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SBD/April 23, 2014/Facilities
Wrigley At 100: Ballpark Remains One Of Ultimate MLB Cathedrals, But Changes Coming
Published April 23, 2014
SIGN OF THE TIMES: The AP's Don Babwin notes the Cubs are "hoping to add a massive video scoreboard to Wrigley as early as next year in what would be the biggest renovation at Wrigley since lights were installed more than a quarter-century ago." The plan has "stirred plenty of opposition, with many wondering if modern electronics will rob some of the mystique that surrounds the venerable ballpark." The lack of a video scoreboard is a "glaring reminder that the Cubs have some catching up to do." That is "even more obvious this year" with MLB's new replay system. However, many fans are worried that the Cubs' "embrace of technology could change the atmosphere at the friendly confines for the worse." They want to "see the park as they imagine past generations saw it" (AP, 4/23). SI.com's Tim Newcomb noted Cubs VP/Ballpark Operations Carl Rice "doesn't think the nature of the stadium will actually change much" with the renovations. Rice: "As one of the members of the team overseeing the renovations, our goal is to make sure when fans walk into the ballpark, it is the same look and feel." Rice said that the proximity of seats to home plate, the "cozy atmosphere of the tight upper deck hanging over the field and much of the early 1900s charm won’t go away." He added that the original look of the park -- "arches in the upper deck, trusses in the lower deck -- will tie in nicely with any renovations." Meanwhile, Rice is "eager to ditch the nasty chain-link fence that circles the concourses, visible from the exterior and interior, bringing back historic ornate ironwork that was there in the 1930s" (SI.com, 4/22).