Sneak preview: reviewing 100 years of Wrigley Field


wrigley field

When you screen 100 years of Wrigley Field you have to check certain inhibitions at the door. First off, unless you bleed Cubbie blue through and through and have a complete blind adherence to the Chicago Cubs brand, you will not regard this film to be a “documentary.” Remember 100 Years of Wrigley Field is an MLB production, and it’s sneak preview was last night at the 2014 Cubs Convention so this film is not for critics and free-thinkers.

In order to get something meaningful out of viewing 100 Years of Wrigley Field one must do that first. “They came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in “The Great Gatsby.”

“And once there, they conducted themselves in the manner befitting an amusement park,” Fitz continued.


That’s how you have to watch the movie. It’s also the way that most people attend baseball games at Wrigley Field, and it’s probably the best way to attend Cubs Convention. The film, which will be released to the public in February, is propaganda. And don’t misinterpret my usage of that sometimes emotionally loaded word. “Propaganda” is just any form of media with a point of view, with an agenda. Again “agenda” can be an emotionally loaded word that people take the wrong way.

The only agenda here in 100 Years of Wrigley Field is “you love the Cubs and you love Wrigley Field, here’s some material celebrating and honoring Wrigley Field. That’s what I mean by propaganda. Major League Baseball made this film, which would be torture to Ozzie Guillen, to honor the tradition and brand associated with Wrigley Field.


The best example I can give is this. Remember the 2010 Northwestern versus Illinois college football game at Wrigley Field? Remember how the back of the east zone being right up against the wall and being inherently dangerous was the dominant story line leading up to the game?

You’ll recall how BOTH TEAMS had to drive towards the west end zone because of it? Well, that’s left out of 100 Years of Wrigley Field. Not the entire game between the Illini and Wildcats mind you, but that specific aspect of the game. The film has a segment on NU versus UI in ’10, but it leaves out the one dominant aspect of that game that everyone remembers. Again this is propaganda, not documentary.

To make this even more ridiculous, there’s a segment in the early portion of the film that focuses on MLB outfielders crashing into the wall behind the ivy and getting hurt by it. I’m not joking. So when you get to the 2010 Illini vs Northwestern part of the movie, and you decide to walk out, no one would blame you. If you stay, it’s because you’re not here for a Wrigley Field history lesson, you’re here for a Wrigley Field Chamber of Commerce filmstrip.


To their credit, they do address the fact that Wrigleyville was a rough neighborhood from the 1960s to the early 80s. I’m too young to know anything about that, but I have heard that was the case. I’ve only been alive for the era of Wrigley Field as rich kid post frat party Margaritaville. So, I guess the Lincoln Park Trixies who currently keep up the sozzled watch of the Cubs will get a history lesson in that portion of the film!

100 Years of Wrigley Field does mention this inconvenient truth in a very brief and shallow manner. However, I will credit them for at least mentioning it. The film is just one part of the Wrigley Field centennial. Brandon Ort of New Bremen, Ohio won the Wrigley Field Turns 100 logo contest. The team received more than 1,200 submissions. The official Wrigley Field 100th logo will be featured as a patch on the team’s home uniforms next season and on a variety of items. You can see it embedded in this post.

Photo: This sign at Cubs Convention reminds me of the ending to Caddyshack when Rodney Dangerfield exclaims "hey everybody, we're all gonna get laid"

By the way, this picture I took at the Cubs Convention last night reminds me of the ending to Caddyshack, when Al Czervik, played by Rodney Dangerfield exclaims “hey everybody, we’re all going to get laid.”

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments discussing:  Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Bears and Bulls on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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