By Ryan Smith
1:07 PM CDT, April 15, 2013
It's the kind of story you might see on a "Real Housewives" reality show.
Rich Guy isn't satisfied with his wife anymore. She's aging naturally and the wrinkles are setting in. Sure, she's popular and most people love her just the way she is, warts and all, but Rich Guy sees other rich guys with young, smoking hot trophy wives. Thinking he can do better, Rich Guy tries to alter her looks with his money. Buys her Botox. Breast implants. A tummy tuck. But afterward, everyone realizes she's lost part of the quirky character that made her special.
It's the same thing I worry will inevitably happen with Rich Guy Tom Ricketts and the extreme makeover planned for his elderly bride—the Cubs.
The Cubs just announced a $500 million deal with the city that means a drastic face-lift for Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. The plan calls for a Jumbotron in left field. Also in the works: an outdoor plaza, a new parking garage and an office building and 175-room hotel across the street.
In other words, our once-charming neighborhood dive will mimic the kind of contrived, cookie-cutter ballpark you'll see just about anywhere else in America—a pricey, Cubs-themed amusement park. The Wrigleyville neighborhood, meanwhile, will continue evolving into a beer-soaked suburb within the city.
Why? The Cubs' billionaire bosses say they need more revenue, despite the fact that Forbes just called the Cubs the most profitable franchise in the league with $32 million in operating income last year.
So instead of gently preserving a historic landmark, they want to transform its character. Not because it's necessary but because, well, I'm not sure. Maybe Ricketts is just jealous of all the shiny new ballparks that have popped up over the past decade and wants the next best thing.
Our beloved Wrigley may never be the same, but I guess we should think about the bright side—now we'll get that Kiss Cam we've been dreaming of.
Ryan Smith is a RedEye special contributor.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page.
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