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This discussion is apropos of little more than the ongoing efforts to renovate Wrigley Field/reduce various restrictions imposed upon the Cubs by the city. But when I saw the Mariners’ plans for a new jumbotron at Safeco Field, I knew I had to both share it here, and discuss the implications for the Cubs.

From the Seattle Times:

Last week the team began work on what will be the biggest video display in Major League Baseball and one of the largest in professional sports. It’s the centerpiece of the biggest upgrade to the ballpark since it opened in 1999 and a technical marvel that could become a tourist attraction on its own.

At 201.5 feet by 56.7 feet, the display is nearly a block long and wider than the record-holding jumbo display at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. It’s ten times the size of the ballpark’s current video screen and has a viewing area of roughly 2,182 42-inch TVs.

Here’s a rendering of what the massive, insane jumbotron will look like:

And it can be reconfigured on the fly to look like a multi-paned, more traditional board:

That thing is nuts. And awesome.

There are so many things about which this makes me curious, vis a vis the Cubs. Could a board that size even be possible at Wrigley Field? I just don’t see how it could be, given the surrounding rooftops, and the structural limitations of the ballpark.

If a board that size was possible at Wrigley Field, would you want it? On the one hand, it’s kind of bad-ass. The detail on replays (heck, we’re used to having no replays at all), the reconfigurability of the board … the tech geek in me is drooling. On the other hand, it’s a bit much, no?

And then there’s the general jumbotron question that always looms – do we want one at Wrigley Field at all? Obviously it would not fit in with the historic feel of the park, but I’d argue that the new LED board fits in just fine (it is considerably smaller and more “embedded” than a jumbotron would be, though). It could be distracting, and gauche. But it could also generating a huge additional chunk of revenue with increased advertising. It would also supply replays, which, I’ll confess, I do miss when I’m at Wrigley.

Thoughts? Reactions? Are you in the pro-jumbotron camp? Anti? If you want a jumbotron, just how jumbo would you like to see?

  • Njriv

    If the cubs ever do put one up I think it would look pretty sick on a rooftop, very unique.

    • cccubfan

      That would be great to stretch it between roof tops – that way no structural changes to the old landmark board and we still get the Wrigley Jumbotron….LOL

  • Sinnycal

    Put one on the back of the traditional scoreboard and rig it with a hydraulic system so it can rotate between innings.

    • jh

      I think they should just have two helicopters hover out past left field with a large screen hanging from ropes (or some other more modern solution for you techies). No one can complain because its in the sky and then they can just fly off and come back later for the next game. Problem solved.

  • Jarrod Campbell

    What the Cubs need to do, is make the current retro, “hand-adjusted” scoreboard into a video board. When video is not playing, it will show a digital version of the green scoreboard we’re used to seeing. Then it would disappear during replays, and reappear after. Catch my drift? It would allow Wrigley to modernize a bit, but keep the historic scoreboard (just with a modern twist). Even though this is my idea, I’m not even sure I fully am behind the idea. I love tradition in some cases (definitely in favor of keeping any Cubs tradition alive), but in this day in age, sometimes you have to modernize.

    • Seth

      I like this idea the best.

      • http://obstructedview.net Aisle 424

        This was exactly what I was thinking as I read the post. I doubt it ever happens, though.

        • http://worldseriesdreaming.com/ Rice Cube

          It won’t happen because tradition/landmark/blah. But a flanking board where the Toyota sign is could work. It just can’t be as big as what they’re trying to do in Seattle obviously, but that’s what I’ve always argued should be there instead of that stupid Toyota sign.

    • Borocks

      What a great idea!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Toby

    The club needs to buy a couple of buildings across the street and have it straddle both rooftops. Move all their offices and their clubhouse to the buildings and put in a tunnel to them. They should then have enough room for indoor batting cages inside Wrigley. Since the city and state appear to be funding a private school’s new arena in the city for 12 to 20 games a year, it’s time to think differently. Move to a new stadium and leave the neighborhood yuppies alone or expand across the street.

    • Derrek

      It would be a tough deal to get people out of those buildings on Waveland and Sheffield. It does sound like a good option though. It would not interfere with the stadium itself but unless the residents in those buildings get a handsome reward, this ‘ain’t happening.

  • ColoCubFan

    Either replace the scoreboard with a jumbotron, or forget it all together. I don’t think the two would mix.

  • Kubphan82

    How about a jumbotron across Waveland… On a supported archway over Kenmore… It won’t block rooftops, takes away some open space, visible to the entire stadium… Pending City approval…

    • SoCal Cubs Fan

      I love this idea! it could include a elevated walkway to give the nieghbors a safe crosswalk and a free look onto the field.

  • ncsujuri

    I’m firmly in the anti-jumbo tron camp. Revenue streams be damned, I love my classic old scoreboard. Hell charge me $11 instead of $10 for a beer and I’ll help make up the difference 12 oz. at a time…

    • bbmoney

      Whoa…..don’t mess with the cost of beer. Charge more for food if you must, but leave my beer prices alone.

      • ncsujuri

        Haha, the increased beer surcharge would likely create a larger revenue stream than the hot dog/peanuts though.

        • bbmoney

          nevertheless

  • Toby

    Put a semi- transparent scrim over the front of the scoreboard and project images onto it. It would only work at night.

  • LWeb23

    I’ve always thought it would be best in left-center field on the rooftop that you to traditionally have the Budweiser advertisement on it’s roof. I don’t know what that roof says now, as it has changed a lot recently, but I think that would be so cool and so unique. I am a firm believer that we need a jumbotron somewhere. I think having it one a rooftop would be best, as it keeps the traditionalism inside the park, but still modernizes the park.

    • Toby

      I had that idea was well. I Photoshopped onto a rooftop a while back, although I used a different building:

      http://www.divshare.com/download/20828567-f73

      • Kubphan82

        I’d still say put it to the right of where you have it. Between the two buildings, supporter by an arch structure, also setting lower and not as exposed by winds…

      • Jarrod Campbell

        Only about 1/3 of the stadium would even be able to see a rooftop-videoboard. It has to go where the current scoreboard is, because that’s the only place everyone (except rooftoppers) could see it. My idea (see above) works best.

    • http://obstructedview.net Aisle 424

      The problem with that is the owner of the “Budweiser” building and the Cubs do not get along. At. All. That is why the Toyota sign is where it is.

      Also adding signs to the buildings across the streets will need city approval because of local ordinances. The existing ones (Budweiser building and old Torco sign) are grandfathered in.

  • ncsujuri

    No jumbotron but I would be in favor of some flat screens throughout the grandstand area where the crappy old TVs are (unless of course I am dating myself since they didn’t have them the last time I was at Wrigley 2 summers ago)

  • hansman1982

    Grumble Grumble tradition grumble old school grumble

  • Patrick W.

    Having gone to more Mariner’s games than Cubs games in the past 7 years (despite my Wrigley season ticket) I can say that this thing will look fantastic in Safeco and add to the experience, but something similar would detract from Wrigley. I think if you don’t like the current experience at Wrigley Field, you don’t like Wrigley field. I don’t understand advocating for a JumboTron at Wrigley instead of advocating for a new ballpark.

  • cubsin

    If the Cubs want a state-of-the-art ballpark with all the modern amenities, there’s only one way to do it – move to the suburbs.

    • Borocks

      @cubsin I agree but I feel that they really need to tear down Wrigley and just make the whole place bigger and better. With only seating for just over 40,000, people are always trying to get seats (when we are more competive). So a larger field, better faciliaties, I feel the revanue would speak for itself. They have the property but I know that the city would never go for it. I have been a fan for 44 years and been to a lot of games. I understand the historic value here, But I think they would get more people with a new stadium then trying to modernize the old one because that just looks like crap. (ever seen someone put 5 additions on there home?) But it needs to stay in Wrigleyville and not move to the suburbs…..

  • Dan

    Easy solution, replace the old scoreboard with the jumbotron.

  • Josh C.

    If I have to hear about how the Cubbies could generate more revenue, I will absolutley throw up in my mouth.

  • bruce a muhlenburg

    leave Wrigley alone.. By that i mean,,I like Kaplan’s idea of buying Grandview Golf Course and build a spectacular new Ball Park .. lots of parking and new shops surrounding the New Park that the Cubs coulld enjoy new revenue from much like their new ST facility..Forget tradition..Cub’s tradition sucks move and start a new tradition..

    • DarthHater

      This idea is by far the best. Which, of course, means that it is the one thing that is least likely ever to happen.

  • Kubphan82

    My childhood hometown, Fort Wayne, IN, has a field below street level… It’s pretty amazing for a MiLB team… I’d like something unique like that if the Cubs were to build anew…

    It was an AWESOME experience… Of course it helped that the TinCaps won when I visited…

    http://travelindianamagazine.com/travelindiana/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/tin-caps-stadium-2.jpg

  • Toby

    People were dead set against lights until they went to a night game there. Before that people were against putting in a PA system, until they realized they could actually hear in-game announcements. If the Cubs are to be competitive they need to take advantage of any possible source of income, or else we’ll be a small market ball club in a major market city.

    If Wrigley belonged to me, I’d consider bulldozing it under cover of night and pay the fines later. Daily did that with Meigs Field because he considered it to belong to him basically. Actually, the site is too small for a modern ball park. Where is Grandview Golf? I moved to the west coast years ago.

    I once suggested a land swap with the city, Wrigley for Portage Park and stick the city with the upkeep.

    • DarthHater

      Where is Grandview Golf?

      I don’t know where the name “Grandview” came from, but I think Kaplan was referring to the golf course on Lake Michigan due east of Wrigley.

      • Toby

        That would be way too cold and windy. I like Portage park better

        • DarthHater

          Or just use the cemetery. Then there would be a virtually limitless supply of curses to blame for all future team failures.

  • Frank

    If I remember correctly, one of the things to which the park’s the landmark status specifically applies is the scoreboard, which I believe, means that it cannot be changed significantly without approval (nor replaced).

    • Pat

      That is true, but they could put a screen in front f the old scoreboard, blocking it from view. Similar to what the city did with the columns at Solider Field.

  • bruce a muhlenburg

    grandview is wrong sorry,, its the course on lake michigan north of wrigley,, possibly the 9 hole course in lincoln park

    • Ralph

      I believe you are referring to Waveland Golf Course which is owned by the Park District — so no chance.

  • Van
    • Van

      I clearly don’t know how to do all that “fancy linking” that the kids do. Maybe I am a luddite afterall.

  • baseballet

    I hate the idea of a giant billboard for ads. This is worse than gauche, it’s gross. Those ads are going to be churning throughout the game and are a grim trade-off for the chance to see a home run replay a couple times a game. The last time I was at Wrigley my section had small TVs on the horizontal supports above my section, and they played replays, so they fulfill that need without the massive ads (although the small TVs also showed ads).

    Characteristics like the organ, the ivy, the old scoreboard, and the relative lack of advertising compared to most stadiums make the Wrigley experience special. It differentiates being a Cubs fan from being a Mariners fan or a Dallas Cowboys fan.

    • gutshot5820

      You must still ride a horse and buggy.

  • cubzforlife

    The golf course is Sydney Marovitz nine hole on the lake at Irving Park minutes from Wrigley. The thought of the City allowing a ballpark where Portage Park is just plain crazy. It’s a neighborhood institution in a changing area. What might of worked was when the Brickyard shopping center across the street from Portage Park was failing fifteen or twenty years ago the Cubs could of easily purchased the land. The company I work for owned that land and the property west of it where a Home Depot is.It was one of the last big tracts of private land on the north side. The idea of the golf course sounds cool but will never happen.

    • md8232

      The Brickyard is miles away from Portage Park.

  • Toby

    Anyplace along the lakefront is out of the question. Too cold, Chicago is not supposed to break up open access to the lakefront (except for McCormick place, I guess). If you wanted to generate revenue for the city and the team, trading park land for Wrigley and building a new park at Portage Park beings together 2 expressways, the el, and major bus service as well. There would be room to spare for parking garages, maybe underground parking, and all sorts of new businesses.

    If you want to see what the existing Wrigley looks like in that location, I’ve placed Wrigley in Portage Park using Google Earth:

    http://www.divshare.com/download/20829443-356

    You could add businesses outside of the park with seating atop them. These businesses would add a lot of money to the city and to the team. With a deal like this I’m sure finding private investors would be fairly easy, compared with trying to put lip stick on the charming pig that is Wrigley.

  • MikeCubs

    How about a personal replay tv on the back of every seat? It could even be touch screen with web access, food/beverage menus, credit card payment, etc. It would just need to be angled up slightly, since the seat backs in front of you are low. Bonus – it could optimize the vendor service minimizing line of sight disruptions. On the downside, at $300 or so per seat we’re talking $12M up front, and then I wonder what the maintenance costs would be for broken equipment, defects, etc. The airline industry has been able to accommodate this concept with some success.

    • baseballet

      Or just have WiFi at the stadium and everyone can watch replays on their smart phones using the MLB app.

      • Toby

        Not a bad idea, but I’m sure vandalism is kept to a minimum on planes because everyone is basically captive until they land and the flight attendants are always walking up and down the aisles.

        There is new technology to be able to print displays onto paper, you can already print a battery. Maybe someday scorecards will come with a display printed on the back.

  • J Wilson

    I don’t want a jumbotron at all at Wrigley. I don’t need replays. Hell, I don’t want replays. I just want a newer Wrigley, like it was back in the 1940s, with bigger walkways and bathrooms. People need to come to games to watch THE GAME. If the Cubs want to provide their fans with replays, they should install a wi-fi/4G network and an app that will play replays on fans’ phones.

  • Mac

    What ever happened to the triangle building idea?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Still exists as an idea – but it won’t be moved on until the renovation plan is figured out.

  • Dougy D

    I am an anti-jumbotron type of guy. I come to watch the game and don’t need replays. I watch it as it happens. I don’t need distractions. I was at Petco park some time ago (6-7 years?) when David Wright made a fantastic bare hand catch. I am not sure whether or not there was a replay screen, but I will admit that I watched it on the TV the next day. I guess I am just rambling here, but when I am at a game, I live with the game play by play, pitch by pitch. One play is over, then move onto the next. I guess I am a ‘purist’ or whatever, but I love baseball and could give 2 shats about having access to the internet at the game, or being able to have some one bring me a hot dog and a beer at my request. All of that stuff just makes everything more expensive and me less likely to attend a game.
    Sorry for the rant.

  • Al_b_daKIDD

    The house that Ruth Built was torn down regardless of the storied franchises’ history. Wrigley has no history to it other than losing with players along the way who have become “LOVABLE”…. I love Wrigley but I think now more than ever its time move on and shed off that image and compete in terms of Stadium/Technology and whatever other streams of revenue we can leverage as well!! TIME TO MOVE ON!

  • Byron Browne

    Build a big jumbotron screen and fill it for three hours with OBP, WAR, and a million other statistics. The fantasy baseball fans will be hyperventilating with joy! Hell, the Cubs won’t even have to field a team, just display those numbers!

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