Rick Morrissey Throws Up On Keyboard; Calls Wrigley Field A Dump... Again

Rick Morrissey calls Wrigley Field a "dump" ten times in one article. I deconstruct this column FJM-style. Everybody wins.

On the day my alter-ego's, Dubs, nemesis, David Haugh, took the time to write an interesting, entertaining and informative article -- for the most part -- and not his typical drab and irrational column, Rick Morrissey did his Rick Morrissey thing, throwing up, farting and possibly sharting on his keyboard, proclaiming ever so bravely -- after baseball legend Peter Gammons did the week prior -- that Wrigley field is a "dump". 10 times, no less.

SBN Chicago's own Ricky O'Donnell explained, not too long ago, when discussing a Rick Telander column, -- actually arguing the rims need to be raised to eliminate dunks in NBA basketball in the most white column ever written -- that Fire Joe Morgan-ing (or FJM-ing) any column is almost sacrilege. Then our own Bobby Loesch did it with a Dave Eggers story -- coincidently on Wrigley as well -- reinvigorating my passion for a bit of column destruction.

So, Rick, let the fun begin:

It’s time for fans to recognize that Wrigley Field really IS a dump

Why?

It was an interesting word choice. A "dump" is what MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons called Wrigley Field last week.

I love Gammons, but, "Yeah, well, you know, uh, that's like your opinion, man." One guy's opinion. Here's another guy's opinion. (In shorts, Paul Sullivan tells Morrissey to "Suck it.")

The description seemed vaguely familiar. Maybe it seemed vaguely familiar because of the scorch marks I still have from using that very word to describe the ballpark:

"Wrigley Field is a dump. It’s a dump with great views, lots of liquid refreshment and sporadic professional baseball, but it’s still a dump.

This was how I started a column on July 23, 2004, seven years and one newspaper ago:

Oh! Because *you* said it once, like seven years ago, that's why we need to recognize this? Cool. Got it. I also like the "scorch marks" thing, like he was physically hurt and not just, you know, in the minority.

Those words were written after chunks of concrete had fallen from underneath the upper deck and mezzanine levels at the park, but as I pointed out, it was a dump well before that. And even after the Cubs put up netting to keep the concrete in place, making it look like the rigging of a pirate ship, it was still a dump.

"Dump" count: Seven

The reaction resembled a flamethrower. Wrigley was a shrine, Wrigley was a cathedral and Morrissey was a jerk.

I don't know if the first part is true. But that jerk thing sounds fair. Side note: something tells me there will be an Ozzie quote at some point. There has to be, right?

All of that might have been true.

If you say so.

But none of it could change the fact that Wrigley was a cathedral masquerading as a dump. There were narrow concourses, rust and odors that hinted of things better left unconsidered.

Seven years later, not much has changed. The netting is still there. It’s a cleaner ballpark than it was in 2004. The bathrooms are nicer than they used to be, or, in the case of the men’s room, as nice as troughs can be.

So the new owner is trying to clean it up a bit, make it more presentable, nicer. That's probably a good thing. He should be commended on that, right?

But there’s still rust, the concourses still resemble dark alleys and people still have to elbow their way to their seats.

Nope. Still a dump.

A few coats of paint can’t change any of that.

Okay. Whatever. Morrissey thinks Wrigley is a dump or something. That's fine. He, like Gammons, is entitled to his opinions. As I am and you alike. For example, in my opinion, I find Morrissey to be a fairly talentless writer with boring opinions that he does not develop into coherent thoughts or arguments. He kind of just sharts on the keyboard, hoping for the best. "Shart" or "Sharting" count: Two

This is where things get weird and presumptious.

Fans are catching on

Oh, there’s at least one big change: Public opinion seems to be shifting. More people appear to be coming around to the idea that Wrigley is a crumbling mausoleum where baseball dreams go to die. Go online to some of the message boards about the Cubs, and you’ll see a healthy discussion about the 97-year-old ballpark. There’s as much talk about uncomfortable seats and tight quarters as there is about fond memories.

Do you have a link to such a discussion? Or maybe a poll of Cubs fans expressing what they want to do with Wrigley? How about a quote from one random guy off the street, like with Gammons?

I would love to see any of those. Public forums are great places to hear many sides to an argument -- rational or other -- and I would love to see such a debate. A poll is simple, easy. I wouldn't mind that either. One quote? Random dude off the street? Jay Leno does it all the time. He calls it "Jay Walking". No, you don't? I should take your word for it? I will take your word for it.

Season after season of disappointment have opened fans’ eyes to the emperor’s buck nakedness. No one can be sure exactly when the epiphany arrived, but it might have started in 2003, when the Cubs were five outs away from going to the World Series and — stop me if you’ve heard this — fell apart.

No. I am going to stop you because you're wrong.

Wrigley Field Attendance and Cubs Record:

2003: 2,962,630 -- 88-74

2004: 3,170,184 -- 89-73

2005: 3,099,992 -- 79-83

2006: 3,123,215 -- 66-96

2007: 3,252,462 -- 85-77

2008: 3,300,200 -- 97-64

2009: 3,168,859 -- 83-78

2010: 3,062,973 -- 75-87

Attendance *rose* after 2003 and continued to stay over 3MM well into crappy seasons like 2005, 2006 and 2010. More people wanted to see the Cubs despite the pain and misery of 2003. Many Cubs haters have argued for years that this is because of Wrigley Field. Its uniqueness, quaintness, historical-ness, beautiful-ness, blah blah blah-ness. You know the story. Morrissey does not, apparently. (Where's my damn Ozzie quote?)

Anger began replacing cheery acceptance. Fans started slathering themselves in high expectations rather than suntan lotion. And what had been considered a graceful building began to be viewed more soberly, despite the heavy intake of booze.

Again, no. The building stayed the same. The fans want the *team* to play better. I think Morrissey believes an inanimate object plays left field -- I guess one does, sort of. And that fills my shitty, Morrissey-like joke of the day quota.

Attendance is down this year because A) the Cubs suck ass. And B) the weather was really shitty. Cubs fans are finally showing their displeasure of the team on the field, not the building they play in. It's actually kind of refreshing. Did I mention the weather was really shitty?

PS Morrissey would like to let you know that you're all alcoholics.

The best thing about Wrigley is the ivy on the outfield walls and the hand-operated scoreboard towering over center field. You can have the rest of it. It’s a great park when you’re looking at the field from your seat. It’s not so great on the way to and from your seat.

Wait. Wait. Wait. So *it is* a great ballpark. But only when you are watching the game. Isn't that kind of the idea? I am confused. Great place to *watch* a game, but not take a piss. I think that is his argument.

Gammons turns on spotlight

That (sic) Gammons is saying it now has grabbed the attention of a lot of people, including White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who has taken great pleasure over the years in ripping the park’s small clubhouses and tweaking Cubs fans while he was at it.

OMG, you guys! Ozzie's totally going to be quoted! Also, did Morrissey just say the Gammons quote grabbed Ozzie's attention on the subject, despite the fact he's been publicly mocking Wrigley Field for a decade now? That's like saying, "I have been going to the gym everyday for five years, but when I saw a Tony Little Gazelle infomercial, I decided to keep on going."

Gammons wasn’t necessarily speaking for Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, but what he said is something any reasonable owner would be thinking. Publicly, a reasonable owner would say Wrigley is a charming ballpark in need of loving renovations. Privately, you might hear a reasonable owner utter the word "dump" now and then.

That's a bit presumptions, isn't it? Ricketts met his wife in the bleachers. He's been a lifelong Cubs fan. I am pretty sure he isn't referring to his largest asset as a "dump" privately or otherwise. Like most Cubs fans, Wrigley probably holds a special place in Ricketts' heart -- if I'm allowed to be just as presumptuous.

"Obviously, we love Wrigley Field,’’ general manager Jim Hendry said Monday before the Cubs faced the Brewers. "Nobody wants the field to be any different, or the ambiance of the great atmosphere here.

"But I don’t think it’s any secret the plans that Tom and his family have to enlighten the facilities and make it better for fans, but also make it better for the players and more productive for the players. I think that’s going to be taken care of the next few years.’’

This is all true. The Triangle Building will happen. I have seen the model for it. It is very cool. There will be offices and shops and parking and, like, a ton of other crap. The park will be renovated a bit, but the charm should still remain. The next few years should be an exciting time to watch Wrigley transform into a hybrid-old park feel with new amenities.

The Ricketts family didn’t get many favors from the previous owners, who put about as much effort into keeping up Wrigley as they did into keeping up Stonehenge. There is plenty of work to be done and revenue streams to be explored.

Stonehenge is a very weird historical monument to pick, considering it is believed to have been made in 2500 BC by ways scientist still cannot figure out today and is in pretty much the same shape it was in when conceived. Sounds like a very awesome monument to structure a building after. 

But that’s all secondary now.

First, did you just write like 1000 words on how we need to make a big deal out of Wrigley being a "dump" and then just tell us that the topic is not that important? Awesome. Second, no Ozzie quote? You totally mentioned him and then gave him no voice. That is BS, Rick Morrissey. I want my Ozzie quote. It is also in poor taste to say someone is all riled up by a quote from someone else then never give a responding quote from the person you are claiming is all riled up. Show your work, Mr. Morrissey.

The Cubs have bigger problems on the field, though Hendry said Monday he sees a bright future for the team. People aren’t buying it. The attendance has been shrinking, a stunning development at a place used to sellouts. The team’s fan base has become much more demanding. No matter how uncomfortable the seats at Wrigley might be, the lack of a winning product is a bigger burr in fans’ saddle.

So now your argument is mute. It's the play not the stadium. You just wasted so many valuable words to say the opposite of what your column was intended to be. I hate you, Rick Morrissey. I really do. (Well, not really. We've never met.)

Wrigley Field is a dump. The baseball played on it is an eyesore. The latter is the real shame.

So write about that.

("Dump" count: Ten -- like I promised.)

Twitter @ZWMartin

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