Today, the Chicago Cubs are making more news off the field than they are on. In doing so, they could very well be upsetting a percentage of their fan base that lives off of the tradition of the team they have grown up loving. Some fans may be in favor of this proposed change, while others will deem this as yet another betrayal of the Ricketts family. The breaking news came from Cubs Director of in game programing Jim Oboikowitch, who let fans know about changes which would be centered around a long lasting tradition of Cubs games, the 7th inning stretch, as well as other minor aspects of the in game experience.
No longer will the Cubs be inviting random celebrities year round into the broadcasting booth to sing the stretch and to do an interview to promote whatever product or movie they are currently involved with. Instead, Oboikowitch has promised the organization will be focusing on former Cub players, Chicago natives and Cub fans. In other words, people who actually know and care about baseball, the Cubs and their history.
Oboikowitch says that they will still have some of the “A-Listers” from time to time, but will make sure that they know why they have been invited, and that their top priority will not be to pimp their latest venture. In fact, he says that not everyone that is invited to sing the 7th inning stretch will be invited into the booth. That is great news to me, as I have always felt the in game interview has always taken away from the game; especially on the radio. I hate when the guest in the booth talks over the announcers and keeps them from calling a play.
Granted, we will still have to suffer through tone deaf singers who butcher the song, but at least the Cub fans will know that the person coming in to sing most of the time will be someone who loves the team as much as they do. If I had my way, I would do away with the guest conductors all together, and just play a recording of Harry Caray singing the stretch, but I will take what I can get.
The other change Oboikowitch mentioned was about updating the recorded music that is played before games. He says they would like to bring the team and the music played at Wrigley into the new millennium, instead of the 80s where they have been stuck for a few decades. That likely spells an end to Van Halen’s song “Jump” and hopefully the Village People’s “YMCA”. Oboikowitch says he wants the music that is played to say Chicago, and also songs that will get the crowd pumped up.
If you are worried about the fate of Gary Pressy, Oboikowitch assures the fans that he is not going anywhere. Organ music and the Cubs will still go hand in hand. So there will still be that tradition living on at Wrigley Field.
The times are changing, and some traditions will be left in the past as the organization tries to grow into a professional organization. Some fans may want to hold on to the tradition that made them fall in love with the team, but no traditions last forever. Hopefully, this is not the last tradition that changes. One more tradition must change very soon; the tradition of losing year after year.