Budweiser Rooftop Restored Outside Wrigley Field

Budweiser is back. For now.

After having tarped over the famous Budwesier rooftop billboard behind Wrigley Field's left field wall, crews were out removing the "putrid brown colored, tarp-like material" yesterday after the Cubs blowout loss to Jim Edmonds's team. The owner, Tom Gramatis, paid $8.35 million for the building in June.

Anheuser-Busch has had an ad up on the roof for "decades" with only a brief interlude by Sapporo, of all companies. A-B is supposed to be paying $347,287.50 this year for the rights to advertise on the roof. Per Gramatis, not only is this number well below market value for the ad space, but A-B failed to pay him on time. (I guess Belgian companies don't understand due dates?). After missing the latest quarterly payment, Gramatis had his lawyers send a 5 day notice to A-B demanding payment within that time. A-B failed to make payments and Gramatis attempted to terminate the lease agreement and publicly opened the space up to the highest bidder. Talk about a dickhead landlord.

It's pretty clear what's going on here, right? Gramatis drops a ton of cash on this building. Maybe he's not making as much scratch as he thought he would be. He thinks the lease with A-B is shitty, so he looks for any opportunity he can to try and weasel out of it. A-B makes one late payment and he tries to jump. Smelling an opportunity with bigtime TV exposure this year with the Cubs going into the playoffs and, hopefully deep into them, Gramatis gets itchy and severley underestimates A-B's own marketing team and their ability to analyze the worth of that billboard in the coming months. Guess what...A-B files for a temporary restraining order. A-B is a huge company with a shit ton of lawyers. Gramatis, like all of us, is only one man. A-B wins every time. It's called "justice."

The Judge Martin S. Agran granted A-B's request for the restraining order Friday afternoon, stating that not enough notice was given to A-B to terminate the lease. I agree with his assesment. But the judge, a Sox fan, couldn't resist taking a few shots:
"With any luck, I'll see the sign when the White Sox play the Cubs in the World Series," Agran said.

Before Agran made his ruling, he took a shot at Cubs fans -- questioning why they'd be looking at a billboard anyway. "You mean they're not watching the game?" he asked. "Isn't that what most Cub fans do, stare away?"
That's about the level of professionalism I'd expect from a Sox fan. No word on whether Judge Agran was wearing his robe on the bench or rocked it shirtless with tight black jeans, huge white sneaks, tats, and mullet.

I see where Gramatis is coming from here, I suppose. Gots to gets paid, right? Gotta get dat pape-uh. Things like that. But I'm also very into tradition. And this Budweiser rooftop is one of the landmarks of Wrigley Field. I understand that from a business perspective it doesn't make sense to renew the Budweiser lease after its expiration if he can get more money from another company. But don't try and weasel your way out from the under a legit lease like an asshole.

And if you're going to lease it to another company at the end of this lease term, how about throwing in some stipulations about the "look" the advertisement must take. Doing this would preserve the landmark building's "feel" and effect on the Wrigley Field atmosphere. Don't do shit like this: "People will say, 'Wow. It's Viagra,' or whatever it is," Gramatis said." Yeah...wow. C'mon dude.

But let's not let A-B off the hook here. A-B-you've got a highly noticeable unique advertisement at a drastically reduced cost (compare a 30 second Super Bowl TV spot-what's that, like $2 million these days?, to the year-round TV exposure and "landmark status" this particular ad has acheived for a mere $300k/year.) Just pay the man. You've already pissed off pretty much all of America by selling out to Belgian company InBev. Is this really the sort of PR you're looking for right now?

Maybe Gramatis got a bit greedy here, Sam Zell style. Maybe A-B took advantage of the situation. Maybe they're all assholes. But c'mon guys. Keep the Budweiser ad up until the end of the year without interruption. Then, whatever happens, just don't eff up Wrigley Field by throwing up some gaudy ass purple Viagra or Cialis ad or something. Respect Wrigley. Do the right thing.

Oh...and the magic number is ONE!!!

Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder - "All The Way" Cubs Song

At the request of Ernie Banks, Eddie Vedder of Pearl recorded a Cubs song of his own "All the Way". The song was recorded live at teh Auditorium Theatre in Chicago this past August. And on the Pearl Jam website it reads:

"At the request of Ernie Banks, Eddie threw together a song for the Cubs ("All the Way"). He got a pretty good live version of it at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago this August. It's now being played on Chicago radio and at the Bleacher Bars around Wrigleyville. We have decided to make the song available for download - you can get it here in the next few days. There's a chance we'll also make available some hard copy CDs and we're looking into souvenir 45 singles, as well. Check back here for the latest."

CUBS playoff tickets - You have 2.25 hours left to register

Register now for the drawing to choose purchasers of tickets for potential 2008 MLB Division Series and League Championship Series games at Wrigley Field.

This registration process is used to create an efficient and fair purchasing path as the number of tickets available for 2008 MLB Division Series and League Championship Series games at Wrigley Field is extremely limited. The random drawing process allows many fans the opportunity to enjoy postseason baseball at Wrigley Field.

The "Friendly Confines" is not "The Point" #2

In follow up to Lionel's post below here is a picture of a horse jockey. He was playing with his lady friends mane the entire game. After some mean looks and shrewd comments from our row he slowly decreased his grabbing and yanking. Clearly they have some Wrigley fetish...

The "Friendly Confines" is not "The Point"

While Jumbo continues to refuse medical treatment for what ails him, the remainder of the TD's enormous staff enjoyed an outing at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field last evening. We were able to watch the Cubs beatdown of the Brewers and discuss important topics like how many Boca Burgers Prince Fielder eats on a normal day, except for one major distraction. OK, it was more like 6 distractions. 3 couples in the row in front of us spent less time paying attention to the game than the time Bob Howry spent actually in the game.

When did Wrigley Field become the place for couples to go kiss, play with each other's hair, and grabass? The answer: Never. It never has been, nor will it ever be, acceptable to be cavorting at the Friendly Confines. After all, they're the Friendly Confines, not the overly-friendly-borderline-pornographic confines. Look, if you want to do that, go to a movie. Get tickets to Burn After Reading; from the looks of it, you'll need something to do. The best part is that it's dark in a movie theater; no one else will have to watch unless they want to. And more importantly, I will be able to enjoy watching the magic number drop to 4.
Maybe if this was September 2006 it would be a little more understandable, but it's still not acceptable. I go to watch the game; it's hard to do that when I am fearful that your girlfriend or boyfriend's ponytail is going to get in my beer because you keep playing with it. And just because your girlfriend stands up in the middle of an inning to get some more nachos doesn't mean it's open season on grabbing a handful of every part of her you couldn't grab before.
And why is it contagious? Just because you see some guy next to you who looks like he hasn't showered in a week doing something beyond reproach, why do you have to follow suit? Is this some sort of underground contest I don't know about? Are you revolting against your last educational experience (which, obviously, was high school) which told you no PDA? Get a room.

Brue Miles & His Trendy New Fangled Stats

Sorry about the quality of this picture of Daily Herald columnist Bruce Miles. Apparently none of his photos from his modeling days are available on the interwebs.

I caught this post from Miles's excellent Chicago's Inside Pitch blog this morning. It's both fairly amusing and has some good info.

First-it's funny (well, to me at least) how uncomfortable The Bruce is rapping VORP-otic about some of the more advanced baseball analysis metrics. Miles describes VORP as a "trendy stat." The stat has been around regularly since at least 2001 and is pretty standard stuff these days. But whatever, Bruce. The whole tone of the post is pretty funny how he tries to reconcile with himself that baseball analysis has moved past a lot of the empty stats like RBIs and BA. (If you yourself are not quite up on your VORP-hit this up for a quick primer and check out the Baseball Prospectus links for more).

Second-the info comes in the form on updates on Jeff Samardzija and Kosuke Fukudome. Not only are both of their names hard to spell, neither of them have been producing very well of late. Hit the post for the numbers.

Oh...and don't miss the shout out Bruce Bruce gives to Towel Drills at the end of the first full paragraph. (OK-maybe not quite). But hey...Towel Drills was on Deadspin the other day! (Check it out!)

Breaking News: Ned Yost Fired

The news out of Milwaukee continues to help the Cubs, as the Brewers announced that they have fired manager Ned Yost. Dave Sveum will be named the interim manager of the Brewers, who have an off-day before starting the 3 game set tomorrow night with the Cubs. This is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard. There had been strong whispers that if the Brew-Crew didn't make the playoffs, Yost would be out of a job, but no one expected this. More to come as TD gets more inside info.

9/16/08 UPDATE: There has been a lot of talk on this topic over the past 16 hours, so here is a quick summary.

  • Most experts believe this move was purely a move to spark the team, although it is well-known Yost wasn't likely coming back to Milwaukee.
  • The reason Sveum was named interim manager is that he was the most suitable candidate; Yost's bench coach, Ted Simmons, was actually in the front office and move back to the bench at the beginning of the season.
  • Ned Yost spoke on XM's Baseball This Morning, saying this was a surprise to him; he expected to just have a normal meeting with the GM until he saw the owner in the room
  • He also said that he thought his loyalty to the players may have been seen as a negative; he was willing to stick with guys who were struggling to see if they could turn things around
  • With the rainout in Philly, the Brewers wanted to extend the series and play yesterday (an off day for both teams), instead of a doubleheader. If that had happened, Yost would've started C.C. Sabathia yesterday. Maybe the Phillies knew this.

The Big Z Gets the Big No

We know Carlos Zambrano loves baseball. He must've been chomping at the bit over the past two days with the unknown nature of when/where his next start would take place. His energy level must've been off the chart. Thankfully, he was able to control that energy tonight. And he did it in a big way.

9 innings pitched, zero runs, zero hits. That's right, I said zero hits. A no-hitter for the Big Z. He survived the game without yielding a hit despite being upset with himself for striking out in the seventh. But as the bat went parallel to the ground and his knee raised, he controlled himself and decided against breaking another bat over his knee.

This is the first Cubs No-No since 1972. Z did it in an almost un-Z-like 110 pitches. Not bad, considering Lou wanted to limit him to 100. But with the 100th pitch being thrown in the bottom of the 9th inning, Lou may not have made it back to the dugout if he had tried to take Z out of the game. Z may have also been helped before the ninth began, as he was scheduled to bat fourth in the inning. He didn't get a chance, as the Cubs went 1-2-3, but the fact that he had to mentall prep (and we know Z takes every AB importantly) may have allowed him to ignore the fact that he was heading into the ninth without a hit.

A great performance. Congrats, Z.

Carlos Zambrano Tosses No Hitter.

Big Z, baby. He's back. Carlos Zambrano throws the Cubs' first no-no since 1972. Check out the video here.

Oh...and in other news. The Brewers lost another 2 to the Phillies today while Z was dominating in their home ballpark. The Cubs now lead the division by 7.5 games. The Cubs magic number folks? Down to 7!