The Ricketts have been taking a few hits during a fairly lackluster offseason for the roster, but it appears they actually plan to back up some of their flowery words about enhancing the game experience at Wrigley Field for their customers.
Dave Kaplan posted a number of improvements the Cubs plan to make on his blog. Most of them have been discussed around the Cub blogosphere quite a bit, but a couple points that Kaplan points out struck me:
"9) The Ricketts family has stressed that they want to make the Cubs experience the best in sports. Much like Disney World being exceptionally clean that is what the Ricketts family is demanding Wrigley Field be kept like."
There are really too many things grammatically wrong with that last sentence to mock succinctly, so I'll just praise the spirit of the idea presented. Say what you want about the Disney Corporation, but they know how to get customers to come back to repeatedly spend insane amounts of money and be absolutely thrilled to do so. Part of that equation is keeping their facilities clean.
Wrigley Field is a beautiful park as long as you keep your eyes set squarely on the field itself. For all the hemming and hawing about not changing the essence of Wrigley, the reality is that the exterior of Wrigley is probably the ugliest facade in the National League Central and the interior is old and dirty.
I don't know how often that place gets power-washed, but it is not nearly often enough. It may not even be possible to get the years of nacho cheese, mustard, beer, and (let's face it) puke completely out of the park since the aromas have probably seeped into the concrete itself, but it sounds like the Ricketts are set on trying.
I would suggest having a pre-game wipe-down of the seats (weather permitting). It is not uncommon to return to the park after a road trip and find that the seats have been fairly well covered in spider webs over the dormant week. Please note that I am not advocating the extermination of the spiders. As much as spiders give people the willies, it wouldn't surprise me if their presence in the park keeps other insects (like mosquitos) to a minimum. But despite spiders being our ecological friends, it doesn't mean people want to find a web in their seat when they paid $60+ for it.
"10) The Cubs will soon announce the hiring of a Chief Hospitality Officer or Director of Game Day Entertainment and that person's job will be to make sure that every aspect of a fan's experience is held to the highest standards of excellence. There will be uniformed "team ambassadors" who will be monitoring every part of the "Cubs Universe" on game day. Whether a fan takes the train, parks their car in a surrounding lot, rides their bicycle, or takes a bus to the area surrounding the stadium there will be Cubs ambassadors monitoring everything that a fan experiences and trouble shooting any problems that are brought to their attention."
This certainly sounds Disneyesque. This might even be taking it a bit far, but I'm happy to let the pendulum swing the other way for once. I am quite content to go to my seat, have the seating area not covered in half of what the previous games' fans left behind, and not have to get into an argument with a douchenozzle who doesn't know how to read a ticket and insists he is in the right place. But if the Cubs want to make the park more like this:
I'm not going to object.