Something about jumbotrons and rooftops

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Having an actual job means that it gets hard to consolidate all the Tweets and updates from the day in real time, so that’s why you’re getting this now.

As many of you know, the Rosemont folks have been lurking in the wings hoping to talk to Tom Ricketts and Friends about a possible move to the burbs (or close to them anyway).  Everyone with half a brain knows that this has about as much chance of happening as the Cubs winning the World Series this year, but it’s fun to think of it as a legitimate threat that could put at least some pressure on the alderman, the rooftops and the neighborhood to get a deal done.

Interestingly, a story came out this morning about haggling over the size of the proposed Jumbotron that would hypothetically take the place of the Toyota sign out in left field:

WBBM Newsradio’s George Ofman reports, according to sources, the Cubs want a 6,000-square-foot video scoreboard in left field. But the owners of the rooftop clubs across the street are worried such a large video screen would obstruct their views of the stadium, and sources said the city wants to limit the screen to no more than 3,000 square feet.

As Bleacher Nation suggests, this may actually be good news because the prospect of a big screen is on the table and the Cubs and the city are actually negotiating about the size.  That takes care of some of the signage issues, and suggests that the Sheffield rooftops may be spared any further obstructions.  This is particularly important because the lady who owns Murphy’s Bleachers has been particularly vocal for the rooftop association, so if the Cubs only piss off the Waveland rooftops, maybe they can get something done.

How much would it piss off the rooftops?  Well, that depends on how obstructive the new proposed Jumbotron is.  We’ll assume the lower limit is 3000 square feet and the upper limit is 6000 square feet as outlined by George Ofman above.  The Wrigley Blog tweeted an interesting fact earlier:

So the proposed Jumbotron would be three times as large as the iconic manual scoreboard.  One can commiserate with the Waveland rooftops here (we’re still assuming Waveland is gonna get blocked, not Sheffield) because they could potentially lose a huge view of the field depending on where the big board is centered.  Here’s an idea of what it would look like:

With a quasi-scaled illustration of the size of the new Jumbotron, the concerns of the rooftops become much more apparent.  That fucker is huge.  The thing is, though, most of the renderings are from the viewpoint of someone sitting in the 400s.  How would it look from the rooftops?

For reference, here’s the view from the bowl seats:

With Toyota Sign in there, just for kicks.  Click to enlarge.

With Toyota Sign in there, just for kicks. Click to enlarge.

And here’s a view from a typical rooftop on Waveland:

I'm assuming this is from their lowest bleacher row.  Some of center field is obviously obscured anyway, even without the Toyota sign.  Click to enlarge.

I’m assuming this is from their lowest bleacher row. Some of center field is obviously obscured anyway, even without the Toyota sign. Click to enlarge.

It is true that if the Cubs placed the new Jumbotron where the Toyota sign is now, there should be a minimal obstruction when taking all rooftops into account.  Shifting the hypothetical big board will obscure one rooftop while improving sightlines for another.  I don’t think it’s quite as simple as saying “this Jumbotron will only block the Budweiser/United/Horseshoe/Whatever building” because as you can see in the picture from The Wrigley Blog, a board three times the size of the manual scoreboard is going to mess with views from either side of it.

I’ve never been on a rooftop, but if I were to make a guess, the most affected rooftops would be Brixen Ivy, Wrigleyville Rooftops and Beyond the Ivy along Waveland.  Let’s look at Brixen Ivy first:

View from Brixen Ivy.

View from Brixen Ivy.

I’m not going to GIMP this one because I believe the proposed Jumbotron would be to the left of the picture, outside the frame, and thus the view won’t be too obscured.  The Toyota sign would also have been outside the frame.  Since there’s a Beyond the Ivy rooftop to the west of Brixen Ivy, that rooftop should be fine as well.  What about Wrigleyville Rooftops, which has one building on Waveland, right next to another Beyond the Ivy rooftop?

Wrigleyville Rooftops on Waveland, which looks right smack in the middle of left field.  Click to enlarge.

Wrigleyville Rooftops on Waveland, which looks right smack in the middle of left field. Click to enlarge.

The Toyota sign should still be just a smidge to the left of the frame, but you can imagine the proposed Jumbotron intruding into the field of view of a patron on this rooftop if they wanted to look into center or right field.  I unfortunately could not find a better view into the ballpark off Google so use your best imagination here.

Here’s where it gets dicey…this is the view from the Beyond the Ivy building on the corner of Waveland and Sheffield:

Waveland and Sheffield, Beyond the Ivy.  Click to enlarge.

Waveland and Sheffield, Beyond the Ivy. Click to enlarge.

The Toyota sign should be somewhere off the right edge of this frame.  It should be possible to just center the Jumbotron at that point, but even without GIMPing it, I can tell that the 6000 square foot screen will likely obscure this rooftop’s view into left field.  This would affect only three of the 16 rooftops (most of them are on the Sheffield side) so maybe the Cubs can just tell them to grin and bear it.  However, I sympathize with the owners of those three buildings (two of which are affiliated with Beyond the Ivy) as they will have a portion of their business diminished by the new Jumbotron should the Cubs be allowed to go ahead with it.

Royals scoreboard.  There are flanking boards next to this one as well.

Royals scoreboard. There are flanking boards next to this one as well.

There are numerous ways to make a 3000-6000 square foot big screen.  One proposal I might suggest is to make the new big screen taller rather than wider so the view of only one or two rooftops is obscured.  An example of this might be the main screen used at the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Ultimately I think that the Cubs are going to put in their big board on their terms, and it’ll be closer to the 3000 square foot size allegedly requested by the city than the behemoth 6000 square foot rendering.  It will piss off at least one rooftop, but no more than three in my estimation.  And while I hope that the Cubs get what they want, I can understand the rooftops’ point of view–no pun intended.

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