I just came back from Chicago, I went with a few family members. We all went up there to see a game at the historic Wrigley Field. Every baseball fan knows several stories about Wrigley Field, even if they’ve never been; like the Steve Bartman story, the Billy Goat story, and everything in-between. Everyone also knows of things like the Ivy on the outfield wall, the old-as-dirt, operated-by-man scoreboard, all the flags, including the rare “W” flag, and the Cubs’ theme song that is played nonstop after a Cubs win.
Wrigley Field is a breath-taking place to visit, no doubt about that, but if I was a player, I would never want to call Wrigley my home park.
Think about Great American Ballpark, it was built in the early 2000′s, a lot has changed in the world since then, and the Reds have done a great job updating several things, like the huge, high definition scoreboard in left field, seating arrangements, and much more. If you ever go to GABP and watch batting practice, or the players warming up for the game, music is playing. Music you actually hear on the radio, rap music, pop music, things like that; and you’ll see the players “dancing”, moving along with the music, or at least nodding their heads, they’re acknowledging the music.
At Wrigley Field, they play music during BP and warm-ups, but not good music, it’s organ music. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to get pumped up by listening to organ music, but it doesn’t work. Watching the players, they don’t look pumped for the game at all, it’s pretty much like they’re just practicing in a backyard before the game, the music does nothing for them.
When a Reds’ player goes to up to bat, you hear walk-up music. When Todd Frazier goes up, you hear the Frank Sinatra, with Joey Votto, you hear “Paint It Black”, and with Brandon Phillips you hear a wide verity of songs. They pick the songs themselves, so they get in the appropriate mood to hit, it pumps them up.
On the North Side of Chicago, if there is walk-up music, it’s the boring organ music again. Sometimes they won’t even have walk-up music for the players, which seems stupid, but it’s true. Once again, organ music can’t pump you up.
Music has a huge impact on your attitude, we all know that, and I honestly think it plays a part in the Cubs lack of success. I may sound like an idiot right now, that’s fine, but that’s my opinion.
Now music isn’t the only factor, it’s also the stadium, and the image of the stadium. GABP is meant for baseball, and baseball only; Wrigley is more of a party with baseball going on in the background. I had pretty good seats for the game, but except for one lady, no one around me was even paying attention to the game, or talking about the game. There was a group of four college-aged guys there, they talked about everything under the sun, besides baseball, they even left after the 4th inning because they were bored. Even though Wrigley Field is almost always packed, as a player, you would have to know that a good percentage of the fans there aren’t paying attention to the game. At GABP, if there are only 16,000 people there, you know pretty much everyone there is paying attention to the game.
Those two things are big factors I’m sure, but the biggest factor is simply just the team. The Cubs rely on three guys pretty much; Rizzo, who has a very bright future, Soriano, who has been in a four-year slump, and Starlin Castro, who is young, but is very inconsistent on both offense, and defense. The Reds, on the other hand, have more of a team. There is not one man who is relied on. The Reds have a different guy leading in average, home runs, and RBI’s. Votto leads in average, Choo, unexpectedly, leads in home runs, and Brandon Phillips leads in RBI’s.
Put those three things together, and it’s easy to see why the Reds are so good, and why the Cubs are not.