Baseball fans know that Wrigley Field is the second-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball, but putting that superlative into context emphasizes just how long the Chicago Cubs have been chasing down fly balls in front of brick walls covered in ivy: Wrigley is older than the Golden Gate Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial, the Chrysler Building and the Hoover Dam.
"We tend to forget in a young republic such as ours, a 100-year-old structure is pretty old," political columnist George Will told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV. Will grew up in Chicago and his new book, "A Nice Little Place on the North Side,"
details the life of the iconic stadium that turns 100 years old next month.
"More than 104 million people have paid to go through the Wrigley Field turn stalls and there were only 99 million people in America when it was built in 1914. So it's been around a long time," Will said.
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There have been plenty of lean years in that century of baseball. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908 and last played in it in 1945 — a dubious achievement since so many of the sport's greatest players were serving in World War II.
Will told Malzberg that the iconic stadium, slated for a $500 million renovation, needs upgrades to stay attractive to fans and to put its players in the best position to win.
"Beyond simple maintenance, they're trying to make the club more appropriate for the modern athlete. It needs batting cages he can use during the game, he [needs] video he can consult during the game," Will said.
Will has built his reputation on political analysis, but he is also known for his love and knowledge of baseball, and he discussed the unique hold that sports has on the American psyche.
"We've become attached to the team, the logo, the team colors, the radio broadcaster," he said. "These are little temporary triumphs that form around sports teams that reduce some of the anonymity and atomization of life in our cities."
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