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Some building questions


Some building questions
Most of the first two days of the 2009 Cubs Convention were devoted to dissecting the painful past and looking ahead to the potential of a better ending next October.

But Sunday morning's seminar with Cubs management dealt mainly with the ballpark experience, in particular what the organization can do to improve its relationship with customers.

If the conversation with management were any indication, Cubs fans want functioning TV monitors to watch replays from the grandstands, wider seats in the bleachers for the playoffs, more recycling containers and fewer vendors blocking their views. What they don't want is more ad signage cluttering the field, a Jumbotron, seat licenses or the retirement of Sammy Sosa's number.

Here's how Cubs brass responded to some of the topics:

Seat licenses. On the final day of the last convention of the Tribune Co. era, the idea of selling seat licenses at Wrigley Field was termed a "possibility."

Asked about handing down season tickets to relatives, Frank Maloney, the director of ticket operations, said the "fundamental rule is you can't reassign tickets, but if it's in your immediate family, we certainly will do that."

Mark McGuire, the executive vice president of business operations, followed by saying: "This is the positive to a controversial thing called seat licenses. If a seat-license situation ever came up, it sort of makes a legal right to whoever holds the license to do what they want with the tickets. We don't have that. Consequently, we're left in some sort of a fine area. Sometimes we joke there's a percentage of the season ticket-holder group that's deceased."

Asked directly about seat licenses, McGuire said the new owner would "look at all opportunities to figure out what they've got to do to renovate Wrigley Field to make it the way they'd like it, and that would be one of the things that's a possibility."

Video age. The TV monitors for fans with bad views of the field seem to be from the 1960s, as one fan pointed out. McGuire said the Cubs hope to upgrade all the in-park TV monitors in the upper-deck and terrace-reserved seats. "We really have plans to do that, but frankly, one of the [problems] is that technology has changed, and with the flat screens we haven't been clear how they will react to the spring weather in Chicago," McGuire said.

As for Jumbtrons, fans booed after Matt Wszolek, director of sales, asked if they wanted one. Wszolek said no plans are in place.

Numbers game. McGuire said the Cubs would likely retire No. 31 this summer, honoring Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins and future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. One fan started the questioning by saying the Cubs should retire Sosa's No. 21 but was shouted down. "I don't think we'll be escalating our program in that regard," McGuire said.

Ramirez a no-show. Why does Aramis Ramirez boycott the convention every year? "I think the strategy every year is to plead with him to come," McGuire said, "and then every year find out he really has no interest in coming."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 19, 2009

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