Curse you, rooftops


Back in the 1980s, the rooftops around Wrigley field were no big thing. The practice of watching the ballgame from the roofs went back to the very first game ever played there, but up until the lights went in it was an informal, take a lawn chair up to the roof sort of a thing. It was really just a perk for living in one of the buildings in the 3600 block of North Sheffield, or the 1000 block of west Waveland Avenue.

And then the 80s and the greed and the lights all came into play (no pun intended). The last time that Wrigley Field hosted the All Star game, back in 1990, was the rooftops’ coming out party. One of the network announcers (was it Bob Costas or Pat O’Brien or somebody else who I don’t remember anymore?) found his way onto a rooftop and gave the world a view inside the ballpark from across the street. If the Wrigley Field land rush hadn’t already started by then, it began soon afterward.

During the 1990s and 2000s, these rooftops became a business. The buildings on those two blocks were bought up and fitted with bleachers, which were designed to maximize both crowds and profits. The ticket to a rooftop included all the food and drink you wanted, which is something the ballpark itself never offered. And it was an experience, akin to sitting atop the Green Monster at Fenway Park.

For the record, I’ve never been to one of the rooftops. And now that their demands are threatening to force the Cubs’ hand into decamping from Wrigley itself, I’ll never go to one, either. What was once not really a thing has since become a major thing, and the result threatens to change what the Cubs are for me and every other living Cubs fan.

As much as I don’t want to give a plug to the rooftop above by showing their website, I do want to call this building out as being a source of the problem. There are others too, but whatever pre-ballpark charm the building that once occupied this land ever had has been sacrificed to a business model that forever changed things around Wrigley Field, and not for the better.

2 thoughts on “Curse you, rooftops

  1. Totally disagree. I am a Cubs season ticket holder (since 1996) and lived blocks from the park for 13 years before leaving for burbs. I want nothing more than the cubs to win, but the rooftop owners are doing nothing wrong here. They have an asset they are maximizing and a signed contract with the team. Why should they not have the ability to continue to maximize their profits in a legal way? They have no reason for a civic conscious and are doing just what they should be doing.

    And let’s be serious, the cubs are not leaving Wrigley field. This is all a distraction from the real story, which is that the cubs will once again have a lost season as we wait for top prospects to mature. If the Cubs wanted to solve this problem, there are many creative ways to do so. I don’t think they want to solve it.

    And if your biggest fear comes true and the cubs leave Wrigley……so what????? I don’t care where they play as long as they win a World Series. They can play in Waukegan, Rosemont, Arlington Heights, Harvey, at US Cellular or wherever. Just win the f’ing World Series all ready!!!!!!

    To me you sound like a Wrigley field fan and not a Cub fan and certainly not someone who understands that the roof top owners are doing nothing wrong other than not giving in to the cubs.


    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Brian. I’d rather have one person who disagrees with me and leaves a comment than ten people who read and move on. Such is life.

      I can’t imagine the Cubs anywhere but Wrigley Field. But I would like to see them win, too, if only for one time in my life.

      Signing the contract with the rooftops was an asinine thing to do. I don’t think the rooftops are a legitimate business, but doing a deal with the team did legitimize them, anyway. I tell people it’s something like me telling my neighbor when to cut his grass. They think they have ownership in the team, when they never have and never will.

      I’m no fan of the Ricketts regime, by any means. But the problem with the rooftops is dragging the team down, keeping them from making changes to the ballpark.

      I don’t want the Cubs to leave Wrigley, but life would still go on if they did. I suppose it will all play itself out soon enough.

      Thanks again for reading and leaving a comment. I appreciate them both.


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