The Cubs played their final home game of the season this week, beating the Cardinals (yay!) to finish the season with a winning record at the friendly confines. This was all well and good, but there was some melancholy among many Cubs fans, for coming next season Wrigley Field will look a little different. The full scale expansion and renovation of the old ballpark has begun in earnest and next year will feature a new jumbotron (Is that, like, a generic noun now?) in left field, new video scoreboard in right, improved lighting and new signage all about. You can see many images of what it will look like in this post, as Wrigley is dragged into the 21st century, changing from museum to modern ballpark (with some definite museum-like qualities).
This is well and this is good, as this project will stretch over the next several offseasons, eventually netting the Cubs a new clubhouse and workout facilities, extra revenue from advertising to funnel into player personnel, and, eventually, one hell of a place to celebrate a World Series. Still, a lot of fans, mostly those who have or had frequently attended games, were a little misty eyed at the thought of these changes. I understand this, a little, I suppose, though I admit that I had none of these feelings. As an out of town fan who has never (yet) attended a Cubs home game, I don’t really have anything to miss. And, no, this doesn’t make me want to go Wrigley any less. It’s still on the bucket list. But nostalgia is the curse of the human condition, so, like I said, I can understand.
Depending on how the Cubs cut deals for TV rights over the next few years, my real gut punch will be when they no longer show games on WGN. That was the Wrigley of my youth, the magical channel that transported me to a baseball shrine seemingly every afternoon. Eventually the Cubs will have their own network, or reach a deal with CSN Chicago, or make other arrangements, and WGN will become just another channel showing syndicated sitcoms. And this will net the Cubs even more revenue to pump back into the team, meaning it’s a change I will support. It will be well. It will be good. But, I’ll get that pang of nostalgia every time I see the WGN logo or hear the call tag. For me, it will be less like Wrigley getting renovated and more like Wrigley getting replaced.
What the heck does WGN stand for anyway?