Monday, August 07, 2006

go ahead -- do the wave

this writer was interested and just a bit encouraged to see that the wave had broken out in wrigley field over the weekend as rich hill continued to capitalize on his chance.

The wave unofficially has been banned at Wrigley since 1984, when San Diego fans performed it almost non-stop at Jack Murphy Stadium during the Padres' comeback against the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.

But two decades later, with the Cubs out of contention in the dog days of August and fans unloading their tickets to friends, relatives and scalpers, the wave has returned.

Whether it was a cameo appearance or the start of a new tradition remains to be seen.

how wretched can this year become? clearly, the entertained-idiot-to-knowledgable-fan ratio has spiked beyond critical mass as the cubs have become a club beneath the efforts of those who appreciate quality baseball more than sunny days, lincoln park trixies and six-dollar bud lights. those who know something about jim hendry's state of mind -- and too much about jacque jones' baserunning -- have clearly decided to stay away in significant numbers, a fact equally attested to by the decline in open market prices for tickets among the scalpers. bleachers for this next week's saturday tilt against saint louis are readily available at stubhub for $80 and less -- and for the following week with the giants, under $60. these are momentous changes in the market from earlier this year, and indicate that serious fandom has abandoned this club in large measure.

and this page could not be more pleased. this page has sometimes been misconstrued as to advocate some sort of organized economic warfare against the cubs -- the formation of a people's army, as it were. indeed, little has been said to discourage any form of protest against the travesty that is this cub team, its derelict management and its perverse ownership. but the idea of organized warfare has always seemed a bit absurd to this writer -- who in this age of nietzschean social decline can see fit to join a worthy cause that demands effort and subordination, much less one of such questionable moral utility as to work for the betterment of a baseball club?

what has always been the far more likely spur of economically-motivated change -- that is, the only kind anyone in the cub organization or the tribune company can readily understand -- was a disorganized walkout by knowledgable, disaffected and disgusted fans, particularly season-ticket holders.

it can hardly now be contested that a significant portion of these crucial fans, which make up the basis of financial security for any professional sporting franchise, have quit attending. their tickets are flooding the secondary market, driving down prices, and those who are now in their seats -- a goodly number of which are unfilled, as can be seen now on any home telecast -- have so little education in the ethics and traditions of cub baseball as to confusedly behave as though they're at a college football game.

this disgusted disinterest is but a first step. a second step will be another round of ticket price increases for 2007, as the tribune company seeks to close the gap between their sale price and the secondary market indications of what the free-floating price is. this reduction in the basic economic incentive behind holding cubs season tickets (that is, a guaranteed aftermarket profit which makes the capital and effort invested worthwhile) in combination with the first may finally help to trigger a third stage: season ticket sales declines. and this page would argue that such declines would quite likely awaken the slothful leviathan of corporate hierarchy to the trouble that has been brewing in this minor division of their empire for some time now.

so go ahead, baneful morons of the wrigleyville party scene -- wave it up. this writer can't help but laugh, for your demonstrations seem here to amount to a harbinger of change afoot. and it seems here that there's little about the cubs that would not benefit from a very thoroughgoing bout of change.

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