For 85 years, the old Yankee Stadium stood. With it, came 45 postseason appearances, 37 AL Pennants, and 26 World Series victories for the Yankees. But beyond the hardware, there were something else. There were memories. There was an aura. There was history.
In sports, memories are crucial. I remember my first baseball game as kid and who took me. I remember that one game where my favorite 1st baseman, Derrek Lee, hit a grand slam to win. I remember walking through the halls on every opening day. A stadium symbolizes and memorializes this in our brains. This is what the old Yankee Stadium did for people. It was not only the site for many of the Yankees fan’s favorite moments, it was a symbol. Something to physically touch and smell that helped make those memories tangible.
At the beginning of the 2009 baseball season, however, New York City and their beloved Yankees walked into a new beginning and a new Yankee Stadium.* Fans had mixed emotions. The place where they had created all of these wonderful times was gone. The physical representation of all the years of winning, heartache, and good times stood no more. I was even sad to see it go.
But at the end of that same 2009 season, no one was crying for their old ball park anymore. There was no longer any uncertainty for New York. The Yankees had won their 27th World Series, christening their new home. Fans gradually came to a realization that new memories can be made and new history can be created.
Winning. Solves. Everything.
For 100 years, Wrigley Field has stood. With it, has come 17 postseason appearances, 6 NL Pennants, and 0 World Series victories for the Cubs. That is bleak.
Through the lack of championships, however, I can remember every good time I’ve had in Wrigley field. It’s allowed four generations of my family to watch baseball and our beloved Cubs. My grandmother watched Jackie Robinson and Ron Santo. Billy Williams and Ernie Banks. The great Babe Ruth had his alleged “called shot” occur on Wrigley Field. The history is almost never-ending and amazing.
But what more do we have as Cubs fans besides our history? While important, I want more. I want to win.
The plans for renovations at Wrigley are well-documented. In response, some fans are calling for the stoppage of adding signage and the halting of any changes to Wrigley Field. I can’t say that I don’t understand, because I do. I truly do. Any time change surrounds something nostalgic, it’s incredibly difficult. But the fact is that the proposed renovations set to take place are an important step in the right direction. We need that change. Players and fans alike deserve it. In order to field a winning team, players should have the ability to use top notch facilities if an organization can support it. Fans should have ability to watch top tier talent if the organization can support it. This support comes from advertising dollars stemming from new signage, new initiatives to gain corporate money, and whatever else the owners can come up with to create revenue. It’s important for us to understand that.
There seems to be two schools of thought that I have heard and read. (1) “I understand that we need to change and catch up with the rest of baseball, but it makes me sad.” (2) “The Ricketts are ruining this great franchise.” I can’t help those that say the latter. But for those who say the former, I feel your pain.
We need to understand that Wrigley Field isn’t coming down. We also need to look at what happened with the Yankees. I don’t mean to suggest that after our renovations are complete, the Cubs will win a World Series. But New York’s way of thinking is something that we can’t disregard and need to consider. While their new stadium isn’t perfect, it’s something to behold. I’ll be the first to admit that I would shed a tear if Wrigley ever came down. But we’re a long way off from that. In the meantime, we need to catch up.
Nostalgia is important in sports. But so is change. And we have to change.