When I was a child my grandparents would babysit me over the summers at the old family home that belonged to the Martinez clan for 30 years. Memories were cultivated in and around that house; first wiffle ball homerun, first bike ride etc etc. One of the fonder memories centers around WGN, baseball, and my grandfather.
We are a White Sox family. When my grandfather emigrated here from Mexico to find work in the United States he settled in, with his young family, on Chicago’s lower west side. My grandfather played baseball in Mexico when he was there and raised his sons as White Sox fans as Comiskey I was a short drive away from Little Village.
During the 80s the White Sox decided to experiment with Cable TV and it completely turned my grandfather off. He was a bit of a socialist and believed that sports should be available to everyone. He turned to the one completely free source of baseball Chicago still offered
He turned to WGN and the Chicago Cubs.
So in my youth I was raised as a White Sox fan by my uncles, and I watched the Cubs with my grandfather in his hot bedroom during those brutal Chicago summers (there was no AC in his room).
I bring this up because the Cubs are rumored to be leaving WGN. I’m not unique in my story by any means but I tell it to illustrate the next point.
While I understand, deeply, how troublesome the Cubs potential move away from WGN can be for fans I also fully understand the business end of the whole deal. Baseball as a game can still adhere to the idealogical principles we assign to it. Baseball as a business is a completely different model. Teams across the league are rolling in the cable money, most notably the Dodgers who were filing for bankruptcy just a few years ago.
It’s not ideal, but acquiring the best possible deal for broadcasting games is a must for the Cubs. It won’t do for ownership to hang onto nostalgia at the cost of potential earned income. Memories are for the fans. My grandfather would be upset if he were alive to see this happen today but I still have the memory of us watching the Cubs together on WGN.
A new TV deal won’t take that away from me.