Aug 6, 2021 5 min read

Bet on Wrigley Field changing even more

Bet on Wrigley Field changing even more

Good morning, frents!

The first round of the Crosstown Classic arrives at Wrigley this weekend and I'm guessing we might see the most Sox jerseys at the Friendly Confines since interleague play started in 1997.

Play nice, everyone.

The Cubs are closer to getting their sportsbook

There's no halting progress.

The reality of a DraftKings-branded sportsbook at the corner of Addison and Sheffield took another step on Thursday as the city's Commission On Chicago Landmarks gave its approval for the two-story building.

The structure and operation still needs an OK from the City Council, Illinois Gaming Board and National Park Service, but it seems as much a formality as the final 52 games of this wayward season.

The Cubs released a few renderings of what the sportsbook will look like and if you want to argue that this is not actually progress, I'm here for it. Just when you thought Wrigleyville couldn't hold one more sleek glass structure, an architecture firm places one down as easily as a Lego block.

At the same time, it's hard to get too worked up over the actual aesthetics after every other part of Wrigleyville has changed the past decade. The new normal has already arrived and it includes Jeni's Ice Cream.

What's notable about this news is what the building will contain.

Not fan shops, offices or storage, but a real, live sportsbook.

“While the game of baseball has largely been the same for the last 150 years, the fans have changed,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said in an email to the Tribune on Thursday. “The way they consume baseball is different through emerging technology and content platforms. Sports wagering is becoming a big part of that change and this sportsbook will allow us to connect fans to the game in new ways."

That statement is just a tad disingenuous, of course. Gambling has always connected fans to baseball, it just so happened that the "emerging technology" was a plastic cup passed between friends in the bleachers and "content platforms" were parlay cards passed by bookies patrolling Waveland.

What changed was "emerging technology" giving teams and leagues a way to dip their hand in the kitty. It's funny how a century of trying to keep betting as far away from the sport as possible disappears as soon as someone mentions the words "new revenue stream."

Is this a net positive for sports fans? I don't know.

I like placing a few dollars on the game as much as the next guy, but I'm also left wondering why Wrigley needs this when I have four different apps doing the same thing on the phone in my pocket.

Of course, I realize it's not really about that. DraftKings is opening a sportsbook at Wrigley for the same reason Nike built a Niketown on Michigan Avenue. Brand awareness is king. It's why we'll get FanDuel building out an operation at the United Center and the same thing eventually happening at Sox Park and wherever the Bears end up.

We can sit here and pine for a time when the only things set up at ballparks to separate you from your money was the ticket window, the scorecard stand and the beer vendor.

We can also long for the days when gambling on the Cubs meant finding a drunk buddy to give you better odds on a Ryne Sandberg homer than you should have been getting.

But those days aren't coming back. Wrigley Field and the Cubs are that buddy now and they're only too happy to take your 20-spot.

They're not cutting you a break on the odds, either.

Thursday's results
Royals 3, Sox 2
Rockies 6, Cubs 5

Today's schedule
Sox at Cubs (1:20, NBCSCH, Marquee)
USA vs. France  (9:30, NBC)
*Men's basketball — Gold medal game

Saturday
Sox at Cubs (1:20, NBCSCH, Marquee)

Sunday
Sox at Cubs (6:10, ABC)
Red Bulls at Fire (5, WGN, ESPN+)
Orlando at Red Stars (5, Paramount+)

Quote of the Day

"On the weekends, it’s the place to go before you go out. We try to make it as a pregame for you. You come to the game, have some drinks, have some fun. We have a DJ up there, playing good music. Use it as a pregame before the night starts."

— Tim Anderson on the Sox home crowds

Royals 3, Sox 2: The dog days are not over

Another night, another punchless night from the Sox offense. They've lost nine of their last 14 and scored two or fewer runs in eight of those games. Tony La Russa said Luis Robert's return is "imminent" but you won't see him at Wrigley this weekend. That means Robert walking out of the corn on Thursday night is still on the table.

Rockies 6, Cubs 5: Same Jake

Jake Arrieta failed to crest 60 pitches for the fourth straight start, giving up four runs on nine hits, three of which were solo home runs. He and the Cubs seem set on proving he can play out the string as well as the rest of the leftovers.

  • Old friend update: Mets fans got the other side of the Javy Baez experience on Thursday. One night after he played hero, he posted five strikeouts — aka the platinum sombrero or the "Olympic rings" — and left eight on base in a 4-2 loss to the Marlins. It was the third 0-for-5, 5K outing of his career.

Sox vs. Cubs pitching matchups
Friday: Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.07) vs. Kyle Hendricks (13-4, 3.71)
Saturday: Carlos Rodon (8-5, 2.49) vs. Adbert Alzolay (4-11, 4.85)
Sunday: Dylan Cease (8-6, 3.92) vs. Zach Davies (6-8, 4.79)

Trivia

Name the only player to hit a home run for the Cubs and Sox in the same season. (Hint: It was 2015.)

  1. Jimmy Graham isn't happy with daily testing (and his own union) after he got vaccinated. Tribune

2. The Sox and Yankees unveiled their uniforms for next Thursday's Field of Dreams game. Chris Creamer

3. Jeff Agrest talks with Fox about how they plan to broadcast the Field of Dreams game. Sun-Times

4. Ricky O'Donnell on the first four-game winning streak for Zach LaVine since his UCLA days. SB Nation

5. RIP West End, a solid (if not great) pre- and post-UC option. Ownership is converting the space into a Ranalli's. Eater Chicago

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Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

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