Sunday, November 21, 2010

Football at Wrigley: what to do in order to play there again

I wanted to say a quick note on the game yesterday.

I'm sure most all of you watched it. It was really cool.

I know I railed against the game at Wrigley earlier this week. I was very happy to see that the NCAA and the Big Ten decided to use only one end-zone yesterday. In the end, it was a really neat game and it was just interesting to see how it all worked out. I also did watch the Notre Dame-Army game at Yankee Stadium. That also was an extremely awesome experience (especially being a Notre Dame fan...please don't throw any tomatoes at me). The good thing about that game was that no special rules changes as the field fit safely onto the dimensions of the new ballpark.

Yankee Stadium was built with the idea that it could hold a football game there. There were even added bleachers coming off both the right and left field corners to increase the capacity and give special seating to the cadets in attendance.

Tom Ricketts stated he'd like to hold a fooball game there every year, as you all know (and I know you all know because I had more hits on Thursday than I ever had before), I thought this was ludicrous. The fact the Big Ten put a halt to the west to east offensive plays says that holding another football game at Wrigley is not going to happen unless the Cubs make some substantial changes.

Well, as luck has it, the Cubs are planning a renovation of the ballpark in the next few years. As I said before, the Yankees planned their stadium with the possibility of holding football games there. The Cubs should plan their renovation with the exact same thing in mind. Making Wrigley usable year round only increases revenue for the team.

The renovation plan for Wrigley pretty much leaves the bleachers alone. That's fine. We also know that the renovation, as currently planned, will replace most of the concrete and steel in the grandstand. My thought is to take the visitor dugout and the first 5 to 8 rows next to it and make them retractable or removable.

This would achieve a number of things if done..
  • First, and most obviously, you can fit a regulation football field inside the ballpark with enough space to make it safe so players would have little fear about running into a brick wall at full speed.
  • A north-south configuration is more standard in football for some reason, thus desired.
  • Both teams will have space for a full sideline.  (The last time I saw both teams on the same side line was back when the Packers played at County Stadium in Milwaukee.)
  • In a north/south configuration, the grandstand down the first base line more naturally angles toward the field, espeically in the upperdeck. 
  • With a north/south configuration, a higher percentage of the rooftops will have better views of the entire field.
Now, I know my drawing isn't perfectly to scale, but it actually is pretty close, and I believe this could work.  This would also allow for soccer games to be easily held at the ballpark, lacrosse, polo...whatever.

If the Rickettses want to hold special events like this at Wrigley, they will need to take these things into consideration when renovating the park.

The real shame of yesterday's game was that so much talk was made about the special rules that had to be in place which distracted from the cool fact that football was being played at Wrigley.

If they can make football fit in Wrigley...hell, do it again!



One thing I intended to mention that I forgot about...

For those of you have any fears about ruining the "brick wall" by putting retractable seating in that area can be relax.  First off, half of that area is really used as both a dugout and as a camera well...and second, the area where there currently is a brick wall, during a ballgame the that area has the tarp rolled up against it.  Historically, the brick wall in that area really isn't that significant anyway.  The Cubs tore down the original brick wall (if it even was the original) to add 3 additional rows of seats there about 5 years ago.