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rockies dingerA little over a week ago, I reported that the Chicago Cubs were exploring some significant branding changes for 2014, including new logos, new uniforms, and a JumboTron.

The latter branding change is all about (well, aside from the revenue) the in-game experience, which is a huge part of a team’s brand. According to Paul Sullivan, who spoke with team Marketing Director Alison Miller, there are other in-game experience changes being considered … and I reckon you’ll have some opinions.

From the Tribune:

The Cubs are teaming up with Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management to conduct a survey involving kids’ experiences at Wrigley Field, asking selected fans to help provide the “right opportunities for your kids to connect with the team and grow as the next generation” of fans ….

“We’ve done a couple things just with trying to get better research on our fans, and just being smarter about what our fans want,” Cubs senior marketing director Alison Miller said. “We’ve done a lot of focus groups in the last couple of months.”

Among the kid-friendly topics fans were asked about were batting cages and radar gun zones, kids apps for smartphones and tablets, a kids section, a new Cubs song and “interaction with a mascot.”

Feel free to go absolutely nuts about the prospect of a mascot at Wrigley Field. I am actually in favor of *some* (subtle, non-invasive, minor) additions to the in-game experience which are kid-and-family-friendly. Family fan zone type things? Sure. Maybe a kids-focused half-inning with a special song and dance for kids in-between innings? That might be funny and cool (I seriously just came up with that – you’re welcome, Cubs). Watching a game at Wrigley Field is a hallowed, beautiful experience … for everyone over six. For the youngest set among us, I’d imagine it could be something of a bore. Spicing it up to keep parents sane isn’t the worst thing in the world.

But, there’s a limit. And I trust these smart Cubs executives to find that line. A bounding dinosaur or rabble-rousing chicken probably falls on the wrong side of that line. Incessant videos and pump-it-up songs are also on the wrong side of the line. Catering to families with young children is a nice ancillary goal, but it should not be the focus of the in-game experience. The focus at Wrigley Field is, and always should be, the baseball.

That said … if the Cubs do take on a mascot, can they steal DJ Kitty from the Rays?

  • Rob

    DUMB

  • OregonCubFan

    Ok – I just jumped in on this discussion. I scanned through the comments and didn’t see that anyone took Brett’s bait…

    If we still DJ Kitty from the Rays, can we put pajamas on him? Then we could have a visual of “The cat’s pajamas” before us all the time.

  • hawkcub

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Wrigley isn’t the most kid friendly. I hate to inform some of you that not everyone that attends a baseball game is a hardcore fan. Yeah it’s great if some kids are taught about the game and enjoy it for the game. But that’s not realistic. Kids are all different,even in the same family they can be extremely different. Nothing wrong with the Cubs making Wrigley a little more kid friendly if they don’t go overboard.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      My suspicion is that rocket scientists don’t actually know much about kids…..

      • hansman1982

        My suspicion is that all scientists are acurately portrayed on “Big Bang Theory” and fit into one of Sheldon, Raj, Howard or Leonard. I’m trying to figure out how in the heck I become Leonard.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          heh, I tried to watch that show once, and couldn’t. I’m sure that it’s actually a good TV show: but television portrayals of scientists are just so gallingly wrong that its, well, galling.

          In truth, we are all much more like Doctor Who….. :-)

          • hansman1982

            Oh, I see, so you’re saying that I wouldn’t get Penny but I would get Amy Pond…

            mmm….

          • Cubbie Blues

            Is that normally your character when you LARP? :P

    • CUB5

      Wouldn’t that necessitate getting rid of half the crowd? I like to actually watch the game, but whenever I’m at Wrigley half the crowd are drunk and not even watching. Maybe half-off Bud Lights for the kiddies? That would make their parents proud…

    • hardtop

      “if they dont go overboard” you hit the nail on the head there. unfortunately, “overboard” is very subjective. its a fine line for sure.

      the worst thing about taking my kiddo to other ball parks is all the damn distractions. most kids can, and will, sit and watch a baseball game, just like many of us did when we were kids. even if they arent hardcore baseball fans, theres nothing wrong about just spending time with the family, even if its not exactly what everyone wants to be doing (i actually remember bringing coloring books to Wrigley Field… i wasnt born a hardcore baseball fan either). those video-game-chocolate-covered-playgrounds just encourage wandering minds; if they weren’t there, your kids wouldn’t think they wanted it. My daughter has been to playground equipped and non-playground equipped parks, and she never wants to “go play” at Wrigley. Parents need to ask themselves; are they there to take in a game with their kids? to enjoy the baseball experience? or are they there to chase their kids around while the kids ingest copious amounts of sugar and play on a jungle gym exactly like the one at the park down the street? Children need other experiences besides the constant barrage of video images, pop music, and the never ending acquisition of stuff…. they get enough of that in everyday life.
      I don’t think bringing a mascot out for a little between inning entertainment is going to ruin the game or the children, but i’m certainly against making Wrigley too kid friendly.
      we don’t go to the aquarium to bake cupcakes, right? We should go to the ballpark to watch baseball.

  • cubmig

    “The focus at Wrigley Field is, and always should be, the baseball.”

    That statement should cover it all, along with the fact that a father, mother or grandparent takes a child to a Cubs game…is the making of the most permanent bond any marketing brainstorming could ever accomplish……………BUT………if the Marketing people need a Mascot…….I recommend they install a huge rabbit’s foot hung by a chain to dangle off the Toyota structure in left field. Or……maybe a decorated Goat with _________ (fill-in the blanks).

    Snarky?…….yeah, but all these ideas being floated are getting to me. I want a good team. One that generates a “can win” feeling. Everything else skirts why we watch or go to the ball-park.

  • deej34

    In light of the fact thatthe majority of the “talent” of our organization is in the minors… maybe they can “call up” Cubbie Bear from AAA Iowa for the season.

  • http://www.gbfwarsaw.com ahoak

    Cubs already show kids a good time. Took my 7 year old a couple years ago and during batting practice they let kids onto the field – kids’ corral. Parents can stand in the first few rows to take pics. Cubs were playing Houston who was taking BP. My kid walked away with a Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence autographed baseball. If they’re still doing this, they’re doing a great job with kids!
    (Probably helped that I got to be in the front row and Tom Ricketts happened to walk by and I shook hands and chatted for a second. Then later just so happened that Todd Ricketts was selling hot dogs in our section and being filmed for undercover boss. High fived Todd after a Cubs home run. So maybe it was a better day for me than my son, but pretty amazing day at Wrigley.)

  • Hee Seop Chode

    Remember the family zone in the right field bleachers? That section where you couldn’t swear or drink beer? You might remember it better as that weird empty spot in the bleachers. It was repurposed last season into a Budweiser corporate party zone.

    • hawkcub

      Yes I remember said section. This was the non alcoholic section. Really was not geared at kids it was more oh you can’t drink here. Which was very ironic being that right next to it was where the most beer flows.

    • hawkcub

      Scratch that I was thinking of what they had in LF. But looking @ my Cub yearbooks I have bought since 2005(yes I have and kept 8 years worth) there was the section you speak of. 2011 and 2012 didn’t have any family or non alcoholic.

  • Curt

    make the kids happy, yes but absolutely no how no way no mascot,

  • Cyranojoe

    I really truly cannot comprehend the amount of vitriol aimed at the concept of having a mascot at Wrigley. What? You guys honestly feel having a Jumbotron would impact the environs less than a guy in a fuzzy suit? That a dude in a bear suit would distract you — *you*, the iron-clad, lifelong Cubs fan — from the action on the field and the enjoyment of the sport of baseball?

    Really?

    What’s the big deal? Sure, I see the argument about a Jumbotron — help you see the action, improve your enjoyment of the sport — but dang, man. Relax.

    For me, as long as the mascot’s not one of those dumb, nothing-to-do-with-the-team mascots like the dinosaurs and DJ Kitty there, I’m in favor, or at least not against it. I actually didn’t realize there was no Cubs mascot until it came up on this site a few months ago. It seemed, well, obvious. Baseball has some of the best mascots in all of sports. Why wouldn’t the Cubs have a guy or gal in a teddy bear suit? A well-done goat thing would be hilarious, too.

  • CUB5

    The Cubs don’t need a mascot. We are a long-suffering fanbase – do we really need to suffer more?

  • Jono

    Why not let a real bear cub loose onto the field between innings?

  • Tommy

    Late to comment on the mascot deal – seriously, bring back Marla the ball girl. Seriously!

    • Spriggs

      She’s prolly about 55 or so.

      • Tommy

        Why ya gotta rain on my parade, Spriggs!

        • Spriggs

          Not that there’s anything wrong with 55, Tommy. She could still be fairly hot – just with a couple more cosmetic issues. I just don’t know if she would be quick enough on her feet to be a ball girl anymore! HAHA.

          • Tommy

            LOL! Fair enough, buddy! ;)

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