November 17, 2010
Hole-y cow, the people who run the Chicago Cubs have lost their minds.
As the team finishes making bizarre (if temporary) tweaks to Wrigley Field for this weekend's Big Ten football clash, the Ricketts family continues to lobby for financial assistance in order to make the major renovations it says the ballpark needs for the long haul.
The Cubs released revised plans Tuesday and, as Paul Sullivan writes in the Chicago Tribune, they include proposals that are way out in left field (and right), both figuratively and literally:
The biggest endeavor involves the home clubhouse, which would expand to an area beneath the spot left fielder Alfonso Soriano(notes) currently patrols. The original idea in 2001 was to build an underground clubhouse annex in the Triangle building with state-of-the-art batting cages.
The Cubs eventually decided that would mean too long of a walk for players, and engineers convinced them a clubhouse could be built under left field over the course of three offseasons. An excavation project will begin next week to see how far they have to dig to reach bedrock.
Too long of a walk? Three offseasons? Bedrock?
The Cubs are going to dig holes in the outfield, tunneling deep and wide enough until they've carved out enough room for a new clubhouse. And the Tribune graphic says they plan on doing the same for the visitors in right field.
And it's not bedrock about which they need to worry. It's the City of Chicago's water table. There's a reason ol' Broad Shoulders prefers elevated trains to subway; they could only dig so deep. Although they're about eight miles to the south, the White Sox ran into issues with the water table when building U.S. Cellular Field 20 years ago.
Whatever, who cares about the dang water table? What are the Cubs DOING? They're painting the park purple as if Prince bought them. They've affixed a goal post to the bricks in right field. Now they want to dig holes in Wrigley Field like they're the Allies in "The Great Escape."
Just think about this. Playing corner defense is hard enough in the Wrigley outfield, with the curve of the unpadded fence and the wind and the sun (in right field, anyway). The fans fighting you for foul balls. Now the Cubs are going to make a sinkhole and Soriano's going to fall in.
OK, maybe the idea isn't all bad. But will CNN be there for the rescue like it was for the Chilean miners?
Even if they dig successfully — please reconsider — why don't they just make do with the space available at sea level? It's going to be seriously more expensive to make like Dig Dug.
The cramped quarters of the Wrigley clubhouses have little or nothing to do with the lack of World Series victories the Cubs have experienced. Besides, the visitors' clubhouse is much smaller and it hasn't prevented the other side from beating the Cubs.
The Cubs' problems through the years probably have much more to do with leadership.
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