Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Please move out of Wrigley, Mr. Ricketts!

Mr. Tom Ricketts
Chairman, Chicago Cubs
1060 W Addison St
Chicago IL 60613-4397

Dear Mr. Ricketts:

I applaud your efforts to modernize Wrigley Field with a major renovation. Unfortunately, it’s lipstick on a pig if the ballpark’s two main impediments to winning are not addressed: the night game limit and the wind effect on fly balls. I suspect playing 30 night games per season instead of 55 costs the Cubs five to ten wins—a critical difference. As Steve Stone noted while discussing the wind in a USA Today article last year, the Cubs have won 50 home games only three times since 1945. The Cardinals have done it three times in the past decade. There’s a serious home-field disadvantage in Lakeview, and the wind’s unpredictability plays a major factor.

Assuming the night-game limit and wind effect remain unchanged, you have two choices. You could run the club much like the Tribune Co. did and make a lot of money. The Cubs would win 70-85 games per season in Wrigley Field and never win another pennant. Or you can build a 21st Century marvel—a Miller Park near United Center or Sears Centre—and bring a world championship home. As a lifelong Cubs fan like yourself, it pains me that the Cubs begin every season at a serious disadvantage due to the second-worst facility* in the majors for players and fans. Wrigley Field is pretty, but it’s worth noting the Cubs have never won a championship there. At first it was the wind’s fault. Now it’s night games too. Thank you for your June 7 reply to my letter last year. With regard to night games, you wrote you want the Cubs to be “good neighbors.” I concur. Good neighbors win championships.


*Oakland is worst.

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