Why the Cubs Should Return to Organ-Played Walk-Up Music
Brian Gongol

[This is the body of a letter sent on June 16, 2010 to the Chicago Cubs, c/o Wrigley Field. A few links have been added in order to help clarify some references for those not familiar with the Cubs and/or Wrigley Field. Yes, I really do send letters like this.]


Please cease the use of popular music for the batters' walk-up to the plate. When I heard pop music being played during the walk-ups at the Cubs' game versus the White Sox on Friday, I thought perhaps the organist was ill and substitutions were being made. It has come to my attention that the practice has been an ongoing affair.

I attend between half a dozen and a dozen games at Wrigley Field each year, and one of the things I like best about the experience is its consistency. I can appreciate some changes (the restroom upgrades have been quite nice) and I can tolerate some others (I'm ambivalent about the Toyota sign), but the walk-up music baffles me. It serves no useful purpose, doesn't improve the fan experience, and seems to offer no apparent source of revenue (in fact, I presume it actually costs more, since you're actually paying for licensing fees).

In the words of my brother, an even more outspoken fan of the team than myself, "Wrigley is the one place where you can go to watch a baseball game, and have the largely same experience your grandfather did." The change from organ music to recorded pop music for the walk-up diminishes one of the elements that makes the Wrigley Field experience unique.

As a businessperson, I cannot fathom how destroying one of the things that made a brand experience unique makes the brand more valuable. It's like United Airlines without the use of "Rhapsody in Blue" -- does my flying experience change substantially because I no longer routinely hear Gershwin when I walk through the United terminal at O'Hare? No. But it was pleasant and helped to give me a subtle aural reminder of my relationship with the airline. And its consistency occasionally distracted me from the shrinking seats and the winnowing food and beverage service. So why throw it away?

I say the same of the organ music for walk-ups: Why throw it away?

Eamus Catuli,

Brian Gongol