Wrigley Field Bleachers: Rotting Disgusting Cesspool?

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By the TSB Staff

So the Cubs’ Milton Bradley claimed he was showered with racist epithets from the Wrigley Field bleachers. I believe him, even though he failed to give an example. I’ve heard some of the most disgusting, useless and vile language ever uttered by humanity when I’ve visited the Wrigley bleachers. This came just a couple weeks after one of the biggest dillholes in sports fan history dumped beer from the bleachers on Phillies’ outfielder Shane Victorino. It seems the Wrigley Field bleachers are becoming, as Obi-Wan Kenobi described Moss Eisley Spaceport, “a wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Despite the fact that they’re some of the most expensive tickets in all of MLB, why are the bleachers so trashy?

Why are they so hyped? Are they actually buzz worthy? I asked my editorial staff these questions. Here’s my two cents on the topic

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PAUL M. BANKS:

I remember going to the Cubs’ Bleachers with my friends for $11 a pop in 1998. That was just over a decade ago. Today, those same tickets cannot be had for less than $50. And certainly no less than $75 for a weekend game. All I can say is WHY? It’s mildly fun when you’re a college kid, even though the area has BY FAR the worst views of the game in the entire stadium. This is undoubtedly the most over-priced and overrated piece of garbage consumable in the Chicago sports market. And did I mention that it’s $8 a beer, you don’t get a seat back, and should you have the most basic desire of sitting next to your friends, one of you will need to get that there at least 90 minutes before game time to save seats. And to possess admission into this supposedly elite era, you’ll have to buy those tickets months beforehand in February. How do they get away with this?

Like Cubs tickets themselves, bleacher passes have been marketed as a place to “meet people.” And yes, I’ve met lots of people there, people I’ve never seen or talked to again. Do you know anyone that met their significant other, or even gotten digits for that matter, from the Wrigley bleachers? Not that you should actually expect that from a baseball game, but the manipulative organization, in conjunction with the sheepish local entertainment media, have sold the public on the idea that this MLB seating section is a dating service, elite night club and adult Spring Break all rolled into one.

Famous Cub fan Joe Mantegna even wrote a play about it in the early ‘80s “Bleacher Bums,” which was made into a low budget HBO movie with quite possibly the ugliest cast ever to grace premium cable. I don’t think they’ll ever make a movie about say…the Infield Club seats at Washington Nationals Park, so the Bleachers certainly have the hype. They just don’t give you anything of value for the price.

SOXMAN:

Even a Sox fan knows the allure of the Wrigley Field Bleachers and why they are hyped so tremendously throughout the summer as the “place to be” when taking in a Cubs game.  In an otherwise cramped, “not friendly” confines, the bleachers are the one place where there is a hair more freedom to move around.  And let’s face it, they are considered the party place at Wrigley Field.

I liken it to the after hours bar people go to when they want to hook up or get in a fight.  This is a far stretch from what the original “Bleacher Bum” label was meant to be.  2565247BB_D012906006

A Bleacher Bum was supposed to be similar to a beach bum or a parrot head, supporting Jimmy Buffet.  People who regardless of profession or demographic, religiously followed their loveable losers by purchasing (once inexpensive) bleacher seats, drinking beer, soaking in sun, and watching the Cubs be the Cubs (insert your own definition here).

Like parrot heads, there was all sorts of colorful followers and overall, the experience was a great one.  Ever wonder why Buffet is a Cubs fan?

What has been lost over time is the tradition or meaning behind the name and sadly the seating section in general.  Somewhere the stereo-type has changed to half-naked floozies, and over-served muscle head wannabes, whose main goal is to benchmark a new standard for inappropriate behavior.

The fortunate thing is that Cub fans have the power to change that perception.  The hurdle may be greater than winning the World Series. Many people (and I use the term people thinking these are civilized humans) actually like the disgusting allure of acting like a complete idiot.

White Sox fans took their stereotypical black eye years ago when those two nimrods from Alsip ran on the field and attacked a Royals coach.  Cub fans now have theirs.  It’s up to them to put a raw steak on it and stop the swelling.

In any park, Soxman believes in a fan’s freedom of speech.  However, when behavior interferes with the sanctity of the game, the enjoyment of other fans, or becomes inappropriate by the definition of “fan friendly,’ a line has been crossed.  Like a sobriety test, most of those who ruin it for others couldn’t walk it.soxman

Wasted away again in Wrigleyville.
Looking for my world series and liquored malt.
Some people claim that there’s a curse to blame, but as a Cubs fan,
I know it’s my own damn fault…

H. JOSE BOSCH:

I’ve never had the “pleasure” of sitting with some of Chicago’s finest in the bleacher section and I hope I never will. Why on Earth would anyone pay money to sit under direct sunlight on top of a piping hot bleacher and pay $8 a beer to watch a crappy team prove again and again that it’s an absolute failure?

Here’s a suggestion, Cubs fans. You can do this for little money at any Little league game in the Chicagoland area. I understand you can’t drink but A.) You can always sneak some hard liquor into that $1.50 soda you bought at the concession stand and B.) You’ll be so delirious from the heat stroke that you might as well be intoxicated.

You might not find this as glamorous as the bleachers in Wrigley, but you won’t have to deal with drunks throwing up on everyone. And you’ll have a better view of the game, and it’s still crappy baseball.miltonbradleymrhanky

JAKE MCCORMICK:

Just like the Black Hole in Oakland, the Wrigley bleachers will always get hype no matter how bad the team is. Part of the reason the ticket prices are so high is simply because there are Cub fans willing to drop $300 to sweat alcohol for three hours. I’d be willing to bet most are the fair-weather variety that care more about heckling than watching the game, because any self-respecting fan of any team, has a price cutoff for when their team sucks. I’ve only been to Wrigley once, when it was about 30 degrees and Ozzie Smith and Ray Lankford were starting for the Cardinals, but I really have no desire to return, unless someone pays for my ticket because the prices are just too high to watch a team with a huge payroll yet only three 90 win seasons since 1950- compared to five 90 loss seasons since 1990 on its resume. Any other team would see a fan backlash in the form of slumping ticket sales, but since the Cubs always have people willing to be gouged for a chance at bleacher heaven, things won’t change.milb

I believe Bradley has faced some pretty nasty taunts from the Wrigley bleachers, and part of that is due to the fact that Mark DeRosa, an all-American do-it-all player who happens to be white, was let go in favor of a loose cannon that can hit, but has been in five different uniforms over the past five years. The other part is that because the Cubs haven’t sniffed a World Series in so long, their fans will now settle for nothing less.
Thus the most drunk, stupid ones that like wearing their “C” hats, “Drunk chicks dig me” and “Horry Cow” shirts which greatly offend the very own team they claim to be supporting, end up speaking for the majority’s frustration with racial slurs and beer-throwing contests. Instead of facing the reality that the organization itself needs to change, not just the people stepping onto the field 162 games out of the year. As long as racists aren’t silenced by their neighbors and beer chuckers get away with their middle school behavior while someone else takes the fall, the Wrigley bleachers will continue looking more like a biker bar than a group of loyal fans starving for a championship.

From the resident Milwaukee-native and Brewers Fan, MELISSA S. WOLLERING:

I don’t want to stereotype Chicagoans or Illinois dwellers.  I’m sure there are some well-behaved folks who grace the bleachers of historic Wrigley. However, in terms of “experience” in any industry, the experience one always remembers more than the positive is the negative one.

If you have a terrible experience with an airline, you remember it and you tell your friends about the 6 hours you had to sit on a runway, only to end up being put on another flight the following day. If you have an awful experience with a dentist or doctor, patients typically spread the word like wildfire and there goes 1/4 of your appointments.  Forget any positive referrals for the next 2 months. You rarely hear your friends tell you how great Airline X was about rescheduling a flight, or getting you more peanuts and a clean pillow. We dwell on the negative.

The number of fans making the Cubs bleacher experience an “unenjoyable one” seems to be growing—but is it?  Or for the reasons above, are we just hearing more about it?  Either way, something should be done. The Cubs organization should start a campaign to get the behavior under control because no Stadium wants to be known for its bleachers being the jerk capital of the Midwest. stupidcubfan1

UW-Madison instituted its “Roll Out the Red Carpet” campaign several years ago to control unruly students. The Milwaukee Brewers created a text system in which you can report unruly fans and an usher will address the situation. Miller Park is actually known for having a pretty friendly fan base.  It has its moments…cough…when Cubs fans come to town.  But our bleachers are nothing like yours and we’re proud of it. Keep it classy, Chicago.

JAKE FOWLER:

The reason the bleachers are so trashy is that there are hardly any diehard baseball fans sitting there. So when these people have ten beers, they have nothing intelligent to say about baseball and just spew nonsense. I was sitting in the right field bleachers earlier this year when a drunk girl yelled, “Goooooo Ichiro!” when trying to cheer on Fukudome. It’s embarassing, especially when true sports fans make the pilgrimage to Wrigley expecting something special. Or at least something close to living up to the hype.

To be fair and balanced, I must point out that the responses here are from two White Sox fans, a Tigers fan, a Cardinals supporter, and two Brewers backers. The Cubs fan writers on staff were invited to answer this question, but failed to respond. I guess these are dark times in Cub Nation, and all it’s enemies are just piling on.

Answering Cubs Questions

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By Paul Schmidt and David Kay

Two of The Sports Bank’s most prominent smart asses also happen to be Cubs fans (Lucky for the Cubs).  We polled our own to get some burning questions about the underachieving Cubbies and Paul and David were kind enough to mix in a few nuggets of insight within their jokes.

Since being moved out of the lead off spot, Alfonso Soriano has started hitting and driving in runs. Other players like Kosuke Fukudome have started hitting too, which makes me think that Soriano is filling the catalyst role further down in the order. It’s possible the old Soriano is back, but given his success away from the top of the order, where is the best place to slot him?

(PS) The bench. After lighting the world on fire after going to the 6-hole, he has been mired in what I believe is now a 4-for-50 slump. Any time anyone throws him a breaking pitch he either swings on his tip-toes to get at it because it’s so far outside or he nearly breaks his back from the bat missing everything and hitting it so hard. Given his complete lack of caring in the field, there’s no reason to keep him in the lineup.

(DK) The best place to slot him is in the American League so no fan base has to suffer through the circus that is Soriano trying to catch fly balls, misplaying balls in the corner, or overthrowing his cut-off guys.

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While the Cub offense has been overwhelmingly under whelming this year, the starting pitching has kept the team in the NL Central race. Now with the offense seemingly coming on despite not being 100 percent, the starters have taken blows with injuries to Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly. The pitching and offense have played well at times, but rarely together. Will the pitching and offense ever click as one before it’s too late this year?

(DK) Don’t forget about Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden spending time on the DL as well this season. It is already too late by the way, so it doesn’t matter if the offense and pitching ever click this season. It’s just too damn late.

(PS) A simple ‘no’ is all you’ll get out of me.

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For you I know this year is about nothing but success in October. Anything less than a world series is a failure, so how do you get yourself through the reg seasons’s final stretch? Seriously how do proverbially “wake up every morning till the postseason?

(PS) I drink heavily. I also watch a lot of NCIS reruns. The only thing that this team has going for it right now is that it’s still easy to watch – It’s like a train wreck, you can’t look away.

(DK) I already quit the Cubs two weeks ago. It’s refreshing and like lifting a massive weight off my shoulders. How do I get through the rest of the MLB season? I start studying for my fantasy football draft, researching the 2009-2010 college basketball season, and watch re-runs of $100,000 Pyramid of the Game Show Network.

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Even if the Cubs make the playoffs, there’s no way they do any damage with their current batch of relievers “closing” out games, right?

(DK) Well it only took four and a half months of suffering through Kevin Gregg sucking to remove him from the closer role. Let’s be honest, Carlos Marmol has been just as rocky as he’s struggled to find his command (though he has been steadier as of late.) By the way, just stop saying IF the Cubs make the playoffs. It’s not going to happen. Just like Brett Favre will never play for the Vikings…

(PS) I hated the Kevin Gregg signing from day 1. I told everyone I knew that they would end up hating him sooner rather than later. This is one of those situations where I really, really don’t like being right. Personally, I think the only guy in the bullpen who has earned a shot at the closer’s spot is Angel Guzman, or perhaps John Grabow. But we’re going to have Marmol, for better or worse.
How do you think the Cubs ownership situation affected the roster this season, if at all?

(DK) Trading for Jake Peavy is really the only potential deal that was affected by the Cubs ownership. They still have a massive payroll and the fact is the team never could put it all together at once whether it was injuries or guys just plain sucking (i.e. Milton Bradley, Geovany Soto.) The roster was built to win and just didn’t get the job done.

(PS) I don’t think it made a lick of difference. Jake Peavy would have just gotten hurt anyway, just like all of the rest of the pitchers….

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Which Cubs are part of the long term solution, who needs to go away?

(DK) I honestly don’t have the energy to answer this question. But let’s just say I like Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, and Jake Fox on this roster. I’m not sold on anybody else.

(PS) I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think that the only guys you keep are Geovany Soto, Rich Harden, Carlos Marmol and John Grabow. Maybe Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzellany (a personal man-crush of mine). Everyone else can go and is a varying degree of trade bait. I’d also like to say that I’m in the camp, albeit a small one, of people who would like to see Milton Bradley back. High OBP guys are the kind of people you can build your lineup around, and they aren’t REAL common. He also ALWAYS hustles and gives 110 percent on the field, which is more than I can say for at least one of the Cubs’ outfielders…