Today’s game is against the Brewers, one of two teams I believe will challenge the Cubs for the Central. Now I’m certainly not stating anything new there. Lots of experts have it coming down to the Brewers and the Cubs in the NL Central. Not that I’m an expert either…although I might as well be since the minute those season preview magazines come out with all the ‘expert’ opinions 99.9% of them are wrong. You might as well have bought the 2008 Weatherman Fantasy Preview Issue of Weather Predictions Digest. Regardless, I, like many other baseball fanatics have it coming down to the Cubs and the Brewers in the Central (the other team I’d watch out for is the Cardinals).
Because of this fact, I’m very much looking forward to listening to today’s game. Dempster is making his second start of the Spring after an impressive first impression as a starter for 2008. I like Dempster and I am predicting a starting rotation of Big Z, Lil’ ly, Hill, Marquis and Dempster come Opening Day. It’ll be fun to see how he does against one of our biggest rivals. It will also be interesting to see if Fielder takes his contract dispute and uses it as a motivation tool to play for a huge contract next year (likely on another team) or if it simply becomes to much of a distraction, ultimately helping the Cubs repeat as division champs. Not sure if he’s playing today or not, but either way, I’m sure there will be lots of chatter about the situation in the broadcast.
Rivalries help make the game what it is. As does tradition and history. That’s why it bothers me so much that Wrigley could be renamed. I read that the Red Sox are adding over 400 seats to Fenway by adding a section called Coca-Cola Corner. Considering corporate ads and money are such a part of today’s game, especially when it comes to paying some of the salaries today’s players are making, I understand its a necessary evil. HOWEVER, I think the Red Sox got it right on this one. You don’t need to rename your entire stadium…sell out on the inside of the park not the outside by going corporate…and in turn, you’ll keep your fan base happy and continue to sell out the other way as well. Now of course, I realize that Cubs fans would show up no matter what, no matter whether the confines were called Wrigley Field or something horrible. But its the happy part that would be different. And I believe Mr. Zell should keep that in mind. Keep your clientelle happy…if baseball is truly such a business for you, then do what businessmen do…look to make a profit while keeping your customer happy. Come up with corporate named segments of the park if you need to like the Delta Upper Deck, the match.com first-second-third base, the tasteful ExxonMobil concession stands. You get what I mean. You can still make money off corporations without selling the NAME OF THE STADIUM! Coca Cola Corner will be in the team colors, sodas are completely associated with the baseball experience as much as beer, hot dogs, peanuts and cracker jacks so it doesn’t look like you’re selling out and it doesn’t take away from the ballpark’s atmosphere and historic vibe in a way that makes you cringe.
My point: I understand baseball is an expensive business and you want to be able to feed your family, but let’s either try doing so with the billions you already have…or find a way to do so by creatively enhancing the inside of the park as opposed to completely wiping away one of the most historic names in baseball. Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter and your own solutions to this problem. And with that, thanks to The Page Crew for this hilarious video (also found in the Sites for Sore Eyes section listed in the righthand column of this blog):