Monday, March 8, 2010

The Cubs Best Outfielder Is Ivy

I love this commercial. It features a lot of the things I loved most about my first trip to Wrigley. The things I loved back in 1981 when my idea of advanced baseball wisdom was the fact that Ivan DeJesus wasn't pronounced I-vuhn de-JEE-zus. The scoreboard changed by hand. The brilliant colors. The flags. The ivy. Harry Caray. He was real then, not a statue, and there were no light standards protruding from the Wrigley Field rooftop. But at that time, I had no idea who the players were. Honestly, at my first Cubs game, my familiarity with the game (and our seats) was so poor, I wasn't even sure where the infield was. It didn't matter. Just being there was enough to make the experience, the Wrigley Field experience, a religious conversion of sorts.

I hate this commercial. Like the other facets of the Chicago Cubs 2010 marketing campaign, not a single player makes an appearance. It's all ivy and blue skies and icons. It tells me I should love this team because of something bigger than any one person. It reminds me that the Chicago Cubs are all about feeling good and loving life and having fun. 2009 was a freak storm, an erroneous blip, a flaw in the baseball diamond. 2010 will be good again. It will be pure and Milton Bradley free. Pepin le Bref will be a messenger of joy. And the quality of the baseball being played in these hallowed halls need not factor into the equation.

Don't manipulate me, Chicago Cubs marketing staff. I'm a fan, and that's not changing. But don't try to tell me the baseball itself doesn't matter. That's the wrong message to send. Show me Cub homers. Show me Cardinal strikeouts. Show me prospects whose stars are still rising. More importantly, show me an owner willing to pay the price of winning a World Series. I've had your back this offseason, Tom Ricketts. I won't be so kind if you play this whole season on the cheap.

UPDATE: A million bonus points to Jodi for pointing out that the commercial is probably for WGN, not the Cubs specifically. What's more, the sale leveraged transfer of the team means those two entities are no longer under the same umbrella. My fault. Mea culpa. Mia Farrow. Let's not forget, baseball makes me stupid.


  1. I happen to like this commercial, regardless of ownership. It reminds me that it is spring, and that means fun at the 'ol ballpark. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  2. I do like it. And I also disagree with myself. I'm admittedly conflicted. The reason I didn't even consider this being an ad for WGN rather than an ad for the Cubs is because it follows in lockstep with the Cubs' marketing stuff I've already seen and heard, which has been players taking a backseat to the field and the experience.

    It's great to get reminders that there are things that make Wrigley Field special and that baseball is on its way. That's very exciting. But the sentimentality doesn't ring true if the team isn't taking steps forward. The thing is, I think they are taking steps forward. Not huge ones, but I wish the Cubs as an organization would make a statement along the lines of, "We know we have a great ballpark, but the reputation of this team and this ownership will live or die by the quality of the team we put on the field. We won't pretend that the ivy cushions the blow of losing because we know that behind the ivy is a brick wall that hurts like a mother.

  3. I like the vibes I get from the new ownership, and I think we'll see more changes as the year progresses. I don't need them to make a statement; I would rather they show that commitment through obtaining and retaining quality players.


Spill it.

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