But to fill a stadium you need more than that. You need to build and nurture a place that’s an actual place. A place that celebrates not just a team but a city — and a city’s refusal to plow the past under. Wrigley is the ultimate neighborhood stadium, the ultimate urban stadium, the ultimate statement that some semblance of tradition is more important than the money you could make with a hundred new skyboxes in some spectacularly soulless new stadium (sorry, White Sox). If the place is an actual place, little else matters. Owners should take note of the strange, almost inverted model of capitalism at play here. By not building a new stadium, the Cubs have filled the seats for 100 years. By not relocating it 50 miles outside Chicago, the Cubs have inspired fierce loyalty in its fans and the city. And by allowing the neighborhood to help shape it, and even profit from it, everybody wins.
Even if the Cubs never do.
Wrigley is Wrigley, and Nothing Else Is by Dave Eggers (over at Grantland)
I know I should be saying something negative about Grantland but hold on a second, inverted capitalism?
TOJ: So given the importance of what is news, do you understand our national obsession with sports in a similar light, as a commodity meant to distract us from the deeper injustices that plague our lives, similar I suppose to imperial Rome (gladiators, coliseum, et cetera)?
EM: Yes, but sports also retain some potential as a source of criticism of commodity culture. On the one hand, sports sell both capitalism and nationalism: during a typical football broadcast, for instance, you’ll get a standard ideological package of beer, food, cars, sexual titillation, and some patriotism thrown in. (“Are you ready for some U.S.A.?”) But because even professionalized, commodified sports still insist both on achievement within rules and on standards of excellence that have nothing to do with money, they represent an oasis of sorts within the culture of avarice. [source]
This is why I hope that Dodgers Stadium remains as is, some of us yearn for those semblance of traditions (although I’ll admit that the Staples Center VIP is fantastic.) Neo-sports-stadium-luddism for the win…