respect wrigleyLast week, the Chicago Landmarks Commission approved the Chicago Cubs’ plans to add a large video board to left field and an advertising sign to right field as part of the overall Wrigley Field renovation project. The question for the Cubs: assuming the subsequent approvals (Plan Commission, Zoning Committee, City Council) come reasonably soon, will we be seeing the new outfield signage next season?

Don’t count on it, according to Cubs VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green.

“At the end of the baseball season and [until the] first day of baseball there’s roughly 22 weeks,” Green told the media this weekend, including Sahadev Sharma. “Even though we’ve gotten the approval from the Landmarks Commission, we still have to go through the Planning Commission, the Zoning Committee and full City Council approval. Once that’s all said and done, we might be looking at late August or September. We have not selected a video company. We’ll probably have to put a [request for information] and [request for proposal], that takes probably a few months. And then we go through the design process.”

In other words, it’s hard to imagine the Cubs having time to get through all of that and have the big ‘ole video board in place by April.

I wonder if bumping out the outfield walls – which serves the dual purpose of housing the JumboTron and advertising sign closer to the rooftops to reduce the impact on their views, as well as adding to Wrigley’s footprint so the Cubs can have more space for stuff on the interior – will happen before next season, or if that, too will wait.

For now, the priority, according to Green is getting the player facilities upgraded, which means the new clubhouses, the batting tunnels, the health facilities, etc. That will be the focus of the work immediately after the season, assuming approvals come in a timely fashion. From there, I suspect the revenue-generating aspects of the renovation will be next in line (as they should be).

Sharma’s piece is worth reading for additional quotes from Green, and his thoughts on the rooftops and the possibility of the Cubs’ moving (not bloody likely). But here’s one of the money quotes:

“At the end of the day, we’re making decisions in the interest of our business. That’s goal number one. Because at the end of the day, the fans are going to judge us, after we restore this beautiful ballpark, they’re going to want to know how this is going to translate onto the field. And that’s what we’re doing.”

Translation: we recognize that, if we get these revenue-generators in place, we will have to use that revenue to put a better product on the field.

  • Patrick G

    Just in time for 2015, when Soler, Bryant and Baez will be putting dents in that thing and will need to be replaced

    • Mr. B. Patient

      And I’m okay with this ^^^^^.

  • MichiganGoat

    Well another year of Tunney getting plenty of press and Brett having to obsessively write about a renovation. I’m really tired of all this and I’m losing interest in the narrative but it has to be reported.

    • OCCubFan


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  • DarthHater

    I still fail to understand how moving the jumbotron closer to the rooftops can reduce its impact on their view. In my experience (and under elementary principles of Euclidean geometry, I do believe), any obstruction blocks more of one’s field of vision, the closer it is to the viewer. Perhaps the jumbotron is actually going to be located in some bizarre, non-Euclidean space, such as the interior of Die hard’s cranium.

    If the Cubs were really smart, they would install a small black hole inside the jumbotron. The gravity from the black hole would then cause the light rays from beyond the jumbotron to bend around it, enabling the rooftop people to see around the obstruction. Problem solved. See: Home runs would also undoubtedly increase dramatically. However, it might become very difficult to throw opponents’ home run balls back onto the field. πŸ˜›

    • Brett

      I’ve tried to describe the answer before without a picture, but the best way I can explain it is this: how impacted would the rooftop views be if the jumbotron sat on second base? Pretty darn bad, yes? Extrapolate moving it backwards, since it is moving *toward* a building without a rooftop on it.

      • DarthHater

        Yea, if the obstruction is to my left, then moving it closer to me could enable me to see more of the target that lies to my right. However, the total angular portion of my field of vision that is obstructed always increases when the obstruction gets closer. The jumbotron is projected to be in front of an unoccupied rooftop that lies in between two different occupied rooftops.. So moving the jumbotron closer to the rooftops, should obstruct more of LF and less of CF/RF for one of them, while obstructing more of CF/RF and less of LF for the other.

        • Rebuilding

          I understand what you are saying, but I think you are forgetting the height aspect of the rooftop being higher than the scoreboard. For instance, putting the jumbotron on the face of their building itself would be closer to them, but not block their view at all (from the rooftop anyway)

          • DarthHater

            I have surrendered. πŸ˜‰

            • Rebuilding

              Well, I did enjoy your Euclid reference

      • JB88

        It is all based on line-of-sight. If you are sitting higher than an object, then your line of sight would project beyond that object. That principle is magnified as the object moves closer to you because it, at the same height, and you, at the same height, now have a different triangular angle.

        If you imagine the rooftops as one point in a triangle, the ground as a second, and the field as the third, if you move the jumbotron back, you are presumably moving the jumbotron into the center of the triangle, meaning no obstruction as your sight line looks upon the field. If you move the jumbotron toward the field, you would have to raise the rooftop seats higher to once again place the jumbotron in the triangle.

    • TWC

      It has to do with the vantage point of the rooftop bleachers.

      Hold a sheet of paper horizontally at arm’s length in front of you. Try to line up the top edge of the paper more or less at chest level. Now move your arm closer to your chest. As you do so, much of what was formerly blocked by the paper is revealed even as the sheet of paper becomes “larger” in your field of view.

      • MichiganGoat

        good analysis, i just held a piece a paper so it blocked my monitor but as I brought it back to my chest (without raising it up) the screen became view-able… I’m sure there is a math/science term for this.

      • DarthHater

        That’s because you are looking over the top of the piece of paper. Are they trying to enable the rooftops to see over the top of the jumbotron? I thought they were bumping the walls out to try to affect the left/right blockage effects.

        • MichiganGoat

          it works the same for getting a view of the side put the paper so it blocks the left or right side of you screen and bring it closer to your face

          • DarthHater

            Okay, I’ll surrender. I still like my black hole suggestion best, though. πŸ˜›

            • MichiganGoat

              I’m so supportive of the blackhole model… hey Tunney we got a solution for you can you meet up at area 51 so we can so you a prototype that you can make any change you want to… problem solved

    • BigPappa

      The board will not be in front of them, it’s to their left. It’s not blocking the rooftop’s view of the infield, it is blocking their view of deep center field. Moving it back exposes the center field wall. If you watched yesterday’s game, Buster Olney did a report from the rooftops. From there you could see the Toyota sign to the left. If you imagined a big screen taking its place you could see how it would/could block a portion of center close to the wall.

  • Die hard

    They are waiting for the upcoming lawsuits to be resolved including 5th Amendment Unconstitutional Taking by City which will take 5 yrs up to US Sup Ct

    • MichiganGoat

      oh please elaborate…

    • Tommy

      would love to hear the explanation behind this

      • MichiganGoat

        I’d love to hear what the constitution has to say about “Taking by the City”

        Ah Die Hardian World what a magical place

    • DarthHater

      This is a contract dispute between two private parties. The government isn’t taking anything. Ergo, no takings claim.

      • MichiganGoat

        Since you got the legal mind explain what he is getting confused about and where the constitution comes into play.

        • roz77

          The 5th amendment states: ” . . . nor shall private propert be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

          The takings clause is a real thing, and the government can’t actually “take” private property without compensating the owners. The government isn’t involved at all here though so it doesn’t apply.

          • Tommy

            There is also no taking of private property. The Cubs aren’t taking anything belonging to the rooftops, and the area where they are expanding the walls into is city-owned sidewalk

            • Die hard

              The City may be taking property rights protected by contract with Cubs when allowing renovations

        • DarthHater

          Well, there can be such a thing as a “regulatory taking” when the government imposes a regulation that deprives a parcel of real property of all economic value, even if the government does not literally “take” any of the real property. But I doubt that doctrine would apply here for a variety of reasons, perhaps the most important of which is that the jumbotron will not deprive the rooftop properties of all economic value.

      • Tommy

        The only “taking” is of the sidewalk on the one side of Waveland where they’re moving the wall back, but this is city property and they already approved this so all is clearly good

        • Die hard

          City allowing Ricketts to interfere with rooftop contract rights is a taking

  • Jason Powers

    Should be a fun construction site once this starts rolling. Probably 2-3 seasons of chaos after the season to and before the next season, and during: Chicago winters!

    Hope for no blizzards, or other chaos!

  • cubzforlife

    Its going to take some time to find a giant plug and outlet for the new video board. That things gotta be huge! And where will they hide the wires? I see friends with big TV’s and the wires hanging on the wall look like crap. Damn I might not sleep tonight worrying about this.

    • wvcubsfan

      Please let this be sarcasm.

  • Cubbies4Life

    Won’t break my heart not to see that big-ass video board next season. I understand the reasoning behind it, but I don’t like it.

    • Timmy

      It’s really a question over what the “integrity” of the ballpark means to you. If it means showing more advertisements and clips from Two and a Half Men to you then I guess it’s great. If going to one of the last stadiums to resemble its original condition and without distractions from the game (I mean we already all have data plans) then the jumbotron is merely a money making move that will detract from the experience. I do think those bathrooms need to be rehabbed, and we could use some better food, but otherwise I’ve always loved that Wrigley was one of the last places to look like it did when my grandpa went to games in the 1950s.

      • Cubbie Blues

        I agree we should put it back to it’s former glory.


        • Cubbie Blues

          Oh, wait, there is no outfield wall? But, what about the ivy?

          • MichiganGoat

            Timmy doesn’t understand how google works… you type in your question and do research before spewing what ever you believe about the concept of “INTEGRITY”

            But he does understand how bait works and his bait shop is very good but is located under a bridge (or a basement).

        • Brett

          Wrigley used to be covered with PICTURES!

          • MichiganGoat

            I’ve been hunting for a good picture of the outfield walls when it was covered in advertisement I know the awesome HBO Documentary “When it was a game” has video of Wrigley covered in billboards. Does anyone know where to find one online.

            • Timmy

              i get it, you’re goating…

          • MichiganGoat

            But those picture had “INTEGRITY” damn it!

    • Mick

      I can understand your angst, there’s that one cool rooftop in LF that used to be painted red with the Budweiser log and now I think it’s painted blue with a United logo. From a fan’s standpoint though, having one scoreboard with all of the game info is needed. I went to the game a couple of weeks ago and you have to look in 3 or 4 different places around the stadium to figure out who’s hitting/pitching, pitch speed, count, score, etc.

      • Eternal pessemist

        The budweiser painting was the best!!

  • 1060Ivy

    Write off the Cubs contention plans for 2014 as now there won’t be enough revenue to field a sustainable, contending team.

  • Pat

    I am really confused by Green’s comments. As far a selecting a company, I would assume there are at most a half dozen major players in the video board field. Send out specs and a couple of different sizing options and a RFP to all of them.

    Even if you were to wait until the final approval, there is no reason it should take a few months from that point just to get to the design phase (which should really be prior to the RFP – its kind of hard to bid accurately on a non-specific job) Give them three weeks to respond. There aren’t that many of these types of jobs available, they will respond within the requested time frame. At that point it should be maybe a comple of months more at most. It might not be ready for opening day, but I don’t see any reason you couldnt have it in place by early in the season.

  • Tom A.


    Never done this before and hope it works. This picture from the 1920s shows the Doublemint Elves on the top of the scoreboard and advertising on both the scoreboard and in the right outfield bleachers.

  • cubzforlife

    I don’t believe for a minute that the team hasn’t priced out video boards telling the how much advertising space is available. They’ve done the math on size, cost and future profits. Even Crane could of handled this.

  • Kevin

    Does the Jumbotron delay also delay the Cubs being competitive?

  • Eternal pessemist

    I think the cubs could buy the rooftops and build a bridge across Waveland to a new row of seats within wrigley just in front of the jumbotron. Then each person that bought a rooftop seat could take a turn with good seats inside the park (one inning per for each rooftop seat.

    On the other hand i dont suspect the rooftoppers come to watch the game anyway.

  • Susan Murray

    Its unfortunate that the renovations won’t be complete by next April but I’m glad to see they are taking their to ensure this iconic field in remodeled in the best way possible.