Last Wednesday night, Matt and I went up to Wrigley Field to catch a minor-league game between the Peoria Chiefs and the Kane County Cougars…all for the low low price of $26 total (!). I was struck by the relative quiet in comparison to our Miller Park experience of a few weeks ago. Wrigley is the second-oldest major league ballpark (behind Fenway), built in 1914. It’s obviously been modernized some since then, but many of the bells and whistles that we’ve come to associate with ballparks are conspicuously absent–notably, large advertisements and a fancy scoreboard.
As opposed to Miller Park, which has a large light-up scoreboard and several somewhat-smaller, multicolor scoreboards and an up-to-date soundsystem, all of which work in tandem to produce the effects I discussed earlier, Wrigley has an old-school, manually manipulated scoreboard and just a few light-up strips. I would also assume that their soundsystem is much smaller. The standard baseball organ was present, as well as each player’s entrance song, but the constant music, sounds and exhortations for the crowd to cheer were gone. Instead, the mascots’ antics and the baseball being played provided the impetus for crowd noise.
I’m sure that the Miller Park model is more enjoyable for many people, but I really appreciated the relative calm of Wrigley–I felt like I could experience the game, and decide how to interact with it, at my own pace and not at the urging of whoever’s running the soundsystem.