Wrigley: The home of the Cubs has a bright future. It, too, is physically strong, and the Tribune Co., which owns the club and the park, has sunk $31 million into Wrigley in the past eight years (all the renovation will lower the yearly maintenance from close to $1 million to about half that amount). Lights went up, 66 luxury boxes were built, rest rooms and concession stands were expanded, clubhouses were renovated, and new seats were installed. Says Cub president Don Grenesko: "We've done all that we can do with Wrigley Field. If we did any more, then we might take away from the stadium's ambience."
Grenesko says the renovations will enable the Cubs to keep playing in Wrigley "indefinitely." And he scoffs at the notion that Wrigley might not be economically viable. "We'd be elsewhere if it wasn't," he says. Don't bet on it. With Comiskey Park gone and Soldier Field not far behind, the city wouldn't stand for the destruction of its last sports relic. Illinoisans are already paying for the construction of a new stadium for the White Sox, and they're in no rush to build another. Neither is the tightfisted Tribune Co., especially after all the money they've poured into Wrigley lately. The old place is safe for now. But Grenesko may have to alter the ambience of the friendly confines if players' salaries continue their dizzying upward spiral.
Tiger Stadium: The dugouts are cramped and leaky. The clubhouses are ridiculously small. The rest rooms get miserably overcrowded. The stadium has more low-cost bleacher seats than any other park in the majors—and no luxury suites. Clearly, something needs to be done with Tiger Stadium; the question is what. Tiger management wants to tear it down, and it is currently talking with private companies on formulating plans for a new stadium. "We've considered several options," says Haase, "and it all comes down to a new open-air, grass-field stadium. We'd like to be somewhere else by Opening Day 1995. That would be the best thing for all involved." Not as far as the Tiger Stadium Fan Club is concerned. "The stadium should be renovated, not destroyed," says John Davids, a Detroit-area architect who sits on the fan club's board of directors. "The team could add luxury suites, bring the entire stadium up to date, and even assign some space for future growth for far less than it would cost to construct a new home."
There's no telling how this will be resolved. However, Haase recently floated a proposal. "Tear down Tiger Stadium and put up a structure similar to the Navin Field of 1912 [the original structure that is now Tiger Stadium]," he says. "Let college and sandlot teams play in Tiger Stadium, and let the Tigers move to a new facility."