Update: Cubs Response
Let the darts start flying. The official Cubs response is below. Wow. This is getting ugly interesting.
STATEMENT FROM THE CHICAGO CUBS
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2010
CHICAGO – Cubs President Crane Kenney today released the following statement in response to tomorrow’s rule changes for the football game between Northwestern and Illinois at Wrigley Field.
“The Chicago Cubs are surprised by the Big Ten’s last-minute statement regarding changes for tomorrow’s Northwestern-Illinois football game at Wrigley Field. Let there be no doubt: the safety of the student-athletes has been – and remains – the number one priority since the concept of this game was first discussed more than a year ago, and all parties have gone to complete lengths to ensure student-athlete safety for this contest.
“The essential item in our negotiations to host the football game at Wrigley Field was obtaining approval of both universities and the Big Ten for the field dimensions as related to player safety issues. The field dimension layout was delivered to the Big Ten approximately eight months ago and was approved by the conference. Last month, the field was built exactly to the dimensions previously approved by the Big Ten. Last week, a Big Ten official performed an on-site visit at Wrigley Field, participated in a field walk-thru and raised no issue with the field dimensions, painted lines and boundaries previously approved by the Big Ten.
“This game would not have been scheduled if it did not pass the strict and meticulous standards of everyone involved, a process that began more than a year ago. All are in agreement Wrigley Field is a safe venue to host a football game. Other baseball parks, including tomorrow night’s game in Yankee Stadium, feature similar football field-to-venue grid dimensions and rule changes are not considered for football games played in other baseball parks.
“We have reached out to the Big Ten to further discuss the playing field. While we are surprised by this morning’s last-minute statement, all agree that tomorrow will be an historic event and a wonderful experience for the fans, the schools and the student-athletes.”
Update: How the Decision Came To Be
Kudos to Adam Rittenberg for this update – click here. He was all over the backstory which everyone has been clamoring for today.
AND, as pointed out by you, we are now headline sports news on NY Times. Click here. Let the PR conspiracy theorists unite.
AND, we’re know getting the pump primed across mainstream sports bloggery as “you ain’t nobody ’til Deadspin writes about you”. Click here for more carnage.
After weeks of posturing about safety concerns and walls being padded, officials have announced tomorrow’s game will have every possession going west. Click here for the full announcement. In the 11th hour, the “charm” of the short field and FGs going out on to Sheffield are now gone. Ultimately, the potential for injury in to an ironically branded Allstate padded wall won the day. I have to admit I’m selfishly disappointed as the game flow will feel very awkward, but obviously the last thing I want is to see anyone get hurt. I’ve been told by several firsthanders that the padding on that wall is so thick and soft it was safe.
Every time there is a change of possession, the ball will be repositioned. It will be an odd flow to a game and likely have a negative impact on the overall experience, but such is the reality. NOW let’s reexamine the strategy on this craziness as sideline positioning becomes huge as NU better take the home field advantage route of being the team close to the west end zone. Let the breakdown begin. I’ve been getting pings from around the country including LA that this safety issue was on local news. However, I would be mighty ticked off if I were sitting towards the east end zone. Thoughts?