Chicago Cubs: Three Reasons Why a JumboTron Would Ruin Wrigley Field
Fenway Park was changed extensively during Theo Epstein's time in Boston. Advertisements are now omnipresent.
Rumors about the Cubs installing a jumbotron in Wrigley Field or the surrounding rooftops have again surfaced. Here are three definitive reasons why a jumbotron at Wrigley Field should be avoided at all costs.
Baseball Is a Historically Conscious Sport
More than any other sport, baseball is always conscious of its history, which is a part of the modern game. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks—these players are still stars in the baseball world.
Ballparks, too, have gained legendary status. But they are dwindling, both in number and mystique. Only Wrigley Field and Fenway Park still retain the mysticism of baseball's storied past.
Fenway Park's most recognizable feature is the Green Monster. For Wrigley Field, it is undoubtedly the scoreboard.
If any ballpark would be hurt by a JumboTron, it is Wrigley Field. Yes, they would keep the manual scoreboard too, but its significance would fade.
It would no longer be a living, breathing aspect of the game—only a musty museum piece.
JumboTrons Take Away More Than They Add
JumboTrons really do not add very much.
Instant replays are their most important function, which can help fans clarify what they have seen on the field. But this is a small aspect of the game, and is not worth ruining the ambiance of Wrigley with a hulking digital screen.
Secondly, the JumboTron is not only for replays. It would primarily be installed to attract advertising money. That means fans inside the Friendly Confines would have to endure animated coffee cups racing each other, kiss cams, and signs that tell them when to cheer.
In other words, the JumboTron will give Wrigley cheap entertainment, advertisements, and an unnecessary sense of artificiality.
A JumboTron Would Be Insulting to Loyal Fans
Cubs fans who have been going to Wrigley Field for decades develop a bond with the ballpark. That does not mean the park cannot be updated at all, but a JumboTron—for the reasons I have already mentioned—is at odds with the spirit of Wrigley Field, which is a sort of baseball sanctuary.
Modern parks are fine, but Wrigley is truly the last of its kind. Once it is gone, baseball's physical connection with its storied past is over.
The Cubs have the highest average ticket price in the National League, and they have a fifth-place team. A baseball team is a business, and there is nothing wrong with that. But fans should be rewarded for their loyalty.
A JumboTron will make money in advertising, but it will diminish the fans' experience. And baseball, after all, is about experiences.