It reminded me of my post from about a year ago that pretty much saw this sort of thing coming. I still haven't gotten my royalty check from the Cubs.
Coming Soon: The Magical Cubdom
The Cubs announced today that they would be unveiling a new statue outside of Wrigley for Billy Williams this coming September. That is nice and I want to say up front that I don't necessarily believe that Billy doesn't deserve it, but it begs the question: What is next?
For those of you keeping score at home, the Cubs have six players numbers retired represented by the five flags hanging on the fair poles. Those same fair poles have the Hey Hey memorials to Jack Brickhouse. Harry Caray gets the pressbox caricature and the statue outside the Captain Morgan's Club. Ernie Banks has his statue by the ticket windows. There are flags waiving on the rooftop that commemorate every Cubs playoff appearance and important players, events, and even a former owner.
Now Billy gets his own statue. That's nice.
I guess I didn't think that another statue was really necessary to properly commemorate any more players on a team that hasn't won anything since before the Titanic was built.
I think the problem is that they went a little too overboard on the commemoration of broadcasters to the point where it became obvious that they were lacking in solid memorials to great players. Since the Harry Statue went up in 1999, the Cubs have retired the numbers of Santo, Sandberg, Jenkins, and Maddux and they added the Banks statue. I guess I thought that was enough to balance it out. Especially since there really hasn't been a whole lot of winning on the North Side about which we should get all nostalgic.
What it boils down to is that the Cubs are going full bore ahead with their plans to make Wrigley a baseball version of Disney World. If they have to build a few statues to support a revisionist view of their past history of failure, that is exactly what they are going to do.
If you go to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, you don't get an actual jungle experience. There are no warring tribes, bugs the size of a Volkswagen (though with it being in Florida, this part is actually pretty close), and people dying of malaria, dysentary, or ebola. You get happy natives and friendly British explorers who have no intentions of enslaving the darker skinned people. You get friendly animals banding together to defeat the more harshly designed, mean looking animals that are only violent because they are bad eggs, not because they are naturally carnivores looking to survive in a harsh environment. It is good clean fun and no one cares that it isn't close to reality. In fact, they prefer it isn't and they pay big bucks to escape reality for a while.
Wrigley Field has real potential to become a place where reality is suspended and we as fans can pay a lot of money to walk down memory lane to the great teams of Cubs past. I've been giving it some thought, and I think I've come up with some good attractions that could enhance the experience:
- Audioanimatronic Harry (voice provided by Ryan Dempster) - An interactive computer program will allow a virtual Harry to mispronounce visitors' names as he would if he were calling a game.
- The College of Coaches Jamboree - Audioanimatronic versions of El Tappe, Goldie Holt, Bobby Adams, Harry Craft, Verlon Walker, Ripper Collins, Vedie Himsl and Charlie Grimm will sing a medley of classics like "Go Cubs Go" and "It's a Beautiful Day For a Ballgame"
- The Carousel of Diminutive Middle Infielders - this could be audioanimatronic or it could help keep guys like Manny Alexander, Neifi Perez, and Aaron Miles out of the unemployment line.
- Journey to the Bottom of Yosh Kawano's Laundry Bag - kids can attempt to find the lucky soiled jock strap to win a prize.
- Michael Barrett's Punching Gallery - visitors can choose to be Michael Barret and punch A.J. Pierzynski, or they can choose to be Carlos Zambrano and punch Michael Barrett. It's win/win.
- It's a Small Strike Zone Afterall - where visitors attempt to throw a virtual pitch on 3 and 2 to complete a perfect game that Bruce Froemming doesn't call a ball.
- Honey, I Shrunk My Testicles - where visitors try to hit virtual homeruns as Sammy Sosa or Rafael Palmeiro for prize tickets and they can use virtual cream, clear, or needles to enhance their power. But watch out! If you get caught you have to go sit and explain yourself in the Hall of Congressional Committees, but you get to keep the prize tickets.
- Cindy Sandberg's Wild Ride (Adults only)
- Wait 'Til Next Year! - this is just a long line that never ends.