Thursday, February 09, 2006

Corporate Doublespeak

One of the things that I really liked about the bleacher expansion at Wrigley Field was the idea of the knothole. I don't know why, but I really found this to be a great idea. I have been to the ballpark in San Fran and enjoyed watching an inning from their knothole.

Looks like 1060west's ole friend Mark McGuire and the Cubs have backed off of a promise to give something back to the neighborhood. The "knothole" that is being put in during the bleacher expansion will not be open to the public as planned. This from Today's Trib:

Knothole view: The new section in the right-field wall replaced a solid metal gate and originally was supposed to offer fans outside the park a free ground-level view from behind a chain-link fence on Sheffield. Local restoration
architect John Vinci, a consultant on the project, said in December the idea was to "give something back to the people." But McGuire said Wednesday "the person
on the sidewalk who hasn't bought a ticket isn't entitled"
to a free look at the game.

"The feature is really intended to be a plus for a commuter as he or she walks from their homes to the L," McGuire said. "They will be able to walk by any time, any day, and look into the ballpark."

Except when a game is being played.

McGuire said the team is considering installing a wind screen over the knothole fence on game days. Fans inside the bleachers, walking through the area on their way to concessions, will be able to view the action through a chain-link fence, much like the Bullpen Sports Bar at U.S. Cellular Field. does a great job of documenting the artciles that have ran on this project. Take a look at this Paul Sullivan article from December 12, 2005. Here's part of what Mr. Sullivan wrote in December:

Not only are the Cubs trying to accommodate their neighbors, they have removed a metal gate from the wall and are leaving an open space in the right-field corner that offers passersby on Sheffield Avenue a free, ground-level view of the action.

The Cubs are calling it a "knothole," conjuring up a Rockwellian image of an old wooden outfield fence where youngsters peered through a hole in the wall.

Actually, it's a rectangular space about 20 feet long where a couple of dozen people can gather to watch the game behind a wire-mesh fence. The San Francisco Giants offer a similar view of games at SBC Park from a vantage point behind the
right-field grandstand.

The idea of watching the Cubs for free, even if limited to a partial view of the field, is likely to appeal to a large number of fans.

I think boys and girls you see the Tribune and their corporate culture in full light here. Promise the fans and the neighborhood one thing and do another. The knothole was simply a gesture to neighbors and fans outside the park who can't get a ticket. As I mentioned earlier I have watched an inning from the knothole out in San Francisco. It's a poor view, but a nice gesture to fans outside the park. They have an usher who keeps watch of the line and they limit the amount of time you can spend there. Somehow the system works.

Nice gesture, what the hell was I thinking.

BTW: Interestingley enough if you go to Alderman Tunney's site to see the plans here's what you get. Typical.

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