On october 1st at 5:30pm, Wrigley Field will host a viewing of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the movie’s release. This is due in part to Wrigley Field being featured in some of the scenes in the movie and in part to the way Wrigley Field (and many of John Hughes’ movies) feature Chicago. As an added kicker, there’ll be an attempt to break the world record for people singing “Danke Schoen”, the song that Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick) lipsynched during the parade scene. People can get $10 bleachers, $25 lawn seats or $75 VIP outfield lawn seat tickets. However, the idea of paying to see a movie in October instead of, for example, a Chicago Cubs playoff game is inciting some ridicule from Cubs fans and mockery of Cubs fans.
So, I decided to troll the ESPN story’s comment board for quotes. Here’s a snippet of what’s been said so far:
ImAYankeeFanBUT: why would you want to cram yourself in a urine smelling stadium in the freezing cold to watch a crappy movie?
Gosioux77: YAY! Postseason action at Wrigley!!!! Oh wait…..
tgwelch666: What a rip-off! Proceeds go to the Alfonso Soriano Extrication Fund.
Those are just some of the more “reprintable” quotes. Then, there is this quote from kingofdukezSMH that criticzes the promotion from a different angle:
kingofdukezSMH:”…when I first read they were doing a movie night at Wrigley, common sense told me that either it would be a) free to the public or b) a movie that’s now in theaters…why pay $10 to see a movie you can get from Redbox or Netflix (or buy a copy of) for less? The whole point of going to the movie theater nowadays is because a) you can’t see the movies they have at home and b) movie theaters have Imax/3D.
Even as a White Sox fan, I feel bad for the ACTUAL Cub fans out there (you know, the ones who don’t just go to Wrigley Field to get their picture taken and make @$$es out of themselves…and know who Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Greg Maddux, etc are). As long as there is a contingent of consumer $@%!$@ out there willing to overpay for anything Wrigley-related…you’re in a tough position.”
kingofdukezSMH makes a valid argument about the logic of paying so much to see a movie that could be seen on your local TV station for free. He also notes how “actual” Cub fans should be upset that Wrigley Field is drawing attention not for the talent on the Chicago Cubs but because it is being used as a marketing gimmick.
Yet, even with those arguments in mind, I take a different tack on the situation.
First, I should disclose that I am the type to pay $25 for a lawn seat. Out here in Denver, one of my favorite things to do is catch a Colorado Rockies fireworks game and pay $35 for a pavillion ticket just so I can go on the field. The grass, the dirt, it looks, smells and just plain-out feels great. Then, when the lights go off and the fireworks show goes on, sharing the field with another 30,000 to 40,000 people oohing and aahing is wonderful and an experience I happily pay for. Thus, if you ask whether I would want to see “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, a Chicago movie in Wrigley Field with the lights turned off, clapping and laughing with a larger crowd than what you can pack in a movie theater? Yep, definitely sign me up for that. I might even pay $75 because I’d consider that a lifetime experience. Going to Wrigley Field to enjoy a movie (which I admittedly have seen too many times to count) set in Chicago with fellow Chicagoans is an experience I would pay for. I’ll also throw in the extra possible perks like chatting with people about Chicago, the Cubs, Wrigley Field or the movie before and after the game. Even in modern movie theaters, you don’t get many people standing outside after a premiere and talking about it. Most just walk off. I doubt people would be so in and out at such a showing at Wrigley Field.
Second, the Chicago Cubs are out to make money. I don’t blame them, baseball is a business. Chairman Tom Ricketts did raise some ticket prices in 2010 while keeping the other half of the ticket inventory frozen other half of the ticket inventory frozen. On the other hand, that same Tom Ricketts walks the aisles and the concourses to mingle and question the fans which is a far cry from the entropy the Tribune Company’s ownership brought to Wrigleyville. The Ricketts may have looked (or been) a bit inert while waiting for some untradeable contracts to come off the books but the optimist in me thinks there are better things in store for the future of the Cubs. Given that perception that I have, I much prefer the Ricketts raise money through this kind of a promotion instead of, say, replacing the ivy with advertising, replacing the old-fashioned scoreboard with a blaring “Pick Your Song Sponsored by…” jumbotron or renaming Wrigley Field to Ameritrade Park. And yeah, those kinds of things may still come but if an event like this helps to stall a decision like that just for a year, I’m all for it.
Ironically, people pay even more money for concert tickets at Wrigley Field better watched for free on YouTube than in a public stadium not ideally built for acoustics. Some might argue, given the quality of play, that watching the Chicago Cubs for free on TV is better than paying for the privilege to watch them lose in person. However, the Chicago Cubs hosting this promotion won’t make a difference in their probably abysmal 2012 standings and maybe it’ll give them a few extra bucks to invest into their next contending team.
Kerry Wood tore the meniscus in his left knee, ending his 2011 season and possibly his major league career. If so, I find it odd to write about the end of a career for someone I grew up enjoying and yet, is just a year and a few weeks younger than me.
I remember Kerry Wood on WGN shortly after he was drafted. Quiet kid, and at my ripe old age of 19, anyone just out of high school was a kid. I also remember him being very respectful. I enjoyed his twenty strikeout game, a game I was fortunate enough to see live on television. The way his slider dove across the plate reminded me of 20-rated movement pitches on the SNES Baseball Stars game. It was unreal, and beyond that, fun as hell to watch. So much fun, I started doubting my other favorite rookie at the time, Kevin orie, who botched a grounder hit in that game that could’ve been called an error, giving Kerry a no-hitter before he was old enough to drink. Kevin orie, back to him in a bit…
I don’t remember ever disliking Kerry (though that incident with the wall was a little offputting). If I did, I probably would’ve disliked myself. Even though I weighed about 20 lbs more than him (and no, not in the arm), people said I looked a lot like him. Got his goatee and his blond hair and general facial structure (though he has a thinner nose) and used to get a second look if I was wearing my Kerry Wood jersey. Not that I minded since he was my favorite Cub of that era (sorry, Grace). Like him, I loved baseball, tried to be respectful of others and liked helping people. Sure, I would get a bit frustrated with his injuries, with his wildness, but that was balanced by how apparent it was that he always seemed to be trying. The kid had struck out twenty in one game, a feat rarer than no-hitters. He could’ve just “dialed it in”, let an ego creep into his head. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know him personally, but I like to think that the Kerry Wood I saw on television was the same kind of guy without the cameras on him. He was the kind of guy who would take the ball in the playoffs because his team needed him, even if his elbow had been sore, even if his future was in jeopardy. If there is such a thing as playing the game “the right way”, I’d lump him in that category of “favorite Cubs” right next to Andre Dawson and his sore knees.
Wood would do other things to help the Cubs. He would pinch-hit when called upon. He would try different grips, different pitching motions, keep try to get better, even after his elbow blew up once. Made it through a torn rotator cuff and a bad knee and when his body said he couldn’t start anymore, he went to the bullpen to help the Cubs. Perhaps there was a huff and puff, maybe he was upset about sometimes being the closer and sometimes not. Maybe he was upset about being “babied” and not alloweed to throw on back-to-back days, but if so, it didn’t hit the headlines much if at all.
He turned down multiyear, more lucrative contracts from other teams because he liked being on the Cubs, once in 2007 he took a one year contract and again, a one year contract to return to the Cubs for 2011. In between those contracts, he was pushed out for financial reasons in 2008, took out a full page ad in the paper thanking Cubs fans, had some more successes and failures and injuries but was still welcomed back to Wrigley with a standing ovation. I know when the Cubs came out to Denver this year, he got one from us Cub fans too. And yeah, I had to convince one drunken Cub fan during that Cubs-Rockies series that I, at the time 40 lbs heavier, was not Kerry Wood. And yeah, he is still my favorite Cub.
There’ve been a lot of Cubs over the years. Some, more surly than others, throwing a fit in the papers or in the dugout or the locker room. Some others get their public images shattered worse than a broken bat, forever changing your opinion of them and of baseball in general. So many millions of dollars, too egotistical to be satisfied by those millions or to be paid to play a game or wonder why people don’t love them. Others, like Kevin Orie, disappear. Traded to the Marlins after 1998, some say because of the “error”, Orie spent a few years bouncing around the major league and up and down to the minor leagues. He made a brief appearance as a Cub in 2002 then disappeared. I didn’t realize until tonight that he kept grinding away until 2006, kept trying to slug his way back to the majors. For some, no matter how hard they try, how much they want to play, they get forgotten, even by a former fan like me.
And then there is Kerry Wood. Whether he’s entered in the final line of his baseball card or not, I’ll remember the numbers that he racked up that counted to me…
Career statistics as of 2011: Chicago resident, raised over $2 million for Chicago children’s charities, made it through fourteen stints on the disabled list to help four Chicago Cubs teams reach the playoffs, many standing ovations long after the best game of his career and perhaps a quiet, respectful bow as he leaves the game satisfied he tried his best. Thus, will he be remembered.