The Return of Wrigley, Attendance Expectations, Wisdom, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Return of Wrigley, Attendance Expectations, Wisdom, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Family obligations were such that I couldn’t be in Chicago today for the re-re-open-opening of Wrigley Field, but today still makes me happy …

•   Wrigley Field opens back up to full capacity for the first time in a year and a half, with the team in first place and the Cardinals coming to town for a weekend series in the summer. It’s going to be glorious, and I hope everyone in attendance and everyone watching at home has a blast. And I hope the players really drink it in, too (they will).

•   How about this memory from just about four years ago, with a full Wrigley Field against the Cardinals, when Kyle Schwarber hit a 7th inning go-ahead grand slam and the place EXPLODED:

•   I miss that feeling so much. Can’t wait to have it back. Interestingly, though, a scan of the tickets at the team website suggests there are still a ton of tickets available for today’s game, as well as this weekend’s. And the get-in-the-door reselling at Stubhub is in the $30-$40 range. Shouldn’t this be a really hard-to-get ticket? Shouldn’t it be a sellout? Two years ago, nearly to the day, the Cubs were tied for first place and hosted the Cardinals at Wrigley Field for a weekend series. Attendance was 40,671, 41,005, and 39,545 out of a 41,646 capacity – not quite sellouts, but darn close. Not gonna be the same this weekend?

•   I’ve been thinking about it, and I wonder if we’re still just in a zone where people are happy – conceptually – that things are getting more back to normal, but not everyone is quite yet ready to participate in the most jarring parts of that normal. Throw a decent-sized price tag on that participation – it’s always been relatively expensive to go to Wrigley Field – and interest flags even more. Without capacity restrictions, we’ll have to track attendance closely, not only as a curiosity on interest in the Cubs and concerns about safety, but also as it relates to revenue projections and the ability to spend in the offseason (and/or sign long-term extensions). I think it’s been safe to conclude that the Marquee launch has not showered the Cubs with beefed up revenue just yet (some of that is because of the truly unfortunate timing of the launch, some of it is probably continuing market trends). So an organization that was already heavily-reliant on game-day spending is still going to be that way for a while.

•   All that said, I would tentatively expect some uptick this year if the Cubs stay competitive, but maybe not returning to typical attendance levels until next year (like a lot of in-person businesses). Keep in mind, people couldn’t really plan trips in advance this year, couldn’t buy special ticket packs in advance this year, and I have no idea what happened to the season ticket holder base with last year and this year going the way they did. I don’t want to make it sound dire or anything – it’s just something to track over the next year+, in my opinion.

•   In 48 PAs so far this year, Patrick Wisdom has been worth 1.2 WAR. No player ahead of him has fewer than 154 PAs except for Byron Buxton, with 98 – remember what he was doing before he got hurt again?!?. Of course, if Wisdom doubled his 1.2 WAR over his next 50 PAs, he’d be just about right there with Buxton at 2.5 WAR. In other words, Wisdom has been on a Buxton pace – a guy who was so obscene over that first month that people didn’t even know what to say. Yes, Wisdom’s 261 wRC+ is the best in baseball among hitters with at least 20 PAs, and the only guy even remotely close … you guessed it, Buxton at 221. None of this is to say that Wisdom *IS* this guy. I’m just putting some context on how good he’s been.

•   So, there were teams straight up ordering Spider Tack:

•   This guy coulda used some though, amirite:

•   Fun look at some of the best Cubs baseball cards from other years, and that dual-signed Bryant to Rizzo Topps Now World Series card, omg I want it so much.

•   CONGRATS, MARIO!

 

•   Coming soon to a Wrigleyville near you:

•   This whole thing is wild from start to finish:

•   Swim gear, dog treats and snacks, water filters, and a huge deal on a mesh system (though that one is a Prime exclusive) are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   I sure do enjoy Jesus Aguilar’s antics:

•   Gift boxes at Fanatics (good for Father’s Day, just sayin’) are on sale right now:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.