship.
Cubs fans have remained more patient than most fanbases, which quickly turn on franchises that aren't showing signs of progress over the course of a handful of years. The Cubs are working on over a century and still have loyal supporters.
Sooner or later they will need to put a winning product on the field. If anything, the renovations are going to put even more pressure on the front office to do that instead of buying a couple more seasons of leeway.
The Cubs have only made the playoffs three times in the past 14 seasons. None of those appearances resulted in a trip to the World Series, the last of which came in 1945. And this season isn't off to a promising start with a 4-8 mark, albeit with plenty of baseball left to play.
They must find a way to start turning things around. There's no reason—especially given the current state of Major League Baseball, where nine different teams have won titles in the past 12 years—the Cubs can't get back in the mix.
The renovations of Wrigley Field can't delay that effort. The ballpark has stood the test of time far better than the franchise itself and, in a weird, personification kind of way, deserves to witness a title sooner rather than later.
Winning games must remain the focal point, regardless of the scoreboard's size or the clubhouse perks. And there's still a lot of work left to do for the Cubs.