No, not the Cubs lineup that will take the field. I'm talking about the hideous photo banners that the Cubs hang around the landmark red marquee above the front gate at the beginning of every season. Here's how they looked last year ...
Lots of recognizable, popular names like Wood, Soto, Johnson, Dempster, Soriano, and Byrd; and exciting newcomers such as Castro, Barney, Maholm, Garza, and Sveum. But the Cubs were so unsure that fans would know some of the banner honorees that they put their names in the photos. They didn't feel the need in 2011 ...
Or in 2010, the first "banner" year, when they only found seven worthy players, plus "Sweet Lou" ...
(By the way, the production values went way down last season. The banners looked flat in terms of color and contrast compared to the two previous years.)
Who will get the nod this year? Returning rising stars Castro, Barney, and probably Rizzo; and veteran Soriano; and the manager will no doubt come back to the banner lineup. But who else? They need to pick 7 more players! I'm gonna guess that injuries may keep Garza out of the rotation at the beginning of the season, but not off the facade. So that leaves 6 to pick. Maybe Marmol, but don't they want to deal him? Don't they want to deal Garza, now that we mention it? How much enthusiasm can you generate for players that many fans know the Cubs are looking to dump? It's a problem, especially since fans don't seem to know or recognize many of the players to begin with, as we noted about pitchers and catchers in our first ChicagoNow blog.
Who would you put on the banners? Let us know by commenting below. We'll take a survey and maybe help the Cubs decide!
My vote? Forget the banners entirely. Perhaps my use of the word "hideous" in the second sentence of this blog was a clue that I don't like them. When the 2010 banners went up I wrote this blog about them, comparing Wrigley Field to my refrigerator.
But others may enjoy the banners and find them a suitably festive decorative element appropriate for celebrating the beginning of a new year. Since 2013 will be the 100th season of professional baseball at the beloved ballpark located at Addison and Clark (not always known as Wrigley Field, and home to the Cubs for only 98 of those seasons), maybe they should feature historic Cubs, like Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance, Mordecai Peter Centennial Miner Three-finger Brown, Fred Merkle (YES! Merkle not only failed to touch 2nd base in 1908 while on the Giants, making it possible for the Cubs to play in and win their last World Series ever, but played on the Cubs themselves, and at Wrigley Field, from 1917 through 1920), and others. They could print them in a sepia tone to evoke the spirit of victorious Cub teams of yesteryear.
Or favorite Cubs from the more recent past: Banks, Santo, Williams, Jenkins, Maddux, Sandberg etc.
How about broadcasters? Jack Brickhouse, Vince Lloyd, Harry Caray, Steve Stone, Len Kasper, Bob Brenly (oops -- I mean Jim Deshaies), Pat Hughes, and RON SANTO! But not Chip Caray or Thom Brennaman!
Let us know what you think. Enter your banner candidates in the comments section below! You can vote for any of my suggestions above, or submit new ones of your own. Thanks!
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Now go ahead and let us know whom you'd like to see up against the wall ... I mean on the facade. Thanks!