Outrage Over Toyota Sign at Wrigley Field

I didn’t really want to comment on this issue because I know I’m probably in the minority here and will get a lot of shit for it, but honestly I don’t see what the big deal is over the Toyota sign that was installed over the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field.

I’ve been a Cubs fan most of my life, I will admit that growing up I was more of a Sox fan, but generally I’m just a fan of baseball. I’m not one of those Cubs fans that goes out of my way to give Sox fans shit or talk down to them for liking the team, I have no problem going to Comiskey… err, US Cellular Field (still hate that name) and would actually love to head down there for a game if anyone would go with me… I’ve played the game my whole life and just generally enjoy the sport.

So with that said I want to talk about the Ricketts family and the Cubs. So the Ricketts family bought the team for around $900 million and apparently some fans think that this change in ownership means an instant change in the team. Cubs fans have been let down season after season when the Cubs fail to make it to the World Series (and even the playoffs most seasons) while every other Chicago team has now won a championship in the past 25 years. Ok, yes, it sucks that the Cubs haven’t won a world series in over 100 years, but I don’t get why people automatically think the sale of the team is going to turn them around. Not to defend the Ricketts family and I’ve never run a baseball team, but I feel like there is a lot more to do behind the scenes in your first year of ownership than wiping out the organization and starting over…

Apparently one of the first things you have to do is put up advertising around a stadium that has been free of most advertising forever… and this is causing a lot of people to get upset. A friend of mine is arguing that they are ruining Wrigley Field and he is now planning to never set foot inside the stadium again, all because of 1 “Toyota” sign that they erected in left field and a few posters in the front. I agree that the posters of the players in the front (outside) of the stadium are a little tacky, I don’t really think they are that bad as long as they don’t turn into giant advertisements for businesses. But to have banners of your star players hanging in the front of the stadium is not a problem for me. As for the “Toyota” sign, I’ll admit I was a little angered when I heard they were putting it up in left field, but after seeing it I don’t see what the big deal is.

If you’re a fan of baseball you know that Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are the 2 oldest stadiums in baseball and there is no better place to watch a game than either of these parks. I would argue for Yankee Stadium as well, but The House that Ruth Built has now been replaced. Thankfully I got to see a game in Old Yankee Stadium a couple years ago before it closed and as much as I dislike the Yankees there’s no denying that a piece of baseball history was forever destroyed when those doors closed. That stadium was one of the greatest stadiums in baseball, there’s so much history there it’s not even funny. And it’s because of the history that I’m glad the Ricketts, or someone else, didn’t just tear down Wrigley and build a fancy new stadium in its place.

Baseball has always been America’s Pastime and while the game itself should be the thing drawing the crowds, Wrigley field and Fenway both have that history that you just can’t deny if you’re a baseball fan. So back to the sign and advertisements. Would I have liked it if the sign was never there, of course, I think everyone would, but does the fact that the sign is there now change my feelings towards Wrigley Field as a place where baseball history was made? Absolutely not. The atmosphere at Wrigley is not going to change just because one little sign was erected in the outfield. I mean seriously, have you been to any other baseball stadiums and seen the amount of advertising going on? Cubs fans should be happy that it took this long to get 1 advertisement in the outfield (I don’t count the underarmour ads on the outfield doors, they are small enough). How many advertisements do you see when you go to Wrigley Field… on the actual field. Honestly I can only think of a couple; the underarmour ads on the outfield doors and the scrolling ad behind the plate (if there are more physical ads let me know). I know there are sponsors for random things like doubles and homeruns and Bud Light sponsors the bleachers, but I don’t think there are any huge Bud Light ads inside the park (only outside the bleachers). I would rather hear the Luna Carpet jingle after every double for 5 seconds than be blasted by tons of ads in the outfield, but there’s only so many plays you can sell to sponsors.

Hell, even Fenway’s outfield is plastered with advertisements and people still go to support their team and organization. One little ad should not turn people off to visiting Wrigley Field. I would even go so far as to say that the entire stadium needs updating and I would welcome it wholeheartedly. Again, I’m not talking about the look of the stadium and the facade, but the amenities within the stadium need a huge overhaul. I know there are dudes out there that love standing shoulder to shoulder with other dudes while they piss in a trough, but personally I would prefer some updated bathrooms and concessions.

Ok, I know I’m jumping around a bit now in this post, but I’m going to wrap it up here by saying that while I don’t mind the “Toyota” sign in the outfield I would mind if it opened the doors to putting up tons of other signs out there. And I guess I can see people’s point if this did start to happen, but right now it’s not, it’s just one sign. So until the whole outfield looks like the side of a race car (like the image of Fenway below) I don’t see what the big deal is. If that does happen I’ll be the first to admit that you guys were right and I’ll join your protest, but until then I’m ok with it.