Wrigley Field video board is bigger, uglier than Cubs owner promised

The first photos of the newly installed first-ever electronic video board for Wrigley Field are in, and it is just as big and obtrusive as you might have feared, and that’s even before it’s been turned on:

zkoqlof0pnv8bph2pws2Let’s compare that with what the Cubs ownership said the board was going to look like:

Even allowing for different perspectives, that looks a lot bigger than the renderings that the Cubs released. (Compare it to the size of the manual scoreboard in center field.) The size is set in the landmarks approval that the Cubs received, so what looks most likely is that somebody was doing some hanky panky here with the initial renderings. But at least Cubs fans this year will have some nice video replays and commercials to distract them from the unholy mess that is the bleacher construction project, not to mention distract them from the Cubs.

18 comments on “Wrigley Field video board is bigger, uglier than Cubs owner promised

  1. I wonder if the renderings were submitted with their proposal to the landmarks approval process and if so if the deceptive rendering could constitute fraud.

  2. I got tickets for a game in about a month but it may be the last time. I bought my tickets in February without thinking about the renovations.

  3. Where can we go to petition that a ballpark be stripped from the National Register of Historic Places?

  4. http://www.nps.gov/nr/regulations.htm#6015

    Wrigley isn’t on the Register yet, though. Ricketts is still in the application process.

  5. As many people as possible need to e-mail and say that Wrigley’s request should be denied. Ricketts can have his renovation, but let it be just like Soldier Field. You change the look of the park, you live with the decision.

  6. But what would that accomplish? It would just make it easier to demolish in the future.

  7. Doesn’t look off from some other renders that are out there:

  8. Do you know when that behind-the-plate view was released, facw? I see the SB Nation story it appeared in was from February, but it looks like a chunk of it appeared on the Cubs’ site in December as well.

  9. “big and obtrusive”, okay, but I’m not seeing the “hanky panky”. The ratio of the height of the board to that of the outfield wall below it is pretty much the same in both images (as would be expected with the camera at approximately the same height). And the distances from the side of the board to other pieces of the stadium look about right, once you allow for that change in perspective.

    Moving the POV from beyond first base to a little left of home plate is going to make a –big– difference in the perceived relative sizes of the two boards.

  10. Tomzak, I see your point. But it won’t happen. Wrigley won’t be demolished in our lifetime. But it can be wrecked, just like it was this offseason. Regardless of what you think about Keith Olbermann, he just decimated Ricketts on his show today for ruining Wrigley. They stripped Soldier of historic status, they can strip Wrigley.

  11. I think all the muted green on the video board in the renders helped minimize how alien it is to the rest of the aesthetic. It’ll be interesting to see if they actually stick to that

  12. Keep Wrigley off of the National Register of Historic Places because of a video board? Ridiculous, lets burn down Fenway because they used to cover the green monster in alcohol, tobacco, and razor blade ads.

  13. R, that’s a good point about the green. And even if they do display green-backdropped ads and images, there’s going to be a big difference between emitted LED light and reflected light from a static board.

    My initial headline for this was “Man, that is one big, ugly Wrigley video board” before I noticed the seeming discrepancy with the early rendering (which I agree is largely perspective, but I’m not sure it’s entirely so), and maybe I should have stuck with that. The main point here is that the Cubs were saying that the new board wouldn’t be obtrusive, and it looked like it would be, and now we’re seeing it for real it *really* looks like it will be. Maybe they can drape an Ernie Banks memorial tarp over it.

  14. Everyone criticizing the Wrigley renovations is a hypocrite. Fenway was heavily remodeled, a video board (and before that an older electronic scoreboard) was added, and tons of advertising placed on the building and pretty much nobody complains about that. People will get used to it and stop complaining relatively soon, especially considering the fact that the overall renovations are going to make the condition of Wrigley significantly better.

  15. The actual renovations aren’t the complaint. Everyone realizes the ballpark needed new amenities like concessions (which are now made off site and trucked in), toilets, and redone concrete and foundations. You’re trying to restore the turn of the century feel of Wrigley and THEN add a video board that’s jarringly out of place. Soldier Field was removed from the historic registry because the changes made the stadium look too modern and overwhelmed the historic feel.

    Fenway, in person, is a much bigger and taller park than Wrigley is. The video board is not as obtrusive because it’s high in the air, largely out of the sightlines of most people. As far as the advertising goes, I don’t mind the ads. And yes, when they were all over the Green Monster, the park wasn’t as old as it is now.

    Neil’s initial point was that the board was too big. It is. It’s bigger than the center field board and throws the sightlines out of whack. If they had placed it on one of the rooftops, OR if they had made it smaller and placed it closer to the center-field scoreboard, it would have been a bit more acceptable.

    I think a good solution for this is to do one special game per year (Old Timers Day, perhaps?) where the board is turned off, the music is played on organ and there is a “turn back the clock” theme. Might be a way to lure the disgruntled fans who don’t like the changes.

  16. Also, Fenway’s charms are different: the wall, the single deck, the weird angles. Aside from being one of the only two early-20th-century stadiums that’s survived, Wrigley isn’t all that special as a structure — the upper deck is set back too far, and aside from the catwalks the main seating bowl isn’t overly impressive. What makes it special is the ivy, and the view of the bleachers and the rooftops beyond, and the fact that you’re there to watch the game, not the video boards. The ivy and the bleachers will be back, eventually, but I think a lot of the charm has been ruined, same as it would have be if Fenway tore down the monster and replaced it with glassed-in suites or something.

    (Oh, crap, I hope I didn’t give anyone ideas.)

  17. Neil, yeah, I agree, even if they kept to the green aesthetic, it’s still going to be obstrusive as hell. The renders definitely cheat on that and make it look kind of like a much smaller video board framed by static green ads, which would have been nicer. They’re probably not even going to try faking the green and it’s going to be as obnoxious as we all feared.

  18. “Everyone criticizing the Wrigley renovations is a hypocrite”
    Maybe some of us don’t like videoboards or loud noise at ballgames. I much prefer a game without it.