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New signs at Wrigley should send a message

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Now that gigantic signs have been approved for Wrigley Field — and the Cubs begin their inevitable march to World Series glory — there is but one question:

What words of wisdom should be plastered all over those humongous signs that will blot out the sun at the Friendly Confines?

I asked readers on Facebook, and one of the first notions for a giant Wrigley sign was this from Jean Cadell.

"Kass for Mayor"

Thanks, Jean, but today isn't my day. It's Mayor Rahm Emanuel's day.

He's a Cubs fan. And he loves the fact that the giant signs have been approved. He might even have had something to do with it.

Some of you might not like the signs, but the Rahmfather does. I can almost see him facing down the critics, saying, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

How about an Orwellian sign for Wrigley that says:

"Defeat is Victory."

Reader David Cahnman, weighing in on Facebook, offered up a sentiment sometimes attributed to the late and legendary Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse.

"Any team can have a bad century."

And reader J.D. Yoders offered this one:

"FREE THE LITTLE BIKE PEOPLE"

Now, that would be a great sign. But perhaps not as dramatic as one offered by Craig Duy:

"The floggings will continue until morale improves."

Craig, I'm surprised at you. Wrigley isn't about pain. It's about never-ending optimism that next year might be the real year. So just imagine Duy's sentiment about pain and cat-o'-nine-tails paired with a happy gigantic Wrigley sign, one that says:

"Let's Play Two!"

But then comes White Sox fan Steve M. with his South Side cynical self. His sign?

"Abandon hope all ye who enter here."

But Cubs fans never abandon hope. That's the weird thing about the species, and I know it well, since my brothers and my brothers-in-law are fans.

Cubs fans have been flocking to the North Side ballpark for about a century now without a World Series win, and still they keep coming and using that washroom with the trough.

Every year they return. Some even come to watch the Cubs play baseball, though the true draw throughout the ages has been the gorgeous, ye-olde-time-feel of ivy-covered Wrigley.

The Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, has long wanted the signage to provide revenue so the team could purchase talented free-agent ballplayers. It's their ballpark. Let them have signs.

No doubt, traditionalists who oppose the changes on purely nostalgic grounds will be upset at the Magnificent Seven Signs. But what the heck do romantics know about political mathematics?

It's obvious they've never learned Chialgebra, a secret formula taught only at City Hall. It goes like this:

$ + (Cubs fan mayor) + (-Ald. Tunney) x (the Ricketts family's abject, groveling apology for even thinking about dissing Obama in 2012) + $$$ = 1 Jumbotron + 6 other ginormous revenue-producing signs at Wrigley.

Reduce the equation and it comes to this: We can buy some pitching.

"I don't care what they do to the park if Ricketts turns the added revenue into the team," said Cubs fan Stephanie Weiland. "They could have flashing neon lights. They could have flashing neon lights and naked dancing ladies. I WANT TO WIN!"

You're absolutely correct, Stephanie. A creaky old ballpark that smells like a grease trap might seem nice, no matter how many pole dancers are in the grandstands.

But a World Series in a grease trap might smell like French perfume.

And the fans have faith in the brain of Theo Epstein, the baseball guru who has built for the Cubs what some experts regard as the best minor league system in all of baseball.

I figure at least one sign should be lit up every time the Cardinals or other top teams visit Wrigley Field. And it would say, simply:

"Look upon Theo's work, ye mighty, and despair."

"Ignorance is Strength!" is another offering, though modern sign technology could easily rephrase it on the half-inning as "Fans, Your Ignorance is Theo's Strength."

Naturally, we can't just demand that our own sentiments, however touching, be plastered all over Wrigley.

The signs are about commerce and industry.

"The ad revenue from this sign is paying for a free agent," is the sign demanded by Dave Miranda.

"There's Major League Baseball at 35th and Shields!" says Sox fan Gerry Gardiner, but Cubs fans might have difficulty with this.

Irene Alex wants a sign to read: "Wrigley Field: Home of Long Lost Dreams."

But don't worry, Irene. Those dreams will be realized. And Cubs fans don't have to worry about curses, or take clippings from Theo's hair and burn them with incense on home plate. All they have to do is read the signs.

A reader from the fifth floor of City Hall asked for a sign calling for an end to street violence throughout Chicago: "Put the Guns Down!"

But Cubs fans are already gentle, at least when they're not kicking the eyes out of Sox fans at some child's birthday party (you think we could forget that incident?). And besides, politics has no business with baseball.

Of all the signs I'd plaster around Wrigley Field, there is one that I think really needs to be there.

It should be up on opening day, and repeated throughout the year.

"Steve Bartman, from the Cubs and all our fans, we're sorry. Please forgive us."

And then there would be no stopping the Cubs. If not this year, then certainly the next. Or the next. The signs all point to it.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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