Sunday, September 5, 2010

Is a Wrigley championship impossible?

In a recent article, USA Today listed two obvious reasons the Cubs have so much difficulty winning in their ancient ballpark: not enough night games and antiquated facilities. As previously noted here, however, those obstacles are easily fixed. A more serious problem lies in the ballpark's architecture and location: the tendancy of the wind to control the outcome of games.

Lake Michigan lies about a mile east of that dump Wrigley Field. The lake breeze can blow in on hitters. A western or southwestern wind blows the ball out. Since the wind is so inconsistent, it's impossible to tailor a starting lineup for slugging (blowing out) or small-ball (blowing in). The Cubs have exceeded 50 wins per season at home just three times since 1945. (Also due to the day-game problem.) The Cubs' divisional archrival Cardinals have won 50 games at home three times just in the last decade. That suggests a serious problem.

Besides the obvious solution of a full slate of 55 night games at home, the Cubs need to consider raising the ballpark outer walls to eliminate the wind factor. Obivously, doing so would block the view of the rooftop seating across Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. The rooftop operators pay the Cubs a healthy percentage of each ticket sold. We believe the Cubs' best move is to buy out all the rooftop owners and rebuild the ballpark edifice, possibly adding seats within the ballpark if rooftop seating is no longer viable. Once the ballpark is protected from the wind, the Cubs would no longer need to worry about an additional opponent in their efforts to win ballgames.

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