Wrigleyville is an "aura," folks. Not a marketing gimmick. An aura.
Wrigleyville is an "aura," folks. Not a marketing gimmick. An aura. Credit: Courtesy Nike

As one of the worst-dressed journalists in Chicago—no small feat—I realize I’m the last person who should weigh in on the new Cubs uniforms.

But having said that—weigh in, I will.

They’re awful. Before I go further, let me say this . . .

What follows is a rant. But it’s not the rant of a White Sox fan about how much he hates the Cubs and/or their fans.

Yes, I love the White Sox. But, no, I do not hate the Cubs or their fans. In fact, some of my best friends are Cubs fans (what up, Cap!).

As I’ve said and written many times before, I’m not from Chicago. But having lived among you for so many years, Chicagoans, I have learned your ways.

And let me just tell you this. No offense, but—you’re really weird.

I mean, the things you do on the grounds that it’s a Chicago thing to do. Like . . .

Not putting catsup on a hot dog. Or, picking one baseball team over the other ’cause you gotta choose. Or electing short, temperamental bullies as mayors

By the way, on a political tangent—speaking of rants . . .

About that e-mail Mayor Lightfoot sent to her staff. You know the one where she kept repeating the same sentence over and over, like she was Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

“I need office time every day. I need office time everyday! . . . Not just once a week or some days but everyday! Not just once a week or some days but everyday!”

And so on and so forth, over and over . . .

That has got to be the most batshit crazy mayoral eruption since Mayor Daley threatened to stick a musket up Mick Dumke’s ass.

Thank you, Gregory Pratt of the Tribune, for unveiling it.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, the Cubs uniforms . . .

It’s all part of a merchandising gimmick cooked up by the merchandising gimmick-makers at Major League Baseball and Nike who spend their time devising new and creative gimmicks to get suckers to buy things they don’t need.

Like new baseball jerseys.

Again, I realize I’m hardly in a position to be judgmental about baseball fans who waste their money on merch. As I’ve purchased several dozen Bulls hats over the years. In fact, I am at this very moment feeling an urge to head over to Lids and get a new one in summery colors.

Help! I need help.

Back to baseball . . .

They’ve got a name for this hustle. It’s called City Connect. About which the Nike press release reads: “The Nike MLB City Connect series explores the bond among baseball, community and . . .”

Sorry, folks, I can’t write another word of this horseshit.

Let me ask you this, Nike—if baseball cares so much about the cities they connect with, how come the owners extort tax dollars from said cities (and states) to pay for their ballparks? Either directly, as with the Sox, or indirectly, as with the Cubs and the tax break they received for “preserving” a historic landmark they’ve largely disfigured.

I await your response, Nike. In the meantime, back to my critique of the Cubs jersey . . .

As a guy whose typical summer attire consists of a Reader T-shirt, Bulls hat, and cargo shorts, I realize I’m uniquely unqualified to talk about the look of the new Cubs uniform.

Instead, I’ll talk about the name they chose to go on the front of the jersey—Wrigleyville.

I will now break from my rant to allow Tom Ricketts—co-owner of the Cubs—to offer his official explanation as to why they went with Wrigleyville.

Before I do that, a brief word about the Ricketts. They’re the fantastically rich, Trump-loving (except for Laura) owners of the Cubs who desecrated Wrigley Field by holding a Trump fundraiser there.

The Ricketts are so widely reviled by Chicagoans that Alderman Tom Tunney won re-election in a landslide, in part because the family opposed him. Well, I certainly hope it’s not because Tunney voted for the parking meter deal.

Back to Tom Ricketts’s explanation, as quoted by Paul Sullivan in the Tribune . . .

“Asked why the Cubs will play in City Connect uniforms with ‘Wrigleyville’ on the front of the jerseys instead of ‘Lakeview,’ Ricketts said: ‘Lakeview is the neighborhood. Wrigleyville is kind of the aura. . . . Anyone who is sitting in any bar in the world watching the Cubs is in Wrigleyville.’”

OK, enough of that quote—back to my rant. Are you fucking kidding me!

In contrast, the City Connect jersey for the Sox says “Southside.” As in an actual place that has existed for as long as anyone can remember.

Wrigleyville is a marketing term created by real estate hustlers to glorify the gentrification of Lakeview. And so, the Cubs used a marketing gimmick to promote another marketing gimmick. To paraphrase the Beatles, the Ricketts took a sad song and made it sadder.

I understand their reluctance to do like the Sox and go with “Northside.” They’re probably ashamed of the north side. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed many people are embarrassed to be associated with the north side, as though there’s something inherently lame about the place.

In fact, if you’re looking for a fun-filled way to spend your free time, play this word-association game: ask someone for the first word or words that pop into their minds when you mention a section of Chicago.

I recently played this game with a friend. He offered: south side—“tough.” West side—“even tougher.” Southwest side—“connected.” Northwest Side—“cops.” North Side—“soft.”

Now, I can hear you—“OK, Ben, if you know so much: come up with something better for the Cubs jersey.”

Oh, that’s easy. “Ricketts suck!”

Finally, something Sox fans and most Cubs fans can agree on.  v