Sign of the times at Wrigley
Posted on: June 11, 2010 5:56 pm
The Cubs hosted a game Friday for the first time since the addition of a large Toyota sign that hovers over the left-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. The Cubs got final approval from the city to erect the sign on Wednesday and had it in place the next day.
One of Wrigley's notable features has been the absence, or at least minimalism, of advertising. Very few ads within the ballpark are visible from the seating bowl (the rooftops or surrounding buildings another story), and the ones that are, such as ads on the outfield wall, are hardly noticeable, particularly in comparison to the other 29 major league ballparks.
At 360 square feet, the Toyota sign, which will light up red at night, is by far the most prominent ad to appear at Wrigley in modern times. Obviously the move has generated passionate debate in Chicago, where Wrigley is a subject of reverance for many.
Even the Chicago Tribune is split over the issue. In a blog on architecture and urban spaces, Blair Kamin argues that the sign is an unwelcome addition , springing up from the low-slung ballpark like "a giant red Jack in the Box."
Tribune sports columnist Phil Rogers tells Cubs fans to get over it:
"The lack of advertising at Wrigley is still a throwback feature of the park. Remember the fight to add the eight extra rows onto the outfield bleacher seats? Or the one over luxury boxes? Or lights? Yeah, those things have really ruined the place, haven't they? The thing that will ruin it is bad baseball on a yearly basis."
-- David Andriesen
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